How to Package Printed Works for Mailing

16th September 2015 Papers & Presentation

Smaller Prints - A5, A4, A3 size

With smaller prints, it's easier and more economical to send them in flat, strong cardboard envelopes. We use white rigid cardboard mailers from this eBay store. They're very very stiff, relatively inexpensive and are available in A5, A4 and A3 sizes.

We suggest not using the provided sticky tab on the back of these envelopes to close them, but instead simply closing the flap and taping down securely. The reason for this is that the glue used on the sticky tab is really hard to open and can cause damage to prints upon opening.

Within these we use our ClearBags for extra protection and pretty presentation.

SKU Price (inc) Qty.
Crystal Clear Archival Bags for Cards Crystal Clear Archival Bags for Cards
Crystal Clear Archival Bags for Prints Crystal Clear Archival Bags for Prints

Larger Prints - Over A3 size

Once you get over A3 size, it's easier and safer to roll your prints and place into cardboard tubes.

The main things to consider are:

    Protective Materials
    • The padding material (usually bubble wrap) stops the print sliding around in the tube. Don't wedge it too tightly though or you can kink the edges of your print.
    • You can also put a cylinder of bubble wrap inside the rolled print to provide some internal support against crushing incidents although if the courier mistreats the tube this badly there's not really much that will save it.
    • End caps are essential and should be well taped on. Use the strongest ones you can get your hands on as they help support the tube against crushing.
    • Protect the surface of your print. When you roll your print, lay archival polypropylene plastic or acid free tissue paper over the entire printed surface. Roll the print with the printed surface out, not in, which prevents the printed area from rubbing on itself and potential scuff marks. We buy our stock from Byars, and use the 30" Clear Poly Roll, Item Code: PM30P.
    • Place some paper around the rolled print and tape that - do not tape the print packaging directly. This means the receiver can remove the paper and tape, then carefully unwrap the print from there with no danger of the tape getting anywhere near the print.
    • There is some debate about whether to tuck the wrapping material into the end of the print. This can cause a kink if you're not careful so we generally don't do it but if you're careful it does provide a neater finish.
    Extra Information
    • You should also read about How To Handle Inkjet Prints
    • We suggest sending an information sheet along with your print describing the delicate nature of the print and emphasising very careful handling prior to, and during, the framing process.
    • Finally, leaving extra whitespace around your image is always a good idea. You can tell your clients the print has extra white space just in case of minor kinks or similar, and that the idea is the framer will trim this off before framing. You can even have crop marks printed in to help with this if you want.

    Using these methods we send thousands of prints each year and in a decade of doing this I can think of only one or two instances of damage with prints shipped within Australia, which were both due to truly absurd mishandling by the shipping company.