Thursday, April 14, 2011

Building a Crate to Ship Artwork

As part of having my painting selected as a finalist for the Portrait Society of America's International Portrait Competition, it needs to be on display in Atlanta for the final judging. So that means I need to build a crate to ship my painting out there.

Just one problem--I've never built a crate before.

So after getting some very good tips and advice from Bill Whitaker, here's how I put one together:

I used 3/4" plywood since this is a large painting and I wanted extra sturdy sides to protect a painting of this size. Normally, 1/2 plywood will work just fine and would, obviously, weigh less thus saving on shipping costs. In the picture above, Natalie is taping cut squares of underlayment (bought at Home Depot) in the corners of the box. The corners of the painting will receive most of the stress during shipping so theses pieces will give them a little added protection.

Here I've added the remaining sides to make the crate box. I used 1 1/4" wood screws to secure the pieces together. I drilled pilot holes for the screws--which is very important because the plywood will split if you don't pre-drill. I used a special countersinking drill bit which is designed to pre-drill screw holes as well as cut an indention in the wood to allow the screw to sit flush with the surface of the wood. Not necessary, but looks nicer that way.

To protect from dust and such, we first wrapped the painting with a layer of clear plastic wrap. Then we wrapped the painting with a generous amount of bubble wrap.


One thing that Bill told me was to be sure to keep the measurements very precise so there is little to no room for the painting to move in the box. This makes sense since the less the painting can moving inside the box, the less chance it has of getting damaged during shipping.

After attaching the top panel with more screws, the crate is finished. Final touches were to add handles on the sides to help with moving and carrying the heavy thing as well as spray painting my logo on the top and sides. It should get there safe and sound, but it wouldn't hurt to cross our fingers... :)

3 comments:

Chad Wooters said...

Thanks for the demo. What shipper did you use for transport of the art?

nowhere man said...

Chad, thanks for your comment! I talked with a local pack/shipping place about finding the best rate for something of this size and weight. And the funny thing is that when I told them it was artwork they said the major companies won't touch it. They wouldn't even give me a quote. We did find a place called "Pilot Air" to freight it at a good price (and were ok with it being artwork), but I now wonder how artists ship their work to galleries and such since it seems like shippers won't ship art? Do they just not mention it's artwork being shipped?

Renea Luong said...

Looks like it was done by a pro! It's quite impressive, considering that this was your first to time to build a crate. When you're shipping something that needs extra care, it is important to be precise with the measurements of the crate. This will keep your painting from getting damaged during shipment.

Renea Luong @Legacy TSI