Crate Comparison: Shipping a Painting vs a Sculpture

Crate Comparison: Shipping a Painting vs Shipping a SculptureAt Art Work FAS, we understand that each piece of artwork you ship requires specific packing and handling instructions before and during the shipping process. We take pride in handling the details in transporting your artwork safely and securely to its destination, no matter the shape or size of the piece.

Read on to uncover how we address the differences between shipping a painting or a sculpture with our customizable crating services.

Shipping A Painting

If you have an oversized piece, or one with a fragile surface, a travel frame may be a good choice for your artwork. Travel frames are designed to be economical and provide excellent protection for the surface of large or delicate artwork.

Our travel frames are constructed from sturdy 1×6, 1×8, and 1×10 boards. We offer two styles: open slat travel frames, which are sealed with plastic sheeting after packing, and enclosed travel frames with permanent wood and corrugated plastic covers on the front and back.

When packing sculptures into travel frames, we use brass Oz Clips or steel mending plates, so we can pack artwork without touching the sides or the front of the piece. Foam bumpers may be added or substituted if they are appropriate for the work.

Shipping A Sculpture

If you are utilizing shuttle transportation and have a large or delicate sculpture, slat crates may be the right option for your piece. Slat crates work especially well for pieces that may be more challenging to maneuver or pack. They are also economical solutions for large sculptures since they are typically less expensive than an enclosed crate.

Our slat crates start with a pallet base, and all sides are always removable to make packing and unpacking as easy and safe as possible. Crates can have two solid sides and two lattice sides, or four lattice sides, and an open lattice top. We adjust the size and build of our slat crates depending on what your sculpture or 3-D item requires. For heavier objects, we construct the crate sides from 2×4, 2×6, or 2x8s.

For packing a slat crate, we usually use wood braces, padded with thick foam bumpers. The bumpers are covered with non-abrasive material where they touch the artwork. We take care to place the braces in locations that are sturdy and can hold your item snugly in place. We also label and key the braces to make unpacking clear and as easy as possible.

Upgrading to Enclosed Crates for High-Value Pieces or International Travel

Our travel frames and slat crates are excellent options for domestic travel and storage. For the rigors of extended touring, international destinations, or for especially high-value or sensitive items, we can add an enclosed exterior crate to the travel frame or slat crate. An exterior crate fully encases the travel frame or slat crate with solid plywood sides, and provides additional padding since the travel frame or slat crate is suspended by foam bumpers inside the outer crate.

The Art Work FAS team will work with you to determine which methods best suit your needs by comparing time frames, price points, and handling considerations. We take care of all of the little details when packaging and crating your artwork, so you can have peace of mind when you send it off on its journey.

Partner With Experts in Fine Art Handling

For nearly 30 years, Art Work Fine Art Services has served as the trusted logistics partner to some of America’s most highly-regarded museums, galleries, collectors, and artists. We specialize in expert and custom solutions for domestic and international shipping, warehousing, and preservation of artwork. Our team is made up of passionate experts in many mediums, including design, painting, printmaking, carpentry, photography, and sculpture. Art Work FAS offers services in Portland and Seattle, in addition to California’s Bay Area and Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York City, and across the Rocky Mountains.

To request an estimate or find out more about the services Art Work Fine Art Services offers, visit

Leave a Reply