What To Expect If You Opt To Roll Your Canvas Artwork For Lower Cost Shipping

In the case of large acrylic paintings on canvas, there is often the option to remove the canvas from the frame and roll it for shipping. For large canvases, this usually significantly lowers the costs of shipping.

How I package rolled canvases

I package rolled canvases very carefully between layers of glassine paper, bubble wrap, and robust tubes.

In the case of a very large canvas, I suspend the inner tube around which the artwork is rolled inside the outer tube, so that there’s no pressure on any side of the artwork.

Pros and cons of rolling canvases for shipping

While the savings on shipping costs are significant when you opt for a rolled canvas, there are other factors that you’ll need to take into account to be sure that this is the way you want to go.

  • With a rolled canvas you’ll be responsible for the risks and costs of getting the canvas re-stretched onto a frame locally, so it’s worth making sure that you have a framer who can stretch your canvas for a fee that you’re happy with. In my experience though, most professional art framers will stretch canvases for a relatively low cost.
  • I do not varnish rolled canvases because the varnish dries harder than acrylic and then we’d have a risk that the artwork’s surface might crack when we roll it. So if you’d like to finish your acrylic painting with a coat of varnish, ask your framer for this service too. Please don’t try to varnish the art yourself! It’s a trickier business than most people realise.

I will also supply you with care instructions to reduce any risks of handling your rolled canvas, and to pass on to your framer so that they have everything they need to know for the purposes of stretching and varnishing your artwork.

Rolling isn’t always possible or advisable

Rolling my magazine paper cutting artworks is not a possibility because they’re created on wood panels. Also, since there’s no cost saving for rolling small artworks for shipping, I never roll small artworks. And depending on the artwork, it’s not always advisable to roll a large canvas, so if you’re buying a large artwork I’ll let you know what I think is possible and best for shipping that specific artwork.

Image above: Trust Whatyouknow (120cm x 150cm, Acrylic paint on canvas), safely shipped to the USA as a rolled canvas, now ready for stretching and framing!