Sunday, June 17, 2012

The art of packaging a print

After putting so much effort into my paintings and prints, I couldn't imagine sending them out into the world without first making certain they were appropriately dressed for the occasion. Here's what I normally do...

1. Corrugated cardboard.
2. Cello sleeve.
3. Cardboard mailer.

Before one even begins to think of making one's packages pretty, one must think of their safety. I use a cello sleeve to protect my prints from moisture and dirt. I collect boxes from my library and my friends to cut into sturdy cardboard inserts. And, I use a stiff cardboard mailer to wrap it all up. 

Prints are so much lovelier when they're not damaged! My print is signed, sealed, and ready to go...almost.
1. Ink
2. Stamp
3. A bit of pretty paper, as wide as your print, and folded in half.

I love the idea of making my packaging pretty. Presentation is key, is it not? But, I'm not wild about the idea of using up a ton of extra paper and other supplies that will likely be thrown out moments after my art reaches its destination. So, instead of stickers, I use a stamp. And, instead of wrapping my entire print, I use a small bit of paper for the top only.
 Not only does a fancy hat for my print use less resources while still being attractive, it doesn't cover up the artwork itself. I attach it with a small piece of double sided tape at the top of the sleeve and a staple on either side (far above the print! Do not staple your print!)
To decorate my envelopes, I use scraps of pretty paper left over from other projects and bits of kraft paper from gift bags and grocery bags, generously saved by my friends and family.

There are as many ways to decorate an envelope as there are artists to fill them. In my own packages, I try to balance my desire to give my patrons something beautiful and unique on their doorstep with my own concerns for time and material use. Also, it's fairly important that the Post Office is able to read where it's from and where it's going. Legibility is key. And, I try to not clutter up the envelope too much.

And, that's about it. I play with the design occasionally, trying to find ways to use less paper, or more recycled paper, to make it prettier, etc., but the basic idea remains the same.

If you have any awesome art print packaging ideas, I welcome you to share with the class! Post a link to your photo(s) or share your tips and tricks in the comments!


  1. wonderful to see how you go about this. thank you for sharing your method and great ideas. you print, packaging inside and out looks lovely. i can only imagine a happy customer!

  2. Thank you so much for this! It gives me plenty to think about. I'll let you know what I come up with. :) Thanks Charlie!!

  3. This is so beautiful and professional. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you very much for this helpful and well-written post. I love that you use minimum amounts of resources to maximum effect. A pleasure to read!

    May I ask where you source your cello bags and mailers from?


  5. Hi Rachel,
    I get my mailers from ULine and my cello sleeves from another Etsy shop called "Little Paper Things" (