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Packing is a Big Deal!

If you do not pack your print correctly it will likely cost you or the poor fellow on the other end. So don't be cheap! Pack it right and it will save you lots of money in the long run. Having been a victim of bad packing, it is a challenge to have faith that the print will make it safely. When there are hundreds or thousands of dollars at hand, there is a whole lot at stake.

The Basic Supplies

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  • The Shipping Tube should not be too thin. It should be reasonably thick walled and wide. A thin tube will make it necessary to roll the print too tightly possibly damaging it.
  • The Shipping Paper should be thick postal quality paper like might be wrapped around a box for shipping. This is very important since the paper is critical to protecting the print.
  • The Rest includes scissors, a label, tape and the print.
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The Tube should not be too long as that would provide too much room to move, increase shipping costs and materials cost. It should be at least a few inches wider than the narrow side of the print to leave room for the shipping paper buffer and the tube ends. I highly recommend tubes from Yazoo Mills as they are of the highest quality and are cheaper than the low quality ones at the post office. We recommend a tube with a 3" inside diameter for most prints.

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The Shipping Paper should be cut to a size as wide as the tube less the depth of the tube end caps. This will prevent the print from shifting back and forth during shipping, The paper should also be at least a few inches longer than the print so it can protect the print from tube damage and from damaging itself. It is also a good idea to roll the paper without the print and test it in the tube. That will make the paper easier to work with and allow safe cutting to get the length just right.

Wrapping the Print

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Wrapping the print should be done by first placing it in the center of the shipping paper. Place a print sized piece of tissue paper or equal on top to prevent scuffing. Notice that the extra width of the shipping paper will help absorb horizontal damage, protecting the edges of the print. Placing a fold in the shipping paper at one end will help prevent the print from slipping while rolling it. Do not roll the print tightly, roll it just tight enough to get it into the tube and be careful not to crease the print at this stage. This may be the most dangerous part so be careful!

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One method for adding the rolled print to the tube is to let it unroll in the tube. This should create a steady force and friction to help keep it from bumping up and down and side to side. The recipient will only need to take the inner shipping paper fold and twist carefully to get the print out safely.

Others prefer taping the kraft paper after the poster is rolled up. The idea is that the tape holds the roll tight, preventing the poster from sliding around within the kraft paper. Because the wrapped poster and kraft paper are slightly smaller than the diameter of the tube, it is probable that this space could help prevent damage, even if the tube suffers minor dents. As an added protection against sliding, some tape the ends of the kraft paper to the tube, once inserted, to keep the roll from sliding from end to end within the tube. The major drawback to these methods is that tape is used, and utmost care must be exercised when unwrapping the roll.

Finish it up with an end cap and a label. Be sure to tape the ends with some packing tape or all the work may go to waste.

Mailing the Print

Ship it priority mail. It will spend less time at the post office and the person on the other side will thank you. If the print is expensive then put some insurance on that print; things do happen and the more expensive your print, the more likely it will happen to you!

Shipping from the US to Canada:

You can insure the shipment if it goes priority or first class, but it will end up costing the receiver. I recommend packaging it in a thick tube (or even PVC) inside a triangle mailer to ensure it arrives safely and that there is no major extra cost to the receiver. You could ask them to pay an extra couple bucks to go buy PVC or something to ensure it will arrive undamaged and be able to ship with a low <$10 declared value. Just communicate with the receiver openly and figure out what they want - also ask the buyer to write a statement in the paypal payment saying they waive the insurance and take responsibility for any damage that is incurred in shipment to cover your ass

Receiving a Print

Don't keep it in the tube! The tube and paper are not acid free and keeping a poster rolled up for a long time is not good for it. Take the print and frame it or store it flat in a Mylar sleeve.