6 Rules to Follow When Shipping Watercolor Paintings

When shipping a watercolor painting, it can be quite difficult to decide on how to pack it to ensure its safety. Here’s how to do it!

You can either ship your watercolor painting in a mailing tube or in a flat parcel. The mailing tube would be a cheaper choice, while a flat parcel is safer. Always protect your painting with a sealable plastic bag and/or newspaper to ensure its protection.

Rule 1: Evaluate which shipping method fits your artwork

Firstly you should measure your painting. If it’s the size of a postcard, a rigid cardboard mailer will be sufficient.

Ideally you should secure the artwork in a sealed plastic bag to ensure it won’t get wet. The client will certainly notice if this is done, even if it is not a necessity.

If your painting is larger, you should decide between a mailing tube and a flat parcel.

If your artwork is mid-sized (like a normal paper sheet), a flat parcel is a good choice. Again, be sure to buy a sealable plastic bag to ensure its safety.

For larger paintings, you can choose between shipping them in a flat parcel or a mailing tube. 

It is cheaper to ship a painting in a mailing tube, but it must be rolled up, whereas a flat parcel is more expensive, but also safer.

Rule 2: Compare the prices for each shipping methods

Firstly, you should compare prices. If the flat parcel costs just a little more, I would definitely advise you to choose it. 

When the price is higher, it might be wiser to choose the mailing tube, if you’re the one paying for shipping.

Rule 3: Ask the client what they prefer

If you plan to send a piece to a client that pays for shipping, you should always explore all available options and present them to the client.

Include all the pros, cons, and prices. Also, I would recommend to give your opinion, since you are the expert on the topic. You should know what’s best for the painting.

Given you presented everything the way I mentioned before, you shouldn’t argue with the client if they don’t agree with your opinion, as that would be unprofessional.

Rule 4: Make sure to secure the painting

If possible, purchase sealable plastic bags to protect your paintings.

With larger scale paintings, this is rarely going to be possible, so you should at least put newspaper on the front and the back of the painting to stabilize it a bit.

Rule 5: Give the client a heads up on the time of arrival

Letting the client know when their painting is going to arrive is very important if you want to be professional.

This shows that you are taking care of it and ensuring that the client is satisfied.

If the client sees that you’re putting an effort into everything and making sure the client is satisfied, they will likely book you again or refer you to someone else.

Rule 6: Make sure to get feedback

2-3 days after the estimated arrival date, you should get in touch with the client to check in, if the package arrived, in what condition it was delivered and if they are satisfied.

This has multiple positive effects. Firstly it’ll show you how good the delivery was. Has your painting been damaged? Did the packaging get damaged? How soon did it arrive? 

Those are all important questions to evaluate and learn from for future clients.

Additionally it will strengthen your relationship with the client again. It shows that you care about them and their satisfaction from start to finish of the whole process and that you don’t just lose interest in them as soon as you receive your money.


Firstly evaluate which packaging you need and how big your painting is. Compare the prices and get back to the client and check in how they would want it. Make sure to secure the painting before shipping it, so it won’t get damaged in the process. After it arrived, ask the client if everything went smoothly.

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