Preparing Artwork for Transportation with Custom Crates

Whether you’re a gallery owner looking to securely move a valuable collection, an artist shipping your works to a buyer, or the owner of some valuable art, the safe shipment of your artwork is of the utmost concern. In the world of art shipping, proper crating helps to make sure that your precious works of art reach their destination unscathed and ready to be appreciated. In this blog, we will help you understanding the art of safely shipping artwork with the right crating techniques to help you understand which methods might be best for shipping your art.

What are Custom Crates?

Custom crates are tailor-made containers designed to protect and secure cargo during transportation. These specialized crates are crafted to accommodate the specific size and fragility of the items they carry, offering a high level of protection and support. Unlike standard shipping containers, custom crates are created with a meticulous focus on the cargo’s individual requirements, which can include sensitive equipment, valuable artwork, or oddly-shaped machinery.

They are typically constructed from sturdy materials such as wood, plywood, or even metal, and they feature internal bracing, cushioning, and insulation to safeguard the cargo from shocks, vibrations, temperature fluctuations, and external elements. The versatility of custom crates allows them to play a crucial role in ensuring that unique, delicate, or oversized items are transported safely and arrive at their destination in pristine condition.

How are Custom Crates Made for Artwork?

Creating custom crates for artwork is a precise and meticulous process that prioritizes the safety and protection of these valuable pieces. Here’s an overview of how custom crates are typically made for artwork and the things you should consider whether you’re a logistics manager, an artist or a collector:


The safe shipping of artwork always should begin with a thorough assessment of the artwork to determine the needs of the crate. This includes measuring the dimensions, determining its fragility, and identifying any special handling requirements. Each piece of artwork is unique and the crate design should reflect its specific needs.

Material Selection:

The choice of materials used for crating artwork is critical. Custom crates for artwork are often constructed from high-quality plywood or solid wood, which offers stability and durability during transport. The choice of materials should be compatible with the artwork’s sensitivity to factors like temperature and humidity, especially if the shipment is taking place in the warmer months.

Design and Planning:

Custom crates are designed to accommodate specific dimensions and fragility; it should provide a snug fit while still allowing for easy and secure placement and removal. The design also considers factors such as ventilation, shock absorption, and anchoring mechanisms, as well as other accommodations that the specific type of artwork may need.

Internal Protection:

There are various protective elements added inside the crate, as well. Internal protections are selected based on the specific material of artwork but they may include foam padding, cushioning materials, and secure straps or supports to prevent the artwork from moving during transit. Custom foam inserts are often used to cradle the artwork and minimize the risk of damage to such a precious and delicate piece of cargo like artwork!

Ventilation and Climate Control:

Depending on the needs of the artwork, the crate design may incorporate ventilation holes or climate control measures to maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels for the artwork. This is especially important for sensitive pieces.

Sealing and Fastening:

Once the artwork is securely placed inside the crate, it should be sealed using high-quality fasteners, such as screws, bolts, or nails. The crate should be designed to be easily opened and resealed as needed.

Labeling and Documentation:

Proper labeling on the outside of the crate is crucial for identifying the contents and ensuring proper handling during transportation. Detailed documentation is also prepared to accompany the artwork, including handling instructions and condition reports to make for a smooth and easy hand off.

Quality Control:

Before the crate is used for shipping, a quality control check should be conducted to verify that all aspects of the crate meet the requirements for the specific artwork.

Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions about custom crating for artwork, contact us today and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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