This is surprisingly involved.
I haven’t done it long enough for it to be second nature (yet). But all steps are necessary:
1. Before painting - make sure the mat will fit round the painting without leaving gaps. It’s taken me five years to learn to do this (and much badgering from James). I have a set of paint stained mats in the studio for this specific purpose. Don’t use fresh ones - they’ll end up with paint on them. Also - use standard sizes. I used to think this didn’t matter and the painting would dictate what size it needed to be. I spent a lot of time and money buying custom mats. I was wrong.
2. Take a good photo of the painting before shipping. Not an iPhone photo. Use good lighting.
3. Flatten the painting. This involves placing the painting face down on a board, lightly spraying the back with water, covering the painting with a clean board and placing a heavy box on top. Leave for an hour or so until dry and flat.
4. Mount on foam core using linen hanging tape. Again using linen hanging tape hinge the mat on top. Keep checking throughout that the mat frames the painting correctly. Don’t use artist’s tape for this. It always comes off after a few months.
5. Sign the painting. I do this after the painting is sold and after the mat is in place. You don’t want the signature half hidden by the mat. We, of course, don’t have any paintings in this state in the house. Absolutely not.
6. Add sticker with website and name on the back of the foam core board.
7. Place in acetate sleeve. Add business card to front of sleeve.
8. Print address label. Try and remember which way the address label sheets go in the printer.
9. Print address label again - write note to self about which way round the address labels go in the printer. Promptly lose notes.
10. Place painting in double thickness corrugated cardboard surround. Use good quality packing tape on all edges. Double check tape is secure. Then triple check it.
11. Affix address label and large pink fragile sticker. Realize sadly that the fragile sticker probably makes no difference. Add another fragile sticker.
12. Weigh package.
13. Go to USPS website and print out shipping order.
14. Go to USPS office and hand the package and order sheets to the nice person behind the counter.
15. Leave and go and have a cup of coffee in the coffee shop over the road.
This takes longer than the actual painting. But all is necessary.