The Best Way to Mail Calligraphy, Prints, Artwork and Paper

Sometimes you have to ship your work to a printer, or letterpress studio that may be on the other side of the country and you need to insure that the artwork you are sending will stay flat and undamaged in the shipping process. Today I had to do exactly that. My husband is helping me demonstrate my packing process.

I am shipping calligraphy for a stationary order to the fabulous letterpress studio of Julie Holcomb Printers.

STEP 1: The first thing I am going to do is to take the pieces of artwork (I have two individual pieces in this package) and I cover them with another sheet of vellum to protect the artwork and keep it clean. We put the artwork covered by vellum on a larger sheet of clean white paper and tape it down using Nichiban Tape. 

The Nichiban Tape is very important. You want to find Nichiban Masking Tape No.241 it is a type of Japanses Washi tape, but without all the silly designs and colors and ridiculous mark up. The trend around Washi tape made the price jump and people shouldn't be paying so much for it. This tape holds strong and is very water resistant but pulls easily off the paper and never tears or damages the paper.  

Notice how we tape just two corners down to the back paper and then make a tab with the tape by leaving some up on the end and folding it over on itself so you have the tab. It makes it extra easy for the printer to get the tape off without damaging the paper or the artwork.

STEP 2: Cut the backing large paper down to a smaller size then the cardboard pieces you have. Have a piece of cardboard that is generous in size compared to the artwork.

 These are my husband's hands! NOT MINE! He is a master architectural model maker and designer with Rafael ViΓ±oly Architects so he knows what he is doing!!

These are my husband's hands! NOT MINE! He is a master architectural model maker and designer with Rafael ViΓ±oly Architects so he knows what he is doing!!

STEP 3: Tape the backing paper with attached artwork to the cardboard. You can use card board or mat board. Just don't use something where the color will rub off. Tape every corner of the backing paper to the cardboard with the Nichiban tape.

 all corners are taped down to the cardboard

all corners are taped down to the cardboard

STEP 4: Tape a second piece of cardboard the exact same size to the one with your artwork on it. Put the tape around the outside edge. Use a thicker piece of Nichiban tape if you have it. That will help.

 Photo is a little blurry, but it's an action shot. Put the tape on there nice and EVENLY!

Photo is a little blurry, but it's an action shot. Put the tape on there nice and EVENLY!

STEP 5: We are almost there... Take a permanent and waterproof marker, like a sharpie to the outside edge of where you put the tape. Make a dashed line around that edge and make it a little thicker so that it shows around all edges. Make sure the line looks like the type of line that visually says "CUT HERE"

STEP 6: Then just write "CUT HERE" around all the edges.

 This is to make sure they don't cut with a blade across the package, or try to tear the package open and damage the art.

This is to make sure they don't cut with a blade across the package, or try to tear the package open and damage the art.

Also remember to write on the outside of the cardboard your name, the person who will be receiving it's name and the client's name as well as the project's name. This is to make sure it doesn't accidentally get thrown out if people don't know what it is.

This all goes into a FED EX or USPS envelope when you go to ship it. Those don't offer a lot of protection, so that is why it is worth it to go through this process. For some pieces you may be able to ship with the art and paper rolled into a tube for art. They sell those at shipping places, but they can get pricey and are not good for small pieces that are going to printers that need to be scanned. It is better to keep things flat when you can. 

I hope this was helpful!