swirling part ii

working on the last christmas order, two 8 x 10’s (unmatted) and one 12 x 18 of Central Park Lake – matted on 20 x 24 inch.  no doubt about it, the 20 x 24 mat is the hardest to package, esp. if I’m doing some that are going overseas.

the problem is that you obviously can’t roll it up in a tube (mats don’t take to that) you can’t just put it between two sheets of cardboard and put it in a kraft mailer (the thing will still bend) or the corners will get mashed up.  obviously, not always, but enough times so that i can’t take the chance.

i do have these corners for shipping that are variable width and can go on – but by themselves, the mat can still be bent.

sticking it in a cardboard box doesn’t protect it either.  so what i came up with is taking four pieces of 8 x 10 cardboard, folding them along the creases and giving very big corner and side protection to the mat.  (obviously time consuming). and then one more 16 x 20 piece of cardboard that goes at an angle so that the corners are sticking out and that prevents the mat from being bent, and also keeps the print centered in the mailer, so that the sides aren’t flush against the sides of the mailer.

this works.  but it is just a giant P.I.T.A. esp. if you’ve got a lot to do.

a solution would be a thin say 2 inch high box that was actually strong.  they measure these things in pounds.  i.e. this cardboard can support 250 pounds.  etc.  but i haven’t found boxes that are the right size that are made of esp. strong cardboard.

so that’s the one thing left in the packaging workflow that is still not solved for me.  now there are possible boxes that fold over etc. -and are flat – but they are so big (flat) that you can’t walk into the house if they’re in my usual place; and they need to be delivered by truck which is extra expensive.

The only thing I can think of is some sort of super cardboard that can’t easily be bent.  For example – I used to use the Fedex boxes and cut them up because they were much stronger than normal cardboard.  But that was just as big a PITA and looked un-professional.  alright – let me finish up this last order and then maybe i can put all your collective minds to the problem; or raise the price on the 20 x 24 mats so that it’s worth the effort.

yours sincerely,

the poor shlub (is that another great Yiddish word) in the packaging dept.

* * *

I just sent this email to a few possible suppliers:


I run a fine art photography site and am looking for the best packaging for 20 x 24 matted prints.  In other words, the outer dimensions are 20 x 24 inches, the height of a single mat is about 3/4 of an inch.

Sometimes I need to ship more than one matted print at a time; other times it’s just the one print.

What I do now is to put two pieces of 20 x 24 cardboard around the print, then put that into a very large kraft mailer and put corners on the sides of the mailer.  This isn’t enough protection.

If you have any products with extra strength cardboard, or the fold-over idea – whatever – it would be very useful to me.

For 16 x 20 and smaller mats, I put them between two sheets of cardboard, and put them sideways into a very large kraft mailer and fold the mailer over in half.  This works pretty well.

One other product that would be very useful – a shipping tube with a diameter of say 6 inches – but with a length of 20 inches at most.  Larger tubes are available and I use them for unmatted large prints.  But it would be great if there were shorter and wide tubes as well for smaller prints.

Any suggestions would be most welcome.

You can see my site below if it matters.


Dave Beckerman


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

2 thoughts on “swirling part ii”

  1. The whole issue of this seems to revolve around accomodating the mat, as you can easily use a shipping tube otherwise. What is the reasoning behind your decision to offer a matted print anyway (i.e. appearance, etc.)? Just curious.

  2. I’m on my way out right now – but I just want to say that that is a very good question – thinking outside the box (so to speak). I am going to have to give it serious thought because sans mats, this would all be a piece of cake. db

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