We artists fully understand the word “schlepping” as we carry our paintings from one venue to another. Most painting carriers are too stiff or just don’t work for us for a number of different reasons.
Carrying our paintings is often a challenge because it is not easy to transport our treasures and to do so carefully. Our paintings are fragile and easily damaged.
When I carry my paintings in for a delivery at a show or a gallery, artists often ask me about my painting carrier – “Where did you get this?” “Can I take a photo?” “I want to make one.”
Where did I get the idea for these bags? Curiosity it one of my life’s values. Throughout my life I have always scanned my world. Often I come upon images, objects, books, articles, etc., that catch my eye and I integrate them into my life or I share them with others. In this case, my beloved, late mother-in-law found something for me. She showed me a painting carrier that a small country library – Rolling Prairie Libraries – in central Illinois used. Back in the 1980’s this library loaned out framed prints to their patrons. She wondered if I would like to have some of their painting carriers as they were no longer offering this service. I grabbed them happily.
They are made out of a light canvas and were getting dirty the more I used them. I also wanted different sizes. Below you can see several in my storage bin. These are of various lengths and depths though this is not obvious in the photo.
My favorite and most frequently used carrying case is 28″deep x 36″ wide. I use a sturdy rain repellent fabric. Black and blue nylon fabric are my most commonly used fabrics.
Directions for Sewing Your Painting Carrier:
1. Cut out a piece of medium weight sturdy fabric approximately 56″ long by 36″.
2. With a contrasting marker, indicate the center of the fabric on the shorter ends.
3. Now make a pattern for the handle hole. Match up to the center of your fabric with the pattern and cut out the horse shoe shape. You will do this at both of the short ends of fabric.
5. Fold the fabric in half, (outside side folded inside). Sew up the sides of the painting carrier starting from the bottom. STOP within 8″-10″ from the top edge. Double stitch this seam.
6. Reverse your carrier – it will be like an envelope. Finish the edges up to the top of the fabric with more bias tape. The photo shows you this finished edge.
7. Optional: Sew 1/2″ Velcro up the open edges.
8. To make the slot for the doll rods, fold the top edge over about 1 and half inches. Sew across the top of your carrier. I usually use a zig-zag stitch and do it twice.
9. Sew up one end of the slot for the doll rod.
10. Insert your 1/2″ diameter dowel rods that are 35″ long (1″ shorter than the finished length). Hand stitch the open end. (Trust me, leaving this open will be a real hassle and safety pins don’t work either!)
OPTIONS: As you can see in this carrying case above, I have sewed a 2″ wide nylon black webbing all away around the bag and then added Velcro. These straps must be sewed on BEFORE sewing up the sides.
Below you can see another version of my painting carriers. Here I sewed a facing for the handle hole as well as added a Velcro tab. (Click the image to see a larger view.)
Extra layer of fabric has been sewn at the bottom of the carrier. If you want this extra protection, sew this in FIRST before doing anything else. It is sewed on the inside and is about 8″ wide.
Obviously, there are several variations on how to create these flexible and easy to use painting carriers. My life is a whole lot easier because of these painting carriers. Enjoy!
Finally, I insert two pieces of cardboard as you can see in the photo up above. This gives the painting carrier some body as well as providing your painting extra protection.
When using these bags I ALWAYS cover my painting with a plastic bag (see below). I have learned the hard way that pulling the framed or unframed painting in and out will rub the corners and paint may come off.
Please share this article to others that may benefit.