Fine art shipping boxes are available to help you safely transport your valuable collection. These types of boxes are quite more technical than your average art shipping boxes. Here is a summary of the different types and how they work.
Premium fine art shipping boxes provide the maximum level of protection and are especially designed for protecting art during prolonged trips, as is the case with trade shows or art exhibits, when they can be subject to a number of things which can damage them. This includes extreme weather conditions, colliding cargo, and general mishandling, amongst many other things. There are several parts to these types art shipping boxes. To keep moisture out, the outer shell of these boxes are made out of medium density plywood, which is lined with a plastic laminate underneath. To regulate temperature, the interior is lined with expanded polystyrene foam, which has exceptional insulating properties. For fragile and sensitive art pieces, manufacturers of these boxes may recommend lining the interior with a third layer of water proof and vapor proof material, such as Marvelseal. This particularly helps protect art pieces from being damaged by certain pollutants and gasses in the air. Any void within the box is filled with soft materials such as foam or bubble wrap. The level of protection is then maximized by bolting the lid on and caulking any seams.
Standard fine art shipping boxes are an economical shipping solution for those who want to minimize costs while providing a medium level of protection. While the shipper may choose a travel crate to protect the finest pieces of a particular collection, he or she may choose a standard box to ship items of lesser value or importance. Standard boxes have the same structural features of premium, including the battens, but the materials used are slightly different. For example, instead of using MDO plywood for the outer shell, standard boxes use ACX plywood. While MDO plywood is considered to be a more robust plywood because it has a more consistent density, ACX plywood is considered to be less robust because while it has a high quality veneer as a top layer, it has a lower quality veneer as a bottom layer. The shipper may or may not choose to add certain types of interior lining, depending on the level of protection desired. Standard boxes are still bolted closed, but applying caulking to the seams is at the discretion of the shipper.
One way fine art shipping boxes are intended to provide a minimum level of protection for the least valuable pieces of any particular collection. They are only recommended for short term storage and short single trip transportation. Like standard boxes, their outer shells are made out of ACX plywood. However, they will only have battens around the corners to ensure the box has a strong enough foundation in order to stay intact during a short trip, assuming there are no major disturbances to the box along the way. The absence of battens on the siding of the walls means they have less structural integrity, so any strong blows to the box or abrupt movements may damage the box as well as the contents inside. Furthermore, it is recommended that you never stack these types of shipping boxes on top of each other. Ensure that you mark these boxes as fragile.
Slats are a specialty type of shipping solution, and are specifically designed to transport sturdy, non fragile art works such as bronze statues or solid oversized pieces. In actuality, slats are not boxes at all, but a series of wooden planks that make the skeleton of a box, albeit having a solid crate bottom to serve as a foundation. The shipper may or may not choose to panel the openings with cardboard or shrink wrap, depending on the level of protection desired.
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If you are looking for heavy duty art shipping boxes, art shipping crates may be the solution you need to provide maximum protection for your finest art pieces.
Art shipping crates have several different components and layers to them. The configuration of these components and layers depends on the type of the art that you are trying to ship. However, here is a summary of the basic componentry that would be included with a typical art shipping crate.
The outermost layer provides the first level of protection, and is designed to block or deflect the initial blow should something strike the crate. This outer shell is almost always made out of a combination between wood and plywood.
Many times, art shipping crates will feature soft internal foam inserts of various sizes. These inserts protect art by surrounding the art with cushion that can absorb the shock of a blow to the external shell, or in the event that the crate is accidentally dropped. So even when the external shell is damaged, many times the will be undamaged because of these soft inserts.
Foam inserts have one additional function. That is, to brace art places so that they stay in place. By minimizing excessive movement and jarring, the level of protection is enhanced because it prevents damage caused by pieces banging against the internal walls. Furthermore, this prevents damage to art, fragile pieces in particular, caused by sudden and strong movements.
Some art shipping crates will have little or no foam inserts, but instead will have internal wood framing that will secure the art in place and leave plenty of room in between it and the internal walls, or other pieces. This cushion of space in itself can provide a good level of protection from external forces.
There are many styles of art shipping crates available. Here are examples of some of the most common styles.
Below is an image of an art shipping crate that is especially designed to transport framed art pieces of differing sizes. Frames are secured in place by sliding them into the built in grooves, which are evenly spaced out to to ensure that the art pieces won’t touch each other. This particular model can hold up to five frames, from largest to smallest, left to right. The blue material is a soft, felt material that protects the frames from scratches and scuffing while in transit.
And here is a simpler, slimmer version of that.
Here is an example of a shipping crate that is designed to ship a single, small sculpture. Notice how the crate is much larger than the sculpture, but the remaining void within the crate is filled with a soft foam insert that encases the sculpture on the inside, securing it in place as well as acting as secondary layer of protection.
