|Print with giftwrap and Airmail packaging|
[Framed prints have cardboard corner protectors added to the corners of the frames, the glass is faced with cushion foam board, with each picture wrapped in bubblewrap, then encased in corrugated cardboard and then another final layer of bubblewrap.]
Why have we chosen to roll prints rather than send them flat? Long experience has taught us that a cylinder is stronger packaging. The downside of rolling prints can be mitigated but flat packages are more easily bent or folded by the courier which means we have to replace the damaged prints more often than the rare occasion one of 3mm wall thickness tubes are run over. Although it costs more to send (Airmail is calculated by weight) we use thicker and heavier tubes than those sold by some stationery companies as being suitable for posters or prints in stores (or in Post Shops for that matter). We like to say when asked about how strong our tubes are that they are the same type of tubes that were used to build Christchurch's famous cardboard cathedral!
|ChCh's transitional cathedral built with mailing tubes like ours!|
The second trick is to make prints easy to remove from the packaging. We wrap the roll of prints in acid free tissue paper - that way they slide out of the tube. Rolling a print or poster and dropping it into the tube without wrapping the prints means they spring open and line the inside of the cylinder. This makes them difficult to remove from the package unless you are very careful and have lots of practice at reaching into the tube, holding the inside corner of the prints very tightly and gently twisting the contents so they contract into a smaller roll inside the tube before sliding the prints out of the tube. This works but it's very easy to tear a corner off one of the prints if the wrong amount of pressure is applied, especially if the print is on a heavy but delicate cotton rag substrate.
One of the great things about our business is we are able to recycle nearly all our packaging for incoming prints from artists and publishers. We get some pretty crazy boxes and recycled oddments like downpipes (spouting) and once found an artist's child had stashed a pair of underpants in the tube when Dad wasn't looking! Most artists pack their prints with love as we will send back any prints that come in that have not been packaged to arrive in perfect condition.
The weirdest packaging for prints we have ever seen was when our sales manager purchased some exhibition posters designed by a well known NZ artist from the Auckland Art Gallery a few years ago. She asked them to please ship them down to NZ Fine Prints as there were too many to take back with her on the plane. The posters duly arrived in Christchurch a few days later a sad and crumpled mess. The shop assistant had rolled each poster into a plastic sleeve then popped them in a paper shopping bag with a courier ticket on the outside!