Packing a Wet Painting

Before boxing Highway 1 Escape I spray it with a light coating of Grumbacher Retouch Varnish. Then the painting, attached to the backing, is placed on another piece of double ply cardboard the same size. If you would like to see how the canvas was secured to the cardboard CLICK HERE.

The two pieces of cardboard are taped together in the center of each side.

For packing our paintings we use Pink Panther Fiberglass Insulation in 4′ x 8′ sheets purchased at Home Depot. Here is a closeup of the label. Absolutely DO NOT use white styrofoam insulation for packaging your paintings. The little white pieces will break off and get into the wet paint. We know from experience, we’ve tried it with disastrous results. A summer garden scene ended up covered in “Snow”!

4 inch strips are cut and taped together, making a rectangle the same size as the cardboard backing on the painting. This will be the sides of the box. The rectangle is placed on the cardboard backing.

See how the painting “Floats” inside the box?

The top of the box is a triple ply piece of cardboard. This is placed on top of the fiberglass sides, which keep the cardboard from touching the surface of the wet painting. We buy 40″ x 48″ sheets of single ply cardboard in bulk. I cut them to the dimension needed and glue two or three together for the thickness desired.

The corners are anchored with blue painter’s tape. This is just to hold everything in place, I’ll use stronger tape later.

You can purchase fancy UP arrows for your packages. We used to do that but we’ve found using a large Sharpie pen and drawing arrows works just as well. I make certain to mark the package on the top piece of cardboard before turning the box over to finish taping. The painting will need to opened from this side. I don’t want to get confused and forget which side is the top!

The final taping is done with brown plastic tape. The edges and sides are covered entirely.

The package is ready to go, all we have to do is write the shipping address on it with a Sharpie and attach the FedEx label. A dotted line is drawn around the lip of the top of the box, showing where to cut when opening. This makes it much easier for the one unpacking Highway 1 Escape.

And the Smiley Face you ask? Well, we had quite a scare when we shipped my large showstopper painting, A Touch of Romance, for our Annual Collector Event in Santa Fe this past Labor Day. FedEx got our package on the wrong truck and it was happily traveling around the country for days. The show painting took our event title “TRAVELS” to heart! We’ve shipped with FedEx for almost 30 years and have never had a mishap like this. Chris, the FedEx representative who helped correct their mistake was wonderful. We must have been back and forth on the phone 20 times over a few days. He kept us completely updated as to what was happening. FedEx found what truck the piece was on by the tracking number, the painting was heading to the east coast, not Santa Fe. Then they had to look at every single box when the double container 18 wheeler arrived at the terminal in order to locate ours. When we were trying to track the painting down the FedEx representative asked me to describe the box. What could I say? I replied, “It’s brown cardboard like the zillions of other boxes on FedEx.” I described the hand drawn arrows and “Cut along dotted line to open.” They were able to find it and our painting was rerouted to a special flight and delivered by an express courier, compliments of FedEx. Although it was several days late it arrived just in time for our opening reception. So NOW I write “Have a Great Day” with a Smiley face on the outside. This makes the package easily identifiable in case FedEx has to physically locate our box among the millions they ship. And yes, we wrote a letter of commendation to Chris’ boss at FedEx and received a nice letter from him in return. He said, “Our customers are the most important part of our business. When we mess up we want to make sure we get it right and YOU are happy.” Now, that is customer service! Have a GREAT day. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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5 Responses to “Packing a Wet Painting”

  1. Ray Dane Says:


    This painting is absolutely gorgeous. Your talent just astounds me. God has blessed you abundantly, and he blesses me abundantly through you.

    Be safe,

    Ray Dane

  2. Cheryl Ann Scott (@mockingbird101) Says:

    Thank you for this. . . I have wondered how you do it! How is the painting attached to the first backing layer?

  3. Cheryl Ann Scott (@mockingbird101) Says:

    Well, I just didn’t read carefully enough. ..the answer was in a link 🙂

  4. Valentina Abadia Henao Says:

    Thank you so much for this post and the other one where you show how to mount the painting on the cardboard. This has helped me so much! I have to send a yet still wet oil painting that has to arrive by Christmas, and I am so happy with how it is packed. I know it will arrive in perfect condition. Thank yoi!

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Dear Valentina, It makes my heart happy that I was able to help you. Please let your collectors know the painting is still wet and to leave it on the cardboard for a week or so to let it dry completely! Thanks for letting me know and have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! Hugs, Mikki

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