How to Ship a Canvas or Painting

Learn the best way to ship a hard canvas and the importance of protecting it with the right kinds of packing material
ship a canvas or painting
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Who says you need to partner with a big-time gallery to sell your art? Nowadays, eCommerce platforms like Big Cartel make it super easy for artists to sell their works online. As a result, artists can make money using only their talents and computers…but they need to know how to ship their stuff! The good news is, we’ve got you covered. This guide is all about shipping hard canvases and paintings so that you can focus on doing what you do best: making (or selling) art!

USPS is the Cheapest Way to Ship a Canvas or Painting

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to ship your hard canvas, shipping with the US Postal Service is the best option. USPS offers the best mix of affordable rates and quick delivery times, as long as your canvas isn’t too big. If it’s one of those enormous canvases that cover up an entire wall, however, you’ll be better off going with UPS.

That being said, most canvases are lightweight items (under 16 oz) that aren’t too big. Therefore, your best bet is to ship them is USPS Ground Advantage service. Ground Advantage is hands-down the cheapest way to send lightweight items, and delivery occurs between an estimated 2-5 business days. It also comes with door-to-door tracking in the United States and $100 of built-in insurance. What’s not to love?

Save Money with Shipping Software

As it the case with shipping anything else, you’ll save the most money when you use shipping software to buy discounted postage. Online shipping software solutions allow you to access rates such as USPS Commercial Pricing, which represents the deepest discounts that USPS offers. USPS typically reserves these discounts for huge shippers sending out more than 50,000 packages a year. However, the best shipping software solutions pass these savings along to you for free!

Properly Packaging your Canvas

Since a canvas is a delicate item, you’ll want to take all the necessary steps to protect it during transit. The best way to do this is to include plenty of packing material inside your box. You can use different types of packing material such as packing paper, tape, bubble wrap, and foam sheets to cover the canvas. We’ve outlined some simple steps to follow below:

  • Cover your entire canvas with packing paper, taping it so that no part of the canvas is exposed
  • Wrap the whole canvas in a couple of layers of bubble wrap and tape it so that it stays in place
  • If you have any more room, tape on another layer of foam sheets for additional protection

Here’s the bottom line: you don’t want anything to tear or rip your canvas before it reaches its destination. Using the kinds of packing material mentioned above is the best way you can keep that from happening.

Pro Tip: You’ll want to find a new, corrugated cardboard box that fits your canvas as snugly as possible. Canvases come in a slightly weird shape, so you may want to invest in custom packaging for your packages. Visit our Reviews page for some recommendations for custom packaging companies!

Don’t Forget the Insurance

When you buy postage online with shipping software, certain mail classes like USPS Ground Advantage and Priority Mail come with $100 of built-in USPS insurance. However, this is all the coverage you receive from USPS for these services. Therefore, we always recommend purchasing additional shipping insurance in case your canvas takes damage during transit or is lost. It will only cost you a couple of extra bucks depending on the value you declare, so it’s well worth it in case anything happens!

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  1. Irene Milhorn

    Anybody who needs to ship a canvas has to custom-build the box. You’ll need to put 2 inches of foam around the edges to protect the painting and put insurance on it!

  2. Thomas

    I have a 67” x 48” framed painting is there any company that has a box that big? Will USPS take something that large? Shipping from AZ to IL

    • Linda

      How did you end up shipping your painting? I have a piece that size I need to ship from IL to AZ.

  3. Alice

    I mailed a package USPS priority, insured for $100. The packaged got lost, sent for the lost claim form, within 60 days. I did not have proof of value. Lost Claim never responded, and even did not pay the shipping cost. I now use UPS.

  4. TG

    I purchased inexpensive boxes from to ship my art in. Amazon has all different size boxes, weird sizes that I needed. I do my own packing and ship it through USPS, priority mail with a lot more insurance. It still is pricey but much better than having an shipping company pack and send it. I don’t trust them.

  5. Liz

    I wouldn’t do USPS, during Christmas they lost 3 boxes I sent with presents in and I had insurance but they still denied my claim. They are horrible

    • Alan

      That sucks. Sorry that happened. We’ve been starving the post office of funds for almost 2 decades, and even moreso since 2016. I have no doubt that Christmas time is horrorshow for them! That said, I’ve shipped 100 or more items from small to large, and had only one damaged (my fault, didn’t understand packaging strength) and one late (rural area) in all that time. I defend them at every turn, and would hate to see them privatized.

      • Julianne

        Why defend them?? They won’t even approve your insurance claim for an item such as this as they claim you have no proof of value. Unacceptable.

  6. Jill

    Never ship large artwork through UPS. They subcontract out to T Force Freight for large packages and their service was terrible. They lost a 5×7 ft canvas painting that my deceased grandmother painted.

    • Irene Milhorn

      UPS offers additional insurance. Why didn’t you get that if it was so valuable?

      • R .B.

        getting additional insurance wouldn’t bring back the lost painting.

        • N

          Unless you have an extensive history of sales, UPS & FedEx, only insure the cost of supplies to make the artwork. So if I ship a pencil drawing on paper, they will likely give me back 25 cents for the pencil and $1 for the paper.

          FedEx lost one of my paintings, and I DO have a sales history. They said they didn’t lose it. Um…it left the gallery via a FedEx worker. FedEx said the gallery lost it. So lost my painting, AND FedEx didn’t come thru with insurance.

          When you ship an artwork with out a personal currier, you take a risk EVERY TIME!

  7. Gail

    Where can I buy thin boxes to ship paintings?

    • Carol J Woolf

      Owning a wholesale gallery, we created our own boxes from big cardboard sheets and foamcore at times. No bubble wrap that might damage the canvas or paint.

  8. M Metz

    How much (cost estimate) to ship a light weight canvas picture that measures 48″ x 36″ from Texas to Maryland, including shipping materials.

  9. Okafor precious

    I want to start an online art supply business and I want customers abroad to receive the art work directly in their homes,could this be possible.

  10. Patrick Ward Brady

    Need painting shipped from Westland, MI to Houston, tx


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