From Models to Foundries: 6 Tips for Shipping Sculptures

shipping sculpturesYou have to be particularly careful when shipping sculptures. This is true whether you’re shipping full size sculptures or scaled down plasticine maquettes. On top of shipping something that’s already fragile and built with fragile extensions, you also have to worry about temperature. Clay and plasticine can melt in the heat or become brittle in the cold. Even hitting a dip in the road can damage an armature’s connection to its base. In fact, it’s best to transfer models into plaster before shipping as a safeguard.

  1. One of the primary mistakes to avoid when shipping sculptures is how you pad a model. You ideally want it to avoid contact with any side of the crate it’s packed in. This is called floating. This means using padding, but some is better than others. The model shouldn’t rest against any surface while being transported.
  2. Bubble wrap, for instance, can require too much pressure to be effective, essentially re-texturing the surface in a way you don’t want. The best approach is actually to pack with the softest material closest to the model. From there, you can pack with stiffer or more resilient material as the padding moves further away from it in the crate.
  3. Staging boxes is a smart idea – essentially, your model can be held floating in an inner box. From there, this box can then be floated with padding inside a crate. This offers the most resiliency in terms of movement and handling.
  4. We also recommend the crate should either use skids or be secured to a shipping pallet. This allows a forklift to get under the crate more smoothly and with less jostling.
  5. Another idea is to use screws for securing the crate. Hammering nails will jostle what’s inside, whereas screws can screwed in smoothly and with minimal force being applied to the crate.
  6. Write “Top” on the top part of the crate. We make sure to keep track of these things, but all it takes is for the recipient or one handler to make a mistake. The simplest warning is still the written one. Do this regardless of whether you’re shipping full size sculptures or shipping maquettes.

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