Shipping Screen Prints: How To Protect Your Precious Paper

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Limited edition screen prints are popular with collectors across the globe, but if you want to ship artwork worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, you need to make sure you package your products properly. Screen print collectors expect to receive their goods in mint condition, so you need to find ways to protect your paper. Find out how with this simple guide to shipping screen prints.

The tube

It's normally easier to roll up and ship your screen prints in a tube, but you need to make sure you choose the right tube size for the print. Select a tube that is several inches longer than the print, so the ends of the rolled paper don't rub against the inside ends of the tube. Don't choose narrow tubes, either. You'll need to roll up the print tightly to get it in the tube, which will increase the risk that you will crease the paper.

Heavy-duty tubes with thicker walls will withstand the rigors of a long journey more easily. What's more, if a thin tube gets wet, the water may soak through and contaminate the print. For the most valuable prints, some sellers recommend vinyl tubes, which are completely waterproof. These tubes are heavier and may increase shipping costs, but they are almost indestructible.

The wrapping

Place a sheet of acid-free tissue paper on the top of the print before rolling. The tissue paper prevents scuffs to the artwork as you roll the print. You may need several sheets of tissue paper for thicker screen prints.

You should also roll up the screen print in a sheet of oversized brown paper. Without this layer, the print can rub against the interior wall of the tube. Choose acid-free brown paper, and cut a sheet that is wider and longer than the print.

Fold down one edge of the brown paper over the top edge of the screen print before rolling the print. This will protect the delicate corners of the artwork. Choose a sheet of brown paper that is wider than the screen print, as the rolled edges of the packing paper will provide a protective cushion between the print and the inside edges of the tube.

Roll the print firmly and evenly, but don't apply too much pressure. If you grip the paper too hard, you will crease the delicate screen print. What's more, if you let go, the rolled paper will probably spring back into its original flat state. If something is in the way, like a pair of scissors or a roll of tape, you will probably damage the print's delicate corners.

Seal the print rolled in brown paper with a few pieces of tape. Fold down one corner edge of the tape before fixing to the outer brown paper layer. This will make it easier for the recipient to carefully peel the tape off at the other end. Some sellers use colored tape that's easier to see.

The ends of the roll are still vulnerable. Cushion the roll inside the tube with a layer of bubble wrap, folded or squashed up at each end of the rolled print to cushion the ends. Once inside the tube, the rolled screen print should not move when you shake the tube. If the print can move around, there's still a risk of damage to the screen print inside.

Sealing the tube

The end caps of the tube stop the print sliding out and protect the interior contents from dirt and damage. As such, it's crucial that you fix the tube caps firmly in place. Once sealed, tape around the edge of the cap firmly and then apply more tape across the cap. Use heavy-duty tape that cannot come undone in transit.

If you're re-using an old tube, make sure you remove any old shipping addresses, postage labels and sender information. Fix address labels to the tube with heavy-duty tape, or they may fall off in transit. Make sure you show your address on the tube too, so the postal company or courier service can easily return the tube to you if there's a problem.

There's a buoyant global market for collectible screen prints, but you need to pack and ship these items carefully. Talk to a local courier company, like Morningside Courier Systems, for more advice.

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22 December 2015

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