mail art cheaplyAs you probably know, the costs of shipping art can get quite costly depending on how its shipped and where.

Artists have asked me this question several times:

How can paintings be shipped through the postal service, especially to international locations, at as less of a price as possible?


Here are a few basic tips from myself.

If you use the post office often, please share your own advice with other artists…

Pay attention to weight and size

A while ago, I shared some tips on shipping at through the mail safely and securely: How to Ship and Package Artwork Safely

Using these tips will ensure the package is as low in dimensions and weight as possible. There is no need of fitting a small painting in a large box.


Call your local post office

This question can be answered much better and accurately by someone working at your local postal service. Rates will certainly vary depending on where you live.


Visit the websites of the major postal services.

Go there to compare rates for different packages. They can also offer you the convenience of printing packaging labels.


Ask for advice from other artists who ship art to international locations.

The best advice can come from other artists who are kind enough to share their advice to other artists.



artpromotivate-emailIf you ship artwork using postal services, please share your advice and feedback.

davidson-paintingSend your comment to artpromotivate at gmail dot com. Please include your name and website, along with an artwork of yours. These will be published along with your advice.


Your Advice!!

I like to make most of my paintings on unstretched canvas's, they are easier to store and cheaper to ship, and the post office will give you free triangle boxes for shipping.

FEDEX office sells inexpensive art boxes...but I ship with USPS… it's cheaper!
Doug Noble

Unconventional Guide to Art & MoneyThere is really no easy solution to getting around pricey shipping rates, except to ship in the smallest package that you can, yet still protecting the work, and using the lightest materials you can to work on. Canvas, paper, etc. Masonite gets heavy and pricey. Frames are out, as are pieces behind glass. I find a lot of people don't want the hassle of having to mount and stretch canvas, so I send it on already stretched. The bottom line is this. Just cover yourself, and make sure you add on appropriate postage. If it cost $24 to ship, add it. Don't try to marginalize on this. Its your art and your profits. Don't lose it on your shipping expenses. Get it back. Every other company and business does.
Russ Potak

“It all depends on .. yes where and how.. ? And of course remember if it is framed or not? Unframed is best. If you can, you can go on line and check the sizes.. weight is a factor, but size and how it is boxed plays a big part. If something is shipped in a certain style box and it fits those sizes that the USPO love to see, you've got it made. It the shape is not well loved, it is going to cost..and of course, almost all paintings are large flats that they hate dealing with, so your going to pay. If it can be rolled and shipped in a tube, your one more step to bringing the price down just a little. I just shipped a bike tire, flat. I paid almost 30 bucks.. If I had put it in a large box..wasting a lot of space, I could have shipped it for half that amount..

They want you to make it easy for them to handle and pack all there boxes in one certain way.. if it is not going to fit into that, you'll pay.. Weight is nothing to be concerned about, shape of box is. Unframed will work. Framed is a pain in every sense. Double wrap everything. Use small bobble wrap, over top of that add large bobble wrap. I wish I could think of more.. also.. add this to your selling .. shipping is not cheap any longer..

Velvet Tetrault Floral Egypt UrnNot to forget, check with UPS and FedX as well.. at times these can be even cheaper.. The post office is no longer the only way to ship .. UPS most often deals with weight for the most part, that is how you can save.”

David Spence (via Linkedin)



I have compared USPS and FedEx prices for shipping my artwork. I have found that FedEx is much more economical. In addition, if over a certain size, usps is unable to ship the artwork at all. FedEx also has the added benefit of packing the artwork for me, although I have chosen to do my own packing. The shipping cost for FedEx is based on size and weight. My shipments cost extra because I sandwich my canvases between two sheets of luan, which triples the inside weight. One thing to watch out for is the calculation of size. Judging the size by just the size of the canvas is misleading because the packaging adds a good number of inches to the overall dimensions.  Velvet Tetrault


  1. I like the idea of using unstretched canvases, especially for overseas mailings. For U.S ad Canada, I use one of those "Pack and Ship" franchises. They are convenient. I can get estimated shipping costs ahead of time so I can invoice the customer. They wrap them safely because they are liable. They like my repeat business and are very helpful.

  2. If you work with FeEx, only work with their Express service. Not Ground!

  3. For USA and Canada, I work with FedEx Express. Never FedEx Ground!


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