So you've sold a piece of art. Congratulations!
Be careful not to get complacent though, as your job as an artist and creative business owner carries right on through to the point that your customer hangs their new purchase up on the wall.
The question that immediately springs to mind should be 'how can I package my art safely and securely?'
Packaging your work deserves as much attention as the painting itself, as your reputation likely depends on your ability to deliver the work to your customers, quickly and safely. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin, especially if you've never packaged artwork before and don't have access to any fancy professional tools. Don't panic!
Hopefully this guide will teach you all you need to know, and take the stress out of the final stage of the art shipping process.
A Ruler or At Least Something With a Straight Edge
Clear Parchment or Sturdy Tissue Paper
Hopefully your painting will arrive to its new owner safe and sound, but if one area gets damaged, it's likely to be the corners. So, first you need to set about protecting them as best as possible.
Cut out 4 squares of parchment paper, at least 2 inches across (the exact size doesn't matter too much, as long as they're not really small).
Fold each square in half to form a triangle, then in half again. Secure the overlapping edge with a little piece of tape, making sure to leave the slot open along the bottom edge of the triangle. Repeat with all four squares.
Cut out a piece of card, making sure it's a few centimeters bigger than your painting all the way round. This will form the 'backing' of your artwork, protecting it from bends and creases.
Collect together your backing card, and the corner guards you made in Step 1.
Rest your artwork on top of the card, and slot the triangle guards onto each corner.
If the corners feel a bit loose, stick them down with a piece of tape on the reverse - don't tape them to the front of the painting, just the backing card! (it may sound patronising, but I've made this mistake before).
With your corner guards in place, cut another piece of parchment/tissue, this time large enough to cover the entire surface of the painting. You could cut a piece the same exact size of the painting, and tuck it into the corner guards, but I find laying a piece over the top like a blanket works just fine.
Cut another piece of card backing, this time just smaller than the envelope you plan to post your work in. Sandwich the backing, artwork and parchment paper together in a neat stack, and tape the upper parchment layer to the card backing. No need to slap on too much tape here, just enough to keep things from moving around.
This second piece of card will act as additional protection inside the envelope, to minimise the risk of damage during transit.
Now your work is all wrapped up and ready to post. Now it's time, not to discuss the part that's not especially riveting, but essential nonetheless: envelopes.
Buying envelopes to package your artwork sounds simple enough, until you go to the post office and realise there's about 14 different styles, shapes and colours. I'd recommend choosing an envelope that's a few inches larger (in both width and height) than your artwork. That way, if a corner gets knocked or crinkled, it doesn't take the painting with it, only the backing card will be damaged.
Measure the work you have to send, work out what size envelope you need based on this, then convert the envelope size into mm, cm and inches. Once you have exact measurements written down, you can do some online research into bulk-buying the sizes you need.
Just take your time and don't just guess what size you need, or you might end up wasting time and money. There's no way you can squish a piece of art into an envelope that's too small.
With the artwork, make sure to include a business card (or at least a note giving your contact details) incase the customer has any issues or queries. Plus, it's always nice to remind them who the painting came from. You could also include some instructions on how to unpack the painting safely (carefully removing parchment paper corners etc.) if you think that's necessary.
If you don't have a label maker, try making your own label by simple printing a typed version of your customer's shipping details, then stick it to the front of the envelope with clear tape. If you have the handwriting of a 13 year old (like me) this makes your package look nice and professional.