it's always a great feeling to sell a piece of art that you created. you've made something from nothing, expressed your inner blah blah blah and now someone's giving you money for it. if you're new or relatively new to shipping and selling art, you may, in your haste, give your new found windfall away by purchasing expensive shipping supplies. take a a deep breath, read this blog entry and then sit back and count your fat stacks!
first off, whats free?
as i've said before "cardboard is king", but it's not just for painting anymore. cardboard panels can be used to stiffen envelopes containing drawings and paintings on paper. they can keep the piece from bending and the corners from getting smashed. they can also be used to protect the front and back of canvases. cardboard boxes can be used to ship groups of pieces, books and sculptures. best of all they are everywhere! any restaurant or supermarket will be happy to give you as much cardboard as you can carry in your hot little hands!
-bubble mailers,packing peanuts and bubble wrap
if you are alive and a person, you probably either shop for things on line or know someone who does. chances are the things you buy arrive in bubble mailers, wrapped in bubble wrap or packed in styrofoam peanuts. these should never be thrown out, they can all be reused to protect your own shipments. plus you can walk around feeling like captain planet because you reused something one more time before it goes into a landfill. just remember to remove the addresses of other people that may be printed on any recycled shipping items.
-the humble plastic grocery bag
if you haven't gotten around to buying a tote bag for grocery shopping, you most likely have a drawer, a box or a bag full of these things. they work very well in lieu of packing peanuts [as does old newsprint, grocery circulars or old magazine pages] and can be used to take up the extra space in a box or fill the cavity of a canvas. they are light weight and take any shape.
-flat rate priority mail envelopes and boxes from the post office
depending on how much someone has payed for your art, you're going to want to insure and track the package. these costs can add up pretty quickly at the post office, but both come free [50$ insurance] when you ship "priority mail". if you're going to pay these costs you may as well get your shipping container for free. these boxes and envelopes come in all different sizes and can be ordered directly to your home by setting up an account at usps.com. using flat rate also lets you ship for one price regardless of the weight or how far the package is going [inside the US] check the website for dimensions and pricing details.
okay so whats cheap? really cheap...
what you couldn't find for free, you must now buy, but don't worry! just relax and drive to your nearest dollar store. infamous for selling cheap garbage, these chains are surprisingly well stocked with very decent shipping supplies [the chain in my area is 'dollar tree' but they are all pretty similar] here's a list of the dollar store supplies i use:
-brown kraft paper rolls [or white gift wrapping paper]
-packaging tape [try looking for this in the hardware section]
-6 count pack 9X12 kraft envelopes
-8 count pack of 4.5X6 kraft envelopes
-razor knives [for cutting cardboard...also in the hardware section]
-cheap pens or markers for addressing your packages
hope this helps everyone save a few bucks getting their art to its destination safely, and as cheaply as possible.