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Professional Packing – A guide

March 22nd, 2019

As part of our “Best Practice” series, this simple guide aims to show the packing methods available.

The safest ways to protect your valuable and fragile artwork in transit is to either follow the methods outlined in our self-packing guide or involve Flight Logistics – ShipArt™. It’s not as expensive as you might think and you can be sure that it will comply with international shipping packing regulations.


So unless you’re supplying  work to The Gallery of Damaged Art…


… here’s some professional packing examples available to protect your items



Tri-Wall Case

Tri-wall is made up of 3 layers of corrugated cardboard anchored at the sides by wooden struts. This will provide you with a strong, but lightweight packing solution. Not recommended for high value, heavy, or very fragile items.


Foam Lined Tri-Wall Case

All the ingredients of the above tri-wall example, but with a layer of foam for an added level of protection against unforeseen knocks. Not recommended for high value, heavy or very fragile items.


Foam Lined Plywood Crate

A stronger solution than tri-wall, plywood cases are used when contents are either fragile, valuable or there are multiple items. Obviously heavier than the cardboard solution they offer a stronger solution and peace of mind.


Foam Lined Plywood Crate – Glass Content

All the benefits of the above foam lined plywood example, but with extra care due to glass component. The glass face is taped to reinforce it and to stop damage through flexing. An extra layer of bubble wrap is added.


Multipiece Plywood Crate

An economical way of shipping multiple items is to deliver them in one purpose built plywood crate. If appropriate an internal frame will hold everything in place.


A-Frame Crate

An A-Frame case is designed to stand the item (or items) vertically offering the benefits that they won’t bend due to being laid down, and also reducing the potential of being stacked upon. Ideal for larger items and fragile artwork that includes neon tubes, and large glass faces as it lessens the chance of breakage due to flexing.


Useful facts

  • Any wooden packing material used must be heat treated and stamped in accordance with import regulations. Without the stamp, destinations such as the USA and Australia will reject its entry and deport it back to you. Nobody wants that!
  • If you have multiple pieces of artwork going to a single UK or European address, it may be more cost effective to deliver it in a dedicated vehicle.
  • Most insurers want proof of the type of packing used. Ask your packer to take before, during (showing internal packing) and after packing photos.
  • Packed dimensions that exceed 160cm in any direction won’t fit through the freight hold loading door on a passenger jet service  and will have to go on a scheduled cargo only flight, potentially causing delays!


What information does a packer need to advise on suitable packing?

  • The number of items.
  • Dimensions of each (L x H x W).
  • Description/medium of the item /s.
  • Any glass?
  • Is it framed?
  • The final destination.
  • Value.
  • Who is insuring it? (We take photos before, during, and after packing).



  • “Bubble wrap will do it” – Not really, it’s useless against heavy pressure such as another item being stacked or falling on it.
  • “Professional packing will 100% protect my item” – No it won’t (unless it’s housed in a thick housing of titanium), for example it won’t protect against a building falling on it, or a wayward fork lift truck driver using your art as target practice, but it will provide the very best chance of it arriving unscathed.