Over the years, I have learned a lot about shipping my work, and I think it might be useful to others to share what I have learned.
Living in Alaska, I am always looking for the least expensive but safest method for shipping. Up here, the best bet is USPS priority mail with delivery confirmation. In the beginning, I tried to use USPS flat rate boxes if I could.The problem with a flat rate box is that it is not as sturdy as tube. And you will most likely have to fold your quilt.
After seeing my quilts hanging in shows with huge creases in them, I abandoned the flat rate USPS priority box system. I now use tubes or long card board boxes. The tubes are better because they are sturdier and last longer. But sometimes, all I have is a box. So, I will use it. Here is a box that has made only one round trip and is already looking very tired.
I iron my quilt–usually on the floor so that I can really make sure it is nice and flat. I make sure I have the hanging slats and hardware needed for the show exhibitors to hang my work. I label the hardware and the slats.
I wrap these items in brown packing paper. This protects the quilt from the hardware.
Next, I put the wrapped hanging materials on my quilt and roll everything up tight and smooth.
The final step is to wrap the quilt in a protective plastic material and tape it shut. I have been using the plastic that movers use to ship beds and sofas. You can find this plastic at a shipping store. It comes in an assortment of sizes. I buy the largest and cut it down to size. I also reuse these plastics if at all possible.
I then slide the quilt into the shipping tube. I put all the return shipping information in a properly labeled envelop and slide that into the tube next to the quilt. I tape the ends of the tube shut.
Finally, I label the tube. Ta Da. The quilt is now ready to ship!
Before I ship a quilt, I add the hanging sleeves. You can read about that system here.