How We Ship Delicate Structures Safely and Efficiently

A Murano glass sculpture of a tortoise

Recently, a customer asked us to ship a Murano glass sculpture of a tortoise from New Jersey to Florida. This task posed different challenges than packing for shipment of framed artwork, which we do more frequently. But we were able to successfully complete the request without issue. Here’s a breakdown of how we were able to make this happen:

The Challenge of Shipping this Item

When it comes to framed artwork, the frame acts a significant layer of protection for the art within.  Plus, framed art doesn’t tend to weigh very much. This glass sculpture, on the other hand, was frameless and thoroughly exposed. Additionally, it was fragile, and, at 16 pounds, it was heavy.

So, how were we going to get it safely from New Jersey to Florida via common carrier without damage? We knew we had to cushion the piece, insulate it from excessive vibration, and support it across its entire surface. The tortoise’s four flippers and extended neck and head were all at different levels than its body.

Side angle of tortoise sculpture

How We Made It Happen

We decided to use high-density upholstery foam blocks and then carved out the form of the tortoise’s body, fins, neck, and head. We treated the tortoise as two units, a top half, and a bottom half. We used one five-inch-thick foam block to form the top of the tortoise – its shell, neck, and head. Once completed, half of the sculpture was encased in foam. Next, we used a second five-inch foam block and carved it to fit the bottom of the tortoise’s body and flippers.

A tortoise shape in foam shipping block The tortoise sculpture in the foam shipping block Tortoise sculpture sitting in a foam block view from above

After the carving was completed, the tortoise rested in-between the two foam forms. We left five inches of foam beyond the sculpture horizontally. In an effort to increase security, we added five-inch blocks above and below the sculpture, swaddling it in form-fitting foam. This meant there was six inches of foam above and below the glass. The entire package weighed 22 pounds with the tortoise inside.

The density of the foam eliminated the need for a wooden crate. Instead, we encapsulated the foam with corrugated cardboard. We added rope handles for easy toting. We added orientation signs on the box and included specific instructions for opening the box. The tortoise arrived in perfect condition and now calls Florida home.

The box which contains the tortoise sculpture If you need a delicate structure shipped a long distance, trust the experts at LA Frame. Contact us today to learn more!