Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?
Any suggestions for shipping a mounted photo to South Dakota? A gift in return for putting me up on a trip.
I need to send a matted, 13"x19" print, mounted on 18"x24" foam board.
It was suggested that I should just sandwich it in between two pieces of foam core board, tape the edges, and take it to UPS. It must weigh almost nothing.
U-Haul has boxes for framed items and mirrors, that is about sever or eight inches thick, with notched styrofoam corner pieces designed for a frame to fit into. That box is really too much.
I suppose I could just forgo the mounting and send the bare print in a tube of some sort. But, not the same.
#1. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 0Sun 04-Mar-12 05:21 PM | edited Sun 04-Mar-12 05:26 PM by esantos
I tried sending a print sandwiched like you describe and then slipped into a cardboard liner and UPS totally destroyed it. And this was what UPS recommended as far as packaging. To add insult to injury they initially denied my claim - I did pay additional insurance. After arguing with them over the phone they finally conceded and reimbursed me, although it took about eight weeks. I vowed to never do this again.
I went back to my old standby shipping method. I buy eight foot sections of 4" hard plastic drainage pipe at Home Depot and hard plastic end caps. Not the thick walled stuff, the thin walled ribbed white piping with the smooth black interior. The caps are about $1 per, and the pipe is about $8. I then cut a section to length using a simple hacksaw, remove any burrs from the sawed ends using an ordinary cabinet file. I roll my prints in tissue paper and then wrap that in bubble wrap. In the tube it goes and then I stuff the ends with more bubble wrap and tape the end caps shut. I think if this tube were to fall off the UPS truck nothing would happen to it. I have never had a customer notify me that the print arrived damaged when shipped this way. Unless you have an elaborate fulfillment shipping center with custom made cartons and foam inserts this is the only way to go. Shipping a print flat is just too risky and expensive for small volumes otherwise.
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography
Get my new e-Book "Churches of Texas"
#2. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 1Sun 04-Mar-12 06:06 PM
That's what I am afraid of. I guess matting and framing have to occur at the other end of the trip, unless the shipping accouterments get pretty substantial. I will do this only infrequently with a print of that size.
Thanks for your experience.
#3. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 2Sun 04-Mar-12 06:20 PM | edited Sun 04-Mar-12 06:20 PM by Bob Chadwick
I just shipped USPS a 13 x 16 print on matt board by sandwiching it between two pieces of cardboard and into a large padded envelope. Made it no problem. While it could have gotten damaged, most of the time it will make it no problem. Think of how often your mail gets damaged. Sometimes, but not very often.
Would I have done this for a multi-million dollar master? Obviously not. But why would I spend more in packing material than I can reproduce the print fot.
#4. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 3Sun 04-Mar-12 09:40 PM
But why would I spend more in packing material than I can reproduce the print fot.
If you are in the business of selling prints this is not a viable decision criterion. Have you ever thought what it costs to package and ship bottled water?
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography
Get my new e-Book "Churches of Texas"
#5. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 4Sun 04-Mar-12 09:49 PM | edited Sun 04-Mar-12 09:51 PM by Bob Chadwick
I hear you Ernesto and I'm not. If I was, I would have to factor that into the cost. But if I hear David correctly, this is a gratuity for hospitality rendered and I was just giving him another option. My friend got the picture that we took at Lake Tahoe undamaged and was very happy with it.
Wern't you going to Tahoe last month.
#6. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 5
#10. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 6Fri 09-Mar-12 01:41 PM
>Yes, Bob you are right. Didn't mean to sound terse with my
>reply. My apologies. Tahoe? No that was not me. I'd sure like
>to go though.
We have gone skiing the last three years. I grew up in SF/Sacramento area and love to go there. It's a gem.
#7. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 1
Everybody has had their own good and bad shipping experiences, here's mine.
I recently ordered a 40"x60" print from Bay Photo mounted on gator board. Their shipping method was UPS ground. It had tissue paper wrapped over the face and around the sides with masking tape holding it to the back. It was then sleeved from each end with large plastic bags, taped where they joined. Then it was sandwiched between two pieces of corrugated cardboard slightly larger than the print, taped together at intervals with packaging tape. Finally, it was place in a large "envelope" of corrugated cardboard folded over the back by 6 inches or so with a smaller piece forming the back of the "envelope", the whole thing sealed with packaging tape. It arrived in perfect condition. I imaging they do this all the time with no great losses.
In the past, I have had MPIX ship large prints (up to 24x36), flat in a box with the print essentially protected by the same method as Bay Photo. All have arrived undamaged, whether shipped by FedEx, UPS or USPS.
I think the trick is to have the first layer of cardboard about 2" larger in each side than the mounted print, and to size the "box" or "envelope" so that the inner cardboard has no room to slide around. You can tape the plastic sleeve over the print to the first layer of cardboard, or use plastic wrap (like Glad Wrap) to hold it in place. Just be sure to have protective paper of some sort over the face of the print.
Nice gesture sending a mounted print for their hospitality.
Visit my nikonians gallery
#13. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 1
My company ships a lot of mats and frames. In general, the shipping companies optimized for your typical rectangular moving boxes and not flat items. Also, most packing companies most stock your typical rectangular boxes. The item you ship is going to get stuffed into trucks, conveyors, and slides with other boxes.
