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Rolling Acrylic Paintings for Shipping or Storage

25 thoughts on “Rolling Acrylic Paintings for Shipping or Storage”

  1. Thanks for your help,Scott. Very informative. Imam not shipping right now and need to store 30 5×7”. Acrylic paintings. You helped me through. The isolation layer and varnishing process a couple of weeks ago.

    In my search at various stores ie container store, staples, michaels,etc. Imcame up,with a very Saturday “shirt box” with a cove. I have built ridges on the sides to form slots…for lack of a better word out of foam core. Ues, very time-consuming 🙄. anyway, it works and only about 1/8 “ of the edges of the painting slightly touch the foam core. I think it’s is pretty genius if I do say so myself.I haven’t been able to,find anything online like it. so my question for you is…..do you know of a product like I have built? Or am I heading for a patent? 😂

    • Hi Vic,

      We aren’t sure which particular effect you are referring to, but if you mean one of the ferrotyped surfaces, then it certainly could be possible to use one of these surface changed effects in a focused and intentional way. In fact, there is a technique where you can heat up a glossy acrylic surface with a hair dryer, making it softer and tackier for the purpose of adhering paper or other thin collage elements. The bubble wrap effect could backfire as if it sticks really well, it will tear into lots of little stuck pieces when you try to pull it off. If there is another effect you are interested in, just let us know!

  2. Thank you for the article is an interesting approach that certainly limits impacting the canvas. The outter rectangular box will have to be strong enough to take an impact at its weakest point i.e. the middle. A second larger heavy duty tube suspended around the 10″ tube migh mitigate that. Alternatively a plywood crate should withtstand any hard knocks.

    However…Step 4 though is confusing me – when you say “…Painting roll is covered with plastic sheet but plastic is not contacting any surface of the canvas…” – how is this possible?. The painting having been rolled facing outwards will have a certain amount of painted canvas exposed. How can this be covered by a plastic sheet without contacting the surface of the canvas?

    • Hi Thomas,

      You are most welcome. And you are right, the outer box will need to be strong. Well built wood crates will be best for both rolled paintings and of course stretched paintings. In the past, we have recommended placing rolled and packaged paintings inside a second tube, and that tube can simply be the final container. And I am sure there is a way to suspend the inner tube inside the larger outer tube to create a similar situation. The answer to your question about how the plastic sheeting is not contacting any surface on the painting, is that the painting is covered with silicone release paper or film and the back of the canvas has the thin foam, so the plastic sheeting does not touch any part of the canvas or painted surface. We mention this under “Method”, # 2.

    • Hi Heidi,

      It is certainly possible that this method could be helpful if the work needed to be transported on an airplane, but we do not have any testing to offer any guarantees. We can tell you that vibrations from transport can cause some issues with stretched paintings, so a very carefully rolled, thinly painted acrylic painting, might be better off than a stretched on, in this case. The other potential issue with air transport is the possible cold temperatures in the cargo hold. Acrylic is thermo plastic and gets hard and brittle when cold, so movement presents a problem. Again, a carefully rolled painting might fare better. This is all assuming the crate is not dropped or shocked in some way during transit.

  3. I am getting very information from this valuable post. it is a very helpful post about Rolling Acrylic Paintings for Shipping or Storage. I was wondering, however, if this is a method you would recommend in transporting a painting via Construction Hoist Lift?

    • Hi Joan,

      We are happy that our article has been helpful for you. It is very hard to comment on the use of a “construction hoist lift” in moving a painting, as this method holds quite a lot of unknown variables in terms of potential sudden movement or shock. All we can say is that assuming the process is gentle and there is no sudden shock to the carefully rolled and crated painting, it could, in theory, work.

  4. Hello,
    Thank you for your detailed instructions on how to transport acrylic artwork safely! I was hoping you could post a link to a silicone release paper in particular that you prefer to use.
    Thank you so much!

  5. thank you for the info! im new to the site and am going thru articles and man you guys kick ass!
    question, i wrap my stretched canvases in glassine paper. along with stapling works that are not stretched on top of one another on my studio wall. I only staple the top portions of the canvas and in between those works i add a sheet of glassine paper. i havent attempted to unwrap the stretched works in glassine but my concern is should i be using something else to preserve my works? i’m not shipping them, merely wrapping them for storage to minimize dust buildup.

    • Hello Ramiro,

      You are most welcome and thanks so much for your kind compliment! As you see in the article, glassine did not perform as well as silicone release paper or polyethylene plastic sheeting, in terms of potential sticking, so if you need to wrap acrylic paintings then its best to either use polyethylene plastic sheeting ( 4 mil ) or silicone release paper. The Poly plastic sheeting is easily available in hardware stores in large rolls and may be the simplest way to go. But, again, as the article discusses, there is nothing that can stop imprinting if there is enough pressure over time. Any material will imprint its surface onto an acrylic film if pressed to the surface long enough. And of course, warmer temperatures increases the potential. For stretched works I would recommend loosely wrapping in polyethylene plastic sheeting. You can use cardboard corners to enable the plastic to be spaced from the paint surface. This is one of the positive aspects of having frames of some kind on paintings, that extend a bit beyond the painted surface, as then there will be a space between each painting when placed one in front of another in your storage racks. I have many works on canvas that I also store stapled to a studio wall so I completely understand this. What I can tell you is that with enough paintings stacked this way, the weight eventually compresses the paintings and I have seen sticking and ferrotyping over time, especially with the paintings at the bottom. I have not been using anything in-between, but again, polyethylene plastic sheeting is probably easiest and best, other than silicone release paper. A lot also depends on how thick the acrylic paint is, how glossy it is, the temperature, and the number of paintings hung this way. I hope this helps!

  6. It’s good to know that it can be rolled easily at warm temperatures. My brother was telling me last night about how he is needing to get some mailing tubes to ship his art that he sells to customers, and he was wondering how he can roll his acrylic paintings. I’ll make sure to pass these tips along to him once he finds some mailing tubes to ship his art in.

    • Hi Kate,

      Please keep in mind that the bottom line in this article is that we do not recommend rolling acrylic paintings, due to the high potential for some level of damage to the acrylic surface. There are some exceptions with very thinly painted matte acrylic surfaces perhaps, or purely stained acrylic paintings, but otherwise, there can be no guarantee that there will not be some sticking of packing materials or imprinting or ferrotyping. The somewhat complex method I describe for packing a rolled acrylic painting with padding and with the roll suspended inside the container apparently has worked for the artist who designed the method, but again, variables in the painted surfaces of acrylic paintings can produce other results.

  7. Thank you for sharing this information about rolling acrylic paintings for shipping or storage. It was useful and interesting. You indeed have written it in a layman way so that anyone can understand and work accordingly. You have done a great job… Great post!!

    • You are most welcome! Thanks for your kind comment and compliment. If you have any questions that we can help you with, don’t hesitate to contact us at Help@goldenpaints.com, or call us at 607-847-6154 or
      Toll-free (USA only): 800-959-6543.

  8. Hello,

    Very helpful article, thank you! I am curious on your suggestions on shipping an acrylic painting with glossy varnish, on panel/canvas with no frame. I’ve encountered issues with glassine getting stuck to the surface (easily removed), as well as bubble imprinting through when using tyvek. As it is impossible to not cover the surface, I was curious to see if you had any suggestions?

    Thank you!


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