For larger sculptures or statues, shipping crates like the one pictured below are often used. Notice how this art piece is flanked by several pieces of wood that connect to the internal walls, which in turn prevent it from moving about excessively.
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If you are moving homes or offices, use art moving boxes to protect your artwork in the process.
Frame boxes, also known as side loaders, are especially designed for moving framed art, mirror art, or any large flat items. Below are a few examples of these types of boxes.
There are several sizes available for these types of boxes, typically ranging from 14 x 4 x 68 inches to 56 x 10 x 32 inches. They can generally fit two or three pieces, assuming the face dimensions of the box and the frames match. When using these types of art moving boxes, we usually recommend that you bubble wrap the corners of the art frames to prevent damage to the canvases as you slide them in and out of the boxes. To have a good level of protection for your art, we also recommend that you use boxes made out of 200 pound test cardboard. To prevent damage caused by excessive movement of lose pieces, we also recommend that you fill any empty space with packing paper or foam inserts. Prices for these boxes will vary, and depend on things such as the size and strength of the box. However, you can expect the general price range to be $2.00 – $12.00 per box.
Telescopic art moving boxes are another popular style, and is appropriate for moving single piece artwork. This type of box uses two halves. The art piece is first inserted into the bottom half, after which a second half slides over the top of the art piece and overlapping with the first bottom half of the box, providing full coverage. The advantage to using this type of box is that it can adjust to different lengths so that you can accommodate different pieces of art, although these are generally used to move rather large pieces of art. The model shown below (Uline S-11251), for example, is able to fit artwork measuring 48 x 6 x 38 inches to 48 x 6 x 72 inches. A box like this will normally cost about $12.00.
If you are moving framed art, you can also use a four piece box like the following to protect single pieces. This type of box is quite unique, as it is not a fully assembled box. Instead, it consists of four pieces that fit over each corner of the art piece, with each subsequent piece overlapping the previous near the center. For example, the model shown below (Uline S-4832) illustrates the box being pieced together in the following order: lower left corner, lower right corner, upper left corner, and finally the upper right corner.
This type of box is recommended when you are trying to move very fragile artwork, the kind that can get damaged by the very act of sliding it through or pulling out of a traditional styled box. One advantage to using this type of box is that they can accommodate different sized art because the panels self adjust. The Uline S-4832 can accommodate an art piece as small as 17 x 3 1/2 x 22 inches, and as large as 30 x 3 ½ x 40 inches. If you are interested in buying an art moving box like this, you can expect to pay around $6.00 per box.
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Along with art shipping boxes, you will often need to use additional art shipping materials to ensure your artwork is not damaged while in transit to its destination. There are several different types of products available. The ones you will need to use depends on the type of art that you are shipping.
So, we’ve started our art shipping materials section, where we will feature write ups on the most commonly used products, as well as products of interest which we think will help with your art shipping needs. Check back from time to time as we will frequently update this section with new products. Bookmark this webpage or to get timely updates subscribe to our RRS feed.
If you need to ship unframed art pieces that must not be bent or rolled, use print pads to provide rigid support and protection. These have two parts to them – 1) a folding score pad 2) a sleeve.
Open the bi-folding score pad and secure the art piece into the four corner slots found on the back panel. These corner slots are adjustable so change the positioning as needed to fit the size of the print. Close the score pad by folding the front panel over the back panel, concealing the art piece. The score pad is corrugated and provides the first layer of support and protection. In general, you can expect the score pad to be made out of 350 pound test horizontal corrugated cardboard. Next, slide the score pad into the sleeve. The sleeve is usually made out of 275 pound test vertical corrugated cardboard. With a grid like system of corrugations, the art piece is fully protected as the pad is extremely difficult to bend. In general, a print pad can hold between four and eight unmatted prints, depending on how thick the paper.
Some print pads will have a plastic liner as a third component. This plastic liners are highly resistant to punctures. Other models will have a plastic framing that goes along the perimeter, which adds even more rigidity. So you may want to opt for print pads that include these extra features for your most valuable prints.
The most common print pad sizes range from 17 x 22 inches to 42 x 54 inches. Prices for the most common sizes range from $30 to $85.
If you are shipping any artwork that has a glass viewing pane, you want to use glass tape. Cover the entire pane with this tape, so that in the event the glass shatters while in transit, the shards will remain adhered to the tape on an even level, and they will not sift around, preventing any damage to the piece. One important thing to keep in mind is you want to ensure that you are using low tack glass tape, so when you are ready to remove it, there won’t be any trace amounts of tape or adhesive that could ruin the appearance of the glass. In general, you can expect to pay about $90 – $100 for a 300ft roll of 12 inch wide tape.
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