Transporting Large Paintings

Large paintings can be extremely difficult to transport. If you absolutely must roll the painting, here are some guidelines:

  • Make sure the painting is thoroughly dry on the surface—at least two weeks.
  • Keep in mind that a young paint film is more pliable than an older, brittle paint layer.
  • Roll the painting face out.
  • Roll the painting on a large cardboard tube that’s 18-24 inches in diameter.
  • As you roll the painting, interleave a sheet of silicone release paper so the paint layer won’t stick to the back of the rolled canvas.
  • Put a bar through the center of the tube for handling&#$151;don’t lift the rolled canvas by handling the painted surface.
  • Finally, build a shipping crate with a cradle to support the bar through the center of the roller.

    Mark Gottsegen is an associate professor of art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and chair of ASTM International’s subcommittee on artist’s materials.

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