How to Ship Artwork for Scanning and Printing

Artist Hillary Serota Needle
Art By: Hillary Serota Needle @hillaryserotaneedleart

Local professional art scanning service companies that have the proper large flatbed scanners and experienced personnel for scanning art are hard to find.

So you will likely have to ship your artwork for professional reproduction.

1. Why You Should Ship Your Art

It is worth shipping your art instead of using a local photographer or local print shop because a professional art scanner will generate far superior images that will properly represent the value of your art as well as the time and effort it took to create the artwork. Local photographers can be very expensive, can have uneven lighting and often the images are not proportionally accurate for printing or as sharp as that from a professional scanner, due to the distance between the art and the camera lens. The round photographic lens can also cause distortions, and a local print shop will usually only have a typical low-resolution scanner similar to the ones used at home. New professional scanners address all these issues by placing the lens right under the artwork so that it can scroll across the artwork with built-in cool and even lighting to capture high resolution and proportionally accurate images, which is what is required for archiving and high-quality valuable prints.

If you wish to see a professional flatbed scanner follow this link Chica Prints

2. High-Quality Scans Generate High-Quality Prints

Scanning technology has greatly advanced; the price of professional scanning services has dropped, and new large flatbed scanners can scan both small as well as very large artwork at very high resolution leading to sharp images with bright colors and fine details for printing.

Moreover, since these high-end scanners are used by professional art service providers, they are not readily found in local shops. So for a much lower cost than a local photographer or print shop, you can get much higher quality images that truly represent the value of your artwork.

You can handle the packing of the artwork yourself, or you can have it professionally packed and shipped. If the art piece is mounted, you may want to use a local shipping service and below we provide further details as to why that may be best as well as provide an inexpensive local store near you that may be able to assist you. If the art piece can be rolled, then an alternative option is to ship in a tube if you wish to take care of the shipping yourself or have it shipped by a local shop.

3.  Shipping In A Tube

If you can roll your artwork then shipping in a tube in an easy option for shipping that you can usually do yourself. The first step is to get a tube that is wider and longer than your rolled artwork so you can leave space for padding. The tube walls also need to be thick and rigid for shipping.

Best if you can first insert your artwork in a plastic sleeve, lay some light wrapping paper or tissue paper over the plastic sleeve so that it gets rolled up inside the roll to protect the artwork further, but be sure the plastic sleeve, tissue or light wrapping paper is completely flat with no wrinkles that can leave a mark. Even better, you can use glassine paper which is a neutral pH translucent paper that is often used for covering prints during shipping and while in storage Dick Blick

You can then also protect the outside of the roll further by rolling it in canvas or cloth to further protect the artwork, and the material can be a bit wider than the rolled artwork to help protect the edges of the roll. Finally, the rolled pice can then be placed inside a large thick plastic garbage bag for further protection.

Before inserting the rolled artwork in the tube, be sure to put in some bubble wrap at the bottom of the tube to further protect the edges of the artwork. Do not use styrofoam peanuts or other loose material that can wedge within the roll or spill out of the tube, leaving your artwork unprotected.

After you insert the artwork in the tube make sure that it does not bounce around inside the tube, it needs to be padded so that it does not move inside the tube. Finally, make sure the end caps and very well taped with shipping tape to ensure they do not pop out.

4. Double Tubing or PVC

If you want even further security, yet another option is to then insert the tube inside a larger tube for added protection, but this is optional. Just be sure that the outer tube is also made of thick, strong cardboard and again use padding to keep the tube firmly in place.

Another option is to use PVC tubes (pipes), which you can buy at a hardware store. The PVC is much stronger than cardboard and will also further protect your artwork from water damage.

Alternatively, your local art supply shop carries various tube options such as color-coded tubes, durable and water-resistant plastic tubes, aluminum tubes and tubes with straps as you can see at this link for Blick Art Supplies: Dick Blick Art Supplies

Art supply shops like Blick also carry packing tape Dick Blick Packing Tape

Shipping tubes can be found at most art supply stores, and they are not all round; they are also available in square and triangular shapes and even in telescoping polyethylene as you can see at this link: Staples Shipping Tubes

5. Professionally Packing and Shipping

If your artwork is mounted you can still box it and ship it yourself if you wish and at this link, there is a step-by-step process for doing so:  Wiki How Mail Artwork and you can also watch a video at this link: Youtube. Packing it yourself can be easily done if your artwork is small, but if the artwork is large, we recommend using a local packer and shipper like the one mentioned below.

If you do decide to ship yourself, be aware that the most common damage to flat pieces in shipping is in the corners. So make sure that the corners of your artwork and the packaging are well protected with cardboard. Here is an option for corner protectors that you can buy at your local truck rental, moving or storage facility: Uhaul Packing Supplies

However, we suggest that when possible that you use a local shipper like the UPS Store in your neighborhood to do the shipping. They have experienced personnel that pack& ship every day, and they have the proper size boxes, bubble wrap,  all other packing, shipping materials, and tools.

The UPS Store has certified experts that know how to pack your artwork properly, and they can also handle small as well as large items.  Also, if they handle the packing using their materials they will cover the cost of the packing and shipping as well as the value of your items if they are lost or damaged, So be sure to declare the value of your shipment.

Additional details on their coverage are available at this link UPS Store, and they have stores all across the USA so you can find the store nearest you at this link UPS Find a Store

6.  Summary

One key reason to ship your art is to have it professional scanned and printed by an experienced art scanning and printing service provider. Most local shops do not have the professional equipment needed to properly digitize artwork so that it is properly scanned for printing. A professional art scanning service generates a high-resolution image that is proportionally accurate for printing, and that is sharp, detailed and with accurate colors that properly represent the time and effort that it took to create the art. A high quality professional scan of your art will also accurately reflect the true value of your artwork. Examples of scans done by other artists can be seen at this link Chica Prints Artists

A professional art scanning service provider will also give you access to the digital image of your artwork before the original is shipped back to you. This way, you can review and approve the digital image before your original art is shipped back to you. They will also provide you with a JPG image for sharing and marketing online and through social media, as well as a higher quality uncompressed TIFF image for editing, archiving, and printing.

You can pack your rolled artwork for shipping if you pack it carefully using the guidelines we provided above for shipping in a tube, which is a simple process that can be completed in just a few minutes.

If your artwork is mounted, we provided step-by-step instructions above as well as a video link. However, we recommend that you use your local UPS store to pack and ship mounted items, especially if they are large. The UPS Store has the proper packing materials and expertise to ensure that your artwork is properly packed, shipped and valued, as indicated in the UPS Store link provided above.

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