Mailing and Shipping always involves some risk, but this can be greatly reduced by following a few commonsense practices. Later in this post I describe a method of packing flat items that has worked well for me over the years but first – a few words about Carriers, Insurance and Customs.
In my experience, defensive packing, fast shipping, discreet descriptions and tracking numbers are a great help. I have never had a mishap, although things can get held up in Customs, especially in holiday season.
If you are not a DIYer, there are a number of companies that supply shipping packages and materials, including www.airfloatsys.com , www.fragilepackagingsolutions.com and www.uline.com . In urban areas there are usually companies who specialize in packing and shipping art.
This is a simple system for flat items that works well for flat, relatively small artworks.
Cut two pieces of acid free foam board (available at art supply stores and from picture framers) sized 1″ – 2″ larger than the art on each side. Center art on one piece of the board.
Cut some photo corners from strips of paper.
Slip the photo corners onto the the art and tape over them to attach the art to the foam board. This will prevent shifting.
Cover art with the second sheet of foam board and tape the edges.
Although the surface of foam board is smooth, some types of media will be better protected if covered with a sheet of tissue or glassine before taping the foam boards together.
Now you are ready for the outer packing. Cut two pieces of Coroplast (corrugated plastic available from art suppliers, sign makers and building material stores).
If size permits, it is nice to cut the Coroplast larger than the foam board package to give a little bit more protection to the edges of the art. If you can, cut the Coroplast so that the corrugations of the first sheet are perpendicular to those of the second. This will make the package more rigid.
For added protection strips of foam board can be placed around the inner package to prevent crushing and shifting.
Tape the edges and write the address with permanent marker on the Coroplast.
I like to give a final wrapping with brown paper. Registered mail does not accept plastic tape or packaging so if you are using this service you will need to give a final wrap with brown paper and paper tape.
And a final address using permanent marker. Fragile stickers are useful too.