If you are planning to ship a work of art, you need to know the pieces will be carefully handled and arrive at their destination in pristine condition. However, packing the items well using top quality products and packaging is crucial too. This means using top boxes or crates and lots of bubble wrap so that everything inside is well protected and cannot move around. Below are a few tips/advice when shipping art pieces and artworks which might come in very handy for the next time you ship valuable items.

The 3 Golden Rules of Shipping Works of Art

1) Packing an Art Work Correctly is Essential

Make sure all the objects are well protected so they don’t get damaged whilst in transit. You have to make sure the items are safe and securely packaged which means taking the time to do this as carefully as possible.

We keep all the packing materials required at our Perth shop so please pop in if you’d like more advice.

Here’s how we recently packed a set of valuable paintings to go to Nigeria:

  1. Cover the glass with 2” masking tape, if the glass is broken in transit, it is relatively cheap to replace the glass and it will then stick to the masking tape and not damage the artwork.
  2. Cut a sheet of polystyrene sheet to cover the glass tape over the glass.
  3. Wrap in bubble wrap we use the small bubble wrap first both ways and then the bigger bubble all round the picture for further protection. Most carriers insist of at least 2” or 6cm of cushioning around an object for protection use less than this and your insurance claim may not be upheld.
  4. You can’t see this too well but I make a cushion on all four sides of the picture to protect the frame. You can also buy frame protectors, well worth it if it is a big frame.
  5. Slide the picture into a dedicated art box, the lid slides down on the bottom so you then have a double wall of protection and make sure your picture is snugly inside the box that it cant move around at all.
  6. Seal with lots of packing tape and attach your label and it’s ready to go.

2) Outside Packaging has to be of the highest quality

Ensure all items are well marked with the appropriate labels so that people handling them know they contain valuable items. However, you need make sure the exterior packaging is as good as that which is on the inside of the parcel. The last thing you want is to have a treasure arrive where the packaging leaves a lot to be desired. The artwork may be in perfect condition, but if the outside packaging looks tatty then it is not in keeping with what’s inside.

3) Affordability

Just because you are shipping art pieces doesn’t mean you have to pay a fortune to do so. If you are an art dealer, the last thing you need is for the shipping costs to eat into your profits. The safety of your items and the way they are handled in transit is of the paramount importance but you need to make sure the price you pay is realistic and fair. If you are sending any works of art abroad, you need to make sure you have filled in all the right customer’s declaration documents, you may also be liable to pay import taxes in the country you have sent the items too.

If you keep the three golden rules in mind, you won’t go far wrong but only if you choose a courier or shipping service that boasts a great reputation when it comes to handling all of the items that pass through their hands – let alone works of art.

The All Important Insurance Cover

It goes without saying any shipper or courier you use has to offer you an acceptable level of insurance cover just in case and through nobody’s fault, your precious items arrive damaged at their destination. This gives you the extra piece of mind that valuable items have the right sort of insurance cover when they are in transit. However, you should also check your own insurance policies to see if anything valuable that you ship is covered too.


Shipping valuable items like works of art and art pieces can be a little nerve racking whether you’re sending them to an international destination or somewhere closer to home. You have to make sure you package and label the items appropriately so they don’t get damaged in transit – not forgetting to label the packages correctly too, any shipper you entrust your works of art to, has to be a reputable company that boasts masses of positive reviews and testimonials from extremely satisfied customers!

Pharos Parcel have recently sent works of art to Nigeria, South Africa, Canada and the USA without any damage.

The packaging will cost you few pounds for the materials and a bit of time but is worth it to avoid heartache at the other end.