How to Travel with Wet Paintings

Travel with wet paintings.

I’ll show you how to travel with wet paintings using only what you can find at a local market.

I went to Paris and painted three 12″x16″ canvases and needed a way to get the wet canvases on the flight back to Texas without ruining my hard work.

Separate the canvases

Without any kind of wet panel carrier, I needed to make due with what I could find at the local market. I ended up finding something to separate the canvases. I used earplugs, though something more rigid would have been better.

Find something small and hard, preferably flat, to separate the canvases, like a bottle cap. You’ll need to use your imagination here.

Place the canvases together with the wet sides facing each other. Make sure whatever you’re using the separate the canvases is secured in each corner. I taped an earplug to the corner of one canvas, then fitted the two canvases together, then put more tape around the corner. Buy lots of masking tape! Or whatever kind of tape you can find in stores.

I then wrapped up the little canvas package in string and newspaper and packed it in my carry-on rolling backpack. If you put it in checked luggage you may want to find some cardboard to put on either side of your taped-together-canvas package.

Taping together two paintings for travel.

Relax

Nothing you can do once your bags are packed but relax. I don’t have a photo of me on the plane back to Texas, but here I am relaxing (!) on a train. Don’t I look relaxed? If you’re interested you can read about the locations in Paris where I painted, including short videos.

On the train from Paris to Amsterdam.

Home with dry paintings!

Below you can see I’ve unwrapped the canvases. Notice the masking tape all the way around the edges of the canvases. This way nothing will get in there and mess up your wet paint.

I can see from those wads of tape that I used a lot of tape.

Unwrapping plein air paintings after shipping.

Very important – pack an even number of canvases. I only got three paintings finished but needed that fourth canvas to make my pairs. This was just dumb luck. I hadn’t thought of how to bring wet canvases home. I guess I thought there would be enough drying time after I completed the paintings but it didn’t work out that way.

Actually having that bare canvas below illustrates that no paint at all was transferred between paintings. You can see how I put tape over the earplug in each corner to hold it in place before I taped the panels together.

Traveling with wet paintings.

I hope you’ll find these tips useful next time you travel with wet paintings. Below is a short video of me painting along the Seine. Great memories.

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