Shipping matted/frammed prints : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

So I bought a domain name and am putting together a site. On thing I will be doing shortly is selling prints through my site to help finance my college education (not to mention the site). I have all the billing and pricing worked out, but I'm still not sure about the shipping. How exactly does one go about shipping things matted or framed to 16x20" or so? What is the procedure for packing these things properly? Thanks in advance.

-- David Munson (, November 07, 2001


First, ship with acrylic not glass .... cheaper and lighter and wont break. Second put a sheet of foamcore on each side of the framed matted work. That should do it.

You should also consdier if you really want to ship framed and matted or just matted. You can make a decent profit on the frames but if you rae talking a 20 x 24 or larger frame for a 16 x 20 print ... and 20 x 24 is the smallest size you want to use ... you rae talking substantial postage that willd drive the total cost and thus buyer resistance up. Just a thought.

-- Ted Harris (, November 07, 2001.

David: I agree with Ted...It is difficult and expensive to ship framed prints. I would try matted prints first and see if they don't sell. Even with acrylic instead of glass, it will be difficult to get them to the customer in good condition. I have shipped only a couple of framed prints and that cured me.

To answer your question, if you want to ship framed prints you need to find a supplier of boxes expecially made for shipping them. The problem with that is you may have to buy the boxes in big lots, as they are set up to supply commercial operations of larger size. As a start, go down to your local frame or gallery shops and see what they are using. You might get one of the shops to order for you or split an order with you. I really think you will sell as many prints and make more profit by selling matted prints. If you get many orders, as I hope you will, you will sooner or later have to do your own framing or the cost of having to do them commercially will exceed the national debt.

Good luck with your venture. Give us the address of your web site when it's up and running.

-- Doug Paramore (, November 07, 2001.

I suppose I should have been a little more specific. The photographs will be 8x10" mounted to 16x20" and chances are they will all be sans frame. I'll post the URL of my site once I get a little more done with it. It's actually up now, but I wan't to get a few more things done/tweaked before I really start distributing the address. If anyone really wants to take a look at it, email me off the list and I'll happily send you in the right direction.

-- David Munson (, November 07, 2001.

Light Impressions sells boxes that are suitable for shipping framed prints. The picture shows some guy standing on top of it. I used to work in a studio where all matted prints were sandwiched between plexiglass for shipping. Probably overkill, but they arrived unharmed every time.

-- Steve Wiley (, November 07, 2001.

I second using acrylic on the prints. But, if you ship the framed bubble wrap & the round pipe insulation on the frame edges will protect them very well, with a piece of fome cor over the front of the photos. Cut the pipe wrap to size & slip it over the frame edges after putting the fome cor over the glass (and back if you want) and then bubble wrap the package. Keeps the weight to a minimum and absorbs bumps very well.

-- Dan Smith (, November 08, 2001.

If you order unassembled frames from American Frame, they ship them in a box that is probably appropriate for you to re-use. The aluminum frames come in sections but the mats, backing and acrylic come with styrofoam sheeting on either side. I've always imagined that the packaging could be turned around to ship finished frames. Protecting the corners is always a necessity, though.

-- Peter Popp (, November 08, 2001.


I ship unframed prints all over the country and have a cheap and effective way of doing it. I buy 2'x4' sheets of Dow Extruded Foam Insulation. (It's the stuff used to wrap houses in before siding is put on them). I cut it to whatever size, then cut additional pieces of LUAN underlayment board which sells in 4'x8' sheets, and can be cut with a sharp utility knife.I then sandwich the prints between the foamboard and use the Luan as the top. Some tape to hold it all together will work, but I have a strapping machine which brings everything tightly together...All these items are at Home Depot.

good luck,

Andy Baugnet

-- Andy Baugnet (, November 08, 2001.

I'm a painter and photographer, and routinely ship large works on paper using a spectacularly intelligent system called "Print Pads," and sold by Masterpak in New York ( Masterpak's description: "Provides a "container within a container" with multiple layers of protection. The inner sleeve is constructed of 350 lb. corrugated material with corrugation running horizontally. The outer sleeve is constructed of 275 lb. corrugated material running vertically. Each Print Pad is equipped with four adjustable 90 degree angled corners allowing for custom fitting. Optional Puncture Guard hard plastic liners are available to provide extra safety for expensive artwork. Each Print Pad can hold 4-8 unmatted prints, depending on the thickness of the paper." These are idea for relatively thin items, such as a matted print, and come in 17x22", 24x34", and 32x45". If you need to ship something framed, they offer a product called a "StrongBox," which I have used to ship 48x60" paintings to Europe without encountering any difficulty. Masterpak's description: "Each STRONGBOX comes with three layers of foam protection in either 350 lb. or 500 lb. corrugated cardboard. STRONGBOXES are also available with Puncture-Guard hard plastic liners ensuring extra safety for expensive art work. Framed art work is safely encased in three layers of protection. One layer is sandwiched between two layers of convoluted (egg carton) foam. Customize the middle foam layer by removing perforated squares to form an opening that snugly encases the art work. Multiple layers provide superior shock absorption." The StrongBoxes protect so well that I've stopped having crates made for small and medium size works. Highly recommended.

-- Christopher Campbell (, November 08, 2001.

Just for those interested, my site can be found at It won't be completed until January in all probability, but the essentials are there now. I know one picture for sure won't load properly in landscape/nature section of the site, but I'm working on that at the moment so it should be resolved before too long.

-- David Munson (, November 09, 2001.

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