Quick Tutorial: Packaging Prints

As I’ve had my shop open longer and longer, I’ve experimented with a few different methods of shipping my prints.

I’ve tried using little foam packing sheets, bubble wrap, cardboard sheets – you name it, I’ve tried it!

My tried and true method of mailing somewhat fragile goods (like prints, notebooks, canvases, etc) has been a rigid mailer and cardboard sheets.

What You Need

  • your product of choice (preferably somewhat flat and not glass)
  • cellophane sleeve of appropriate size
  • tissue paper (optional)
  • twine or ribbon (optional)
  • tape
  • scissors
  • invoice
  • envelope for invoice
  • cardboard sheets
  • rigid mailer
  • stickers (optional)

Step 1: Cellophane

Wrapping your print or other paper goods product is probably one of the most important steps to packaging. This ensures that if any moisture were to come into contact with the package, the print inside would remain relatively unharmed. Some cellophane sleeves aren’t self-sealing, so be sure to order the type that has an adhesive strip.

Sometimes the sleeves are just the right size for the print, so if you are shipping an 8×10″ print and cut it yourself, you may need to cut just a tiny bit of extra off of the sides so that it will fit inside the sleeve without becoming distorted.

A good thing to be aware of is the adhesive side: you want to make sure that the print won’t be damaged if the customer has a difficult time opening the wrapping for whatever reason. It looks more “professional” for the adhered flap side to be toward the back of the print, but if the customer accidentally loses their grip on the product or the flap closes on them mid-unboxing, that adhesive could potentially get stuck to the front side of their print.

Try to package the product so that if this unlikely scenario were to happen, the adhesive would be stuck to the back side of the print and do very little damage. There are also sleeves available that have the adhesive on the body of the cellophane instead of on the flap.

(Optional) Step 2: Make It Pretty!

I love to add luxurious touches to my packaging. I think it’s expected of hand lettered goods, because it’s not a product that is a necessity. People buy calligraphed pieces because the products are pretty – I feel that the packaging should match what is inside.

I like to use tissue paper (because cheap) and twine for my packaging, but you can use whatever you think fits your brand best.

Step 3: Invoice/Envelope

I include an invoice in every package, unless my customer specifically requests that I leave prices out for gifting purposes. I also include a handwritten note right on the invoice, as well as my business card, which features a coupon code for a future purchase. Most people don’t end up using codes, but I like to send one just in case.

Step 4: Cardboard Sheets

I order all of my shipping supplies from either amazon or uline. I buy 11×14″ cardboard sheets, that way I can cut them down if I need them to be smaller. When I’m cutting for smaller items, I make sure to cut them so that the cardboard runs in two different directions and not parallel. You will see what I mean if you watch the video associated with this post.

I sandwich my print, tissue paper, etc, between two pieces of cardboard, which I then tape together with a little bit of wiggle room so that the twine doesn’t indent the piece.

Step 5: Rigid Mailer

After everything is together, I stick it in a rigid mailer. These are shipped First Class with tracking as they are very hard to bend. I print my labels from Etsy, but you can use whatever shipping method you like.

I also hand letter the customer’s name on the mailer and attach a customized shop sticker on the envelope flap. These are just some steps that I think personalize the product and make it look like it came from and individual shop and not from a warehouse somewhere.

That’s All, Folks!

I haven’t shipped a lot of larger prints, but I have had to make my own boxes for those a few times, so if you’d like a post on that topic, leave me a comment or send me a message. I can also do a separate post on shipping canvases, if there’s interest there.

See you next time!

Quick Tutorial: How I Package My Prints and Custom Notebooks

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