Approximately 3% of everything that gets shipped gets damaged. In some cases, your package will just get off the chart abuse and may be damaged even if you put in a wooden crate. On the other hand, just putting a mat between two pieces of cardboard is asking for it to get bent by some larger heavier box it comes into contact with. Since you cant get the damage rate to zero, the key is to get the damage rate down to a reasonable level. If you are selling a $1200 dollar framed print it will be worthwhile to use a hard case with custom foam. If you are shipping something worth only $20 then of course it does not make sense to pay over $20 for the packing material since it will be more cost effective to just reship it if it gets damaged.
In general, I would make sure it is not real easy to bend the matted print. I would either sandwich it between something like 1" still foam or put it in a box. As others have mentioned, there are various material at your local hardware store that can provide more protection than cardboard sheets. Most of the packing supply companies offer 2 or 4 piece mirror boxes that built to a variety of different sizes. Uline is the only company I know of that actually has a good selection of large flat single piece boxes. Most single piece boxes cost less and take less labor than 2 or 4 piece boxes. If you can get a box for under $3 that just takes a few seconds to put together it may be less total parts and labor cost than something like insulating foam.
Also keep in mind that if you the final package you create is over 3 cubic feet you will be charged what is called dim weight for shipping if it is higher than the actual weight. We often ship boxes that only actually weigh 5 lbs but we have to pay to ship 15 lbs due to dim weight.
#11. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 0
Fed-ex has 2 different size boxes specifically for shipping art that are pretty slick.
Another possibility is to sandwich the work between 2 or more pieces of thick styrofoam insulation available at home improvement stores, cut to fit your box.
I've seen professionals ship large gallery wraps by making a container from 3 layers of 2" thick insulating foam, the middle layer cut to hold the piece, and all 3 held together by taping around the ends.
Ernesto's cautions are worth taking heed - I'm quite sure UPS uses potato guns to move packages around their facilities.
Shipping art can be a real pain - and rolled in a tube is certainly the most stable and economical way to go, although as you say, not the best presentation.
Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery
#12. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 11Fri 09-Mar-12 09:54 PM
Now, this is a new suggestion!
I think I put something like that on the side of my house about 15 years ago. Probably a lot more rigid, and strong, than the piece of foam core that has been meekly staring at me.
I think I'll make a visit to Loew's.
#14. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 11ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sun 18-Mar-12 12:13 AM
I get so many packages damaged by UPS that I would use FedEx for nice photo prints. I've seen them pack UPS trucks so the driver has to climb and shove to get to packages. It's just not worth the risk.
I've had good luck with Zenfolio's packaging. Prints come from MPix and are nicely attached to oversized cardboard sheets placed in a box that is about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Everything is wrapped in plastic with protection over the print.
Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera
#15. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 14Sun 18-Mar-12 12:56 AM
I shipped the package UPS on Thursday, and it is half way to South Dakota right now. The empirical test is in progress.
The packaging I chose is essentially three things.
A sealed plastic bag designed to hold a matted 13"x19" photo page on an 18"x24" foam core backer.
I cut 1" thick foam insulation board into three pieces, to become a sandwich. The middle piece has a hole cut out just a smidgen larger than the print. On either side of print are two pieces of ordinary foam core board about the same size. There are a handful of styrofoam peanuts placed to keep the print from shifting.
Two of the foam insulation pieces are glued completely around. The third, front piece if you will, is only glued along the bottom edge and a small way up either side. Pulling the top away is not glued to allow opening.
Roughly two inch wide tape for sealing moving boxes is strapped around the entire sandwich, and along the top and bottom edges.
I had a used cardboard box, which had been used to send me mounting supplies from a framing company. I had to cut down length of the 3" thick foam sandwich to fit inside the box.
The cardboard box is about 8 or 9 inches thick. Four balls of wadded up brown kraft paper space out the foam sandwich from the front and back cardboard walls. They are designed to allow absorption of side impacts without transmitting it directly to the foam sandwich inside. I wish could say the same for the sandwich edges which are wedged against the inside of the cardboard box.
I think this may be the last large mounted print that I send for a while.
I had thought about risking just the foam sandwich, taped up to a fare thee well, with a carrier. But, I began to envision the foam taking a beating. Omaha Steaks gets away with taped styrofoam boxes. But, they can easily send another for the few that get banged up.
#16. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 15Sun 18-Mar-12 02:18 AM
Frankly, I think you over did it. I've never seen a print, mounted or otherwise, shipped for a lab that had that much protection. The cost in time and expense of that seems to me to outweigh the cost of the print many times over.
Next time you want to do something like that, I think you might be better served by ordering the print matted and mounted by an on-line lab, and have them ship it direct to your intended recipient. That way, you don't need to worry at all about damage, and if it is one of the small percentage of items that gets damage, it is someone else's responsibility to fix it.
Visit my nikonians gallery
#17. "RE: Shipping a matted, mounted 13x19 inch print?" | In response to Reply # 16Sun 18-Mar-12 04:49 AM
Yes, perhaps. We also have the doomsayers on the other side of it predicting rough handling as the norm.
The direct delivery from a lab may be the way to go for distant delivery. OTOH, for a print worth mounting, I prefer to have control of the entire process, ensuring the print looks exactly the way I want.