Introduction: Reusable Shipping Bags for Paintings and Framed Artworks

Picture of Reusable Shipping Bags for Paintings and Framed Artworks

Plastic sheeting, bubble wrap, cardboard and tape are expensive, wasteful, and take an extraordinary amount of prep time, not to mention storage space for the materials. These simple reusable bags have been tested coast to coast and can be customized to your needs with soft liners and colors. Here is the basic “budget” bag.

Step 1: Materials

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Heavy duty sewing machine, upholstery machine or machine with a walking foot. Straight stitch is fine. Walking foot attachments won’t cut it. Budget machines are sailrite.com and sewstrong.com.

#69 bonded nylon/polyester thread. You will need to lube the thread. Silicone works great.

House wrap- Tyvek or any brand, webbed or smooth.

Cotton or Nylon webbing for edges- surplus stores will have rolls for 17¢ foot).

Hook and loop fasteners- surplus stores and awning supply. 2” loop and 1” hook. The hook can be doubled for large bags, but not necessary for small bags.

Closed cell foam-.50” provides the best protection. Available from cardboard and shipping supply companies).

This bag will accommodate one 26 x 39" Frame, which is perfect for a 33 x 25”. Two smaller frames could slide into the bag face to face with a sheet of cardboard in between to protect the frames.

Step 2: Measure, Cut and Sew House Wrap and Webbing

Picture of Measure, Cut and Sew House Wrap and Webbing

Measure out the house wrap, double the length required for the front and back of the frame, plus extra for a flap. This flap is around 10” to span two framed artworks, hook and loop tab, plus compensation for interior size loss in bend due to the half inch closed cell foam inside.

The length of the wrap is 85” (front and back plus flap). The width is 64” folded over to make a tube or sack in which the closed cell foam slides inside. Cut the wrap, fold and sew webbing on one side. Let half of webbing hang off bag sides for final sewing ease. Use tape to hold materials in place for sewing. Measure the inner dimension (between webbing) at 31”, mark, tape and sew webbing. The completed bag width will measure around 29” between webbing, again due to loss.

Step 3: Close One End With Hook and Loop Strap and Webbing

Picture of Close One End With Hook and Loop Strap and Webbing

Close one end of this long bag with webbing (hand folded and sewn like binding). Sew hook strip below binding edge of webbing on outside of bag.

Step 4: Insert Foam and Sew Flap

Picture of Insert Foam and Sew Flap

Measure inner diameter of bag and length and subtract hook and loop tab sections from both ends. Cut closed cell foam and slide foam in. There should be around 2-3” of flap on open end of bag (no foam) to sew on loop strip with webbing folded over like binding. Sew loop and webbing to close bag. Be sure that loop strip and hook strip are sewn on opposite sides of bag.

Step 5: Sew Sides of Bag Together

Picture of Sew Sides of Bag Together

Connect the hook and loop tabs on outside of bag to form a tube. Flatten tube with hook and loop tabs 5” from fold, this will create the lid flap at the top of bag. Sew sides of bag together from the bottom of bag to the top of hook tab. Sew inside of webbing and outside for added strength. The sewn webbing forms a nice grabbing handle on sides of bag.

Step 6: Additional Hook and Loop for More Security

Picture of Additional Hook and Loop for More Security

Optional: measure the lid fold for additional hook and loop strips for complete closure of bag. Sew these four pieces on before sewing the bag together. For large bags, run a hook and loop flap along one side as well as top for easier access.

Comments

amberrayh (author)2015-04-20

That's an interesting idea. Do you have somewhere you are shipping that ships stuff back to you? Or do you just hope that whoever you send it to will reuse it?

Exhibitions with museums love these bags. They save time and materials for the return of works. Gallery exhibitions and art fairs either buy the bags to sell with the works or roll up the bags and ship them back.

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