The horror stories of bronze sculptures being shipped and arriving broken into pieces are abundant. Imagine, you lovingly sent a sculpture to an art gallery in the UK for an exhibit and upon its arrival; you get a phone call that the corner of the sculpture has been chipped.
No point in yelling at the courier company because this is somewhat your fault too. Yes, the courier company didn’t do a good enough job in shipping the sculpture but something that you did not pay much attention to was its packaging. All that VAT and customs amount paid down the drain, moreover, the gallery can no longer display your artwork.
So, let’s talk about packaging:
A Few Points to Remember
- Customs in the UK require the wooden crate to be fumigated before it boards the ship
- Depending on the weight of your sculpture, select an appropriate crate that can handle it throughout the journey
- In some cases, where the bronze sculpture is small and lightweight, so much so that it can be easily picked up by hand, you can ship it in corrugated carton
- Secure the lid of the crate with stainless steel bolts instead of nails
5-Step Process for Packing Your Bronze Sculpture for Safe Shipping
Buy a crate that can be easily taken apart and is a tight fit for your sculpture. The first order of business is to construct supports for the base of the sculpture so that it does not slip and slide inside the crate.
Measure the base of the sculpture to create supports for it. Using block pieces of wood, construct two pockets on either side of the crate’s box. The pockets should be bolted to the base diagonally so that the sculpture can slide in easily.
Using either thin foam sheets or felt sheets, rap the bottom of the sculpture and slide it into the pockets. Make sure that the sculpture fits in snugly and doesn’t move from its place when shaken.
Wrap the visible area of the sculpture in bubble wrap and secure it with masking tape. Make sure that the tape does not touch the sculpture.
Construct the four sides of the crate and secure them with bolts. If you see empty space inside the box, fill it foam blocks. These foam blocks are a better alternative to packing peanuts because they don’t make a mess.
When shipping bronze sculptures abroad, remember, there’s going to be a massive change in the temperature. This can harm the metal and cause the color of the sculpture to fade away. While the bubble wrap will provide protection, you still need to take extra measures to make sure that the sculpture arrives safely at your destination. So, before bolting down the lid, drop a few packets of drying agent (calcium chloride) into the crate. Any water that might come into contact with the sculpture will be immediately absorbed by the drying agent.
If your sculpture is constructed of several pieces, then it is better to disassemble it and pack each part separately. Once packed, place them in the crate, in between foam blocks to prevent any shocks from damaging the pieces.
So, there you go… a safe way to pack and ship your bronze sculpture.