Handling artwork & care instructions for fine art prints
Handling and packing artwork can be daunting, especially if you don't have much experience. Worry not though; following the advice and tips of our expert logistics team should allow you to get it right and keep your artwork safe and secure.
Works on paper are fragile and can be easily damaged by incorrect handling, often without the person doing the damage even realising.
What to keep in mind
- Wash and dry your hands before or wear gloves when handling prints, and work on a clean flat surface.
- Always pick up a print with both hands, holding it on opposite edges. For large prints, it is best to hold on two opposite corners.
- Keep prints stored flat, in acid-free paper or folders which are larger than the print to be stored. Store in a cool, dry environment, and keep interleaved with acid-free tissue paper.
Packing artwork in a tube
When packing artwork in a tube, always use the right size heavy-duty mailing tube. As a general rule of thumb, the tube you are using should be at least 10 cm taller than the width of the print so that you can provide soft cushioning on either end inside to protect your artwork as it gets transported.
1. If your tube is double-ended, prepare to start the packing process by sealing the bottom opening with heavy-duty tape.
2. Line the bottom of your tube with tissue paper or bubble wrap to give your artwork extra cushioning to mitigate any potential damage whilst being transported.
4. Feel the print by lightly bending it upwards in order to see which way the paper eases more to roll it the right way.
As a general rule, you want the radius of the rolled print to match the radius of your tube as any space between the print and the inside wall of the tube, can cause potential damage to your artwork as it is in transit.
Whilst rolling your print, make sure that the edges of your print are in line - so when the artwork is rolled there are no sides poking out as these parts of the print could get damaged during transportation.
9. Place your rolled print inside of the tube - making sure that there is little to no space between the print and the inner wall of the tube, this is to make sure that there’s no movement inside of the tube.
Packing artwork flat
When packing high end prints and originals, you should consider packing your artwork flat. The flat pack needs to be made from impenetrable, strong cardboard, ideally triwall, quadwall or MDF, to ensure the print will be secure during transport. As a general rule of thumb, cardboard flat packs are sufficient for domestic travel, with MDF flat packs being preferred for international travel as they are far sturdier.
Glassine paper is a special type of paper that is air, water, and grease resistant - perfect for wrapping and protecting prints for transport.
What to keep in mind
1. Cut yourself a piece of Glassine paper double the size of your print to make sure the print will be completely wrapped up in it. Fold the paper over the print, making sure to fold in the sides and secure with masking tape so that the entire print is covered.
3. You will notice that one side of your cardboard is smoother than the other, which will have faint ridged lines that can emboss upon your artwork. Make sure the smooth sides are facing inwards onto your print with the ridged side facing outwards.
7. For larger prints, you may want to fold down additional pieces of A4 for more security along the sides of the artwork down from the corners.
8. Gently check that the print does not move once all the sides are taped down.
9. An extra (optional) step: You could opt to wrap the entire flatpack in furni-soft, which is an insulating, moisture, and weather resistant protectant slightly similar to bubble wrap. Perfect if you live in a rainy city like London!