In the past I have usually limited my shipments of artwork overseas to works on paper due to the cost of safely sending works on wood panels (or stretched canvases).
To package them well enough to avoid any possible damage usually meant they would be quite heavy and therefore prohibitively expensive.(The amount of money needed for shipment would buy a very nice frame for a work on paper….with money left over!)
However, using lightweight insulation foam sheets has proven to be a very strong, cost effective, & light alternative. I recently sent works on wood panel (they are often referred to as cradle panels here in Canada) to the U.K. and to Germany quite easily.
I cut pieces of the foam to fit inside the crossbars on the back (this can be done with works on canvas too for added protection). I wrapped the whole piece in glassine paper so that nothing could come in contact with the oil and cold wax surface.
I then wrapped the whole thing in heavy plastic to create a barrier for any potential water or moisture & taped it shut with packing tape.
At this point you can wrap in bubble wrap but I felt that enclosing it completely in insulation was enough (I wanted the foam to sit snuggly around the wood panel)
I then cut strips of foam to fit all around the edges and secured them with packing tape.
I positioned the artwork on one side of the insulation foam (which is cut larger than the artwork) and secured it well so the artwork cant slide around. Then the other piece of foam is laid on the other side and taped all around.
Cardboard corners keep everything fitting tightly together and then the whole thing is put inside a cardboard box (I make my own if I cant get the exact size I need pre-made….I want a very snug fit with no room for anything to slide)
Then the cardboard box is taped well with packing tape.
This piece that I shipped to the UK was 30″x40″ and 1 1/2″ thick….it only weighed 14 lbs after being packaged up.
Now i should mention that when it comes to shipping costs……size matters!
This piece wasn’t exactly ‘cheap’ to send from Canada to England because the overall dimensions were quite big, but still much less expensive than using a fine art shipper who would crate the piece (there can be issues with using wood as a packing material these days as well).
Off to FedEx International!