Category: Resources

World’s Top Schools for Studying Arts

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Founded 1698, Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts is divided into the Institute of Fine Arts (including the departments of abstract painting, art and digital media, art and photography, arts and research, conceptual art, contextual painting, expanded pictorial space, figurative painting, graphic arts and printmaking techniques, object sculpture, performative art-sculpture, video and video installation and textual sculpture), Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies, Institution for Conservation and Restoration, Institute for Natural Sciences and Technologies in Art, Institute for Secondary School Teaching Degrees (in craft, design and textiles) and the Institute for Art and Architecture.

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Yale School of Art
Yale School of Art is rated the best in the United States for its Master of Fine Arts program as of 2013. Established in 1869, the Yale School of Art is one of the 12 constituent schools of Yale University. It grants a Masters of Fine Arts degree to those who have completed their studies in graphic design, painting or printmaking, photography or sculpture. Yale offers courses in all of these four interrelated fields.

Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, Italy
Located in Florence, Tuscany, the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (“Academy of Fine Arts of Florence”) was founded by Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, Michelangelo and Giorgio Vasari in 1563. Originally, the Academy’s members were the eminent artistic personalities of Cosimo Medici’s court, supervising artistic production in the area. In 1784, all the schools of drawing in Florence were combined into one single institution, known as the Accademia di Belle Arti from then onwards. Since 1783, the Accademia Gallery has housed the original David by Michelangelo.

Royal Academy Schools, England
The Royal Academy Schools form the oldest art school in Britain and the only institution to offer a three-year post-graduate art course. They offer an unparalleled opportunity for students to develop their work over a three year postgraduate programme. The Academy provides free tuition to its students, contributed by Members of the Royal Academy. Disciplines such as painting, sculpture, print, installation, time-based media and digital media are taught.

École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, France
Founded in 1648 by Charles Le Brun, The École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts is is the distinguished National School of Fine Arts in Paris, France. Studies at the school include painting, installation, graphic arts, photography, sculpture, digital media and video. Additional theoretical courses are supported by technical training and access to technical facilitiesThe collection of the school includes around 450,000 items, containing artwork and historical books.

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Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece
Established in 1837, The Athens School of Fine Arts is Greece’s premier art school whose main objective is to develop the artistic talents of its students. As of 1840, the program for fine arts included painting, sculpture, architecture, lithography, woodcut, geometry and cartography. In 1910, the faculty was made independent of the National Technical University. This was also the year in which women were first allowed to study at the School of Fine Arts.

Image source: www. wikipedia.com

Tips in Painting on Large Canvases

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The Spoliarium by Juan Luna, 1884. It measures 4.22 meters x 7.675 meters.

Many artists dream of painting on a bigger canvas. If you have an idea or inspiration that cannot be captured on standard size canvases, going big is your way to go. However, if you’ve never painted on a large canvas, you can be intimidated and overwhelmed with the thought of creating big-scale art. Here are some tips that can help you overcome your fears on painting big.

Tip #1. Gradually paint on bigger canvases. Help your mind, eyes, and hands to adjust painting on a large canvas. Every couple of weeks or so, try to paint on a canvas which is bigger than the previous one you used. This practice will help you get comfortable and get used to painting big. With a small canvas, you’re working on a limited space so the details are smaller, lines are finer, and you finish quicker than painting on large-scale canvases so, you may have to practice your brush strokes little by little until you reach your desired canvas size. Learn from your mistakes and correct them along the way. Don’t be in a rush to work on a large canvas.

Tip #2. Know the scale of the painting. Are you using a big canvas to fill it with small details of a complex subject (e.g. historical event) or are you painting a big-scale of a small subject (e.g. portrait, nature). Find the balance among the subject, the size of the canvas, and your painting style. Remember, just because the painting is bigger, doesn’t mean it’s better than ordinary size painting. Some subjects are perfect for larger canvases while some are best with small canvases.

Tip #3. Use bigger brushes. Bigger brushes will help you finish the painting faster. You can cover larger areas of the canvas and you can loosen up a bit when painting, like a child painting freely on the wall. Stand back from the canvas and see if you’re on the right track.  You can still use small brushes, though, if you’re more comfortable with them and if the style of your painting requires them.

Tip #4. Divide the canvas into sections. Working on a big painting can be overwhelming. Using your sketch as guide, try to divide the canvas into sections and do one section at a time until you finish the whole painting. You can also try breaking down the elements of the painting and before you know it, you’re on your last brush strokes in this painting.

Tip #5. Be patient. Since you’re painting on a large canvas, naturally, it will take more time to finish and to dry, so be patient. If you’re an artist who get bored easily or can’t delay gratification, then creating large-scale paintings is not for you.

Image source: www.wikipedia.org

Famous Abstract Paintings

Abstract paintings are in its purest form and have no identifiable object. It is a visual language that awakens emotions, imagination that feeds the soul. Many famous abstract artists expressed themselves through abstract paintings which paved their way to fame. Through the years, they have different painting techniques and styles that created a whole new world for fine arts. Here are some of the most famous paintings that changed the whole perception of abstract art.

“Composition VIII” (1923) –Composition VIII by Wassily Kandinsky is small oil on canvas painting dating from 1923. This geometric composition communicates to the world through the use of shapes, colors, and lines. It is currently in the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

“Black Square” (1915) – “Black Square” is the first “suprematist” work of Malevich. Black Square against white background became the symbol, the basic element in the system of the art of suprematism, the step into the new art. The painting is the ultimate picture of pure abstraction. The artist himself created several variants of the Black Square. All four are different not only the sequence and year of creation, but also the color, design and texture.

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Black Square
Kazimir Malevich
Image source: http://www.hermitagemuseum.org

 

“Number 1” (1948) – Jackson shows how much paint can be “unrestricted, unexpected, uncontrolled” as we see it poured onto a canvas making lines that are assertive, and we also see a complexity of shapes, globs, pools of paint layered one on top of another. Paintings like this are unique because the artist’s actions, strengths, and energy could be reflected in the art.

“Dantrolene” (1994)– This painting is one of the most famous contemporary abstract paintings that could surpass a lot of present art available for sale. Painted by Damien Hirst, the viewers are amazed by the pigments portrayed in the painting. They will search for deeper images that their minds are forced to create. In the end, endless emotions and assumptions will be extrapolated from this painting.

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“Dantrolene”
by Damien Hirst
Image source: http://www.mutualart.com

“Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” (1907) – The painting made by Pablo Picasso depicts four women in a brothel that are not fully abstracted. Each figure is depicted in a disconcerting confrontational manner and none are conventionally feminine. This lack of abstraction does not reason the paintings’ exclusion from the list of the most famous abstract paintings.

“Woman I” (1950) – De Kooning described the figurative motif of this painting not as a representation but as a thing slapped on the canvas, liberating him from formal anxieties. The main attraction of the work is the painful and angry image of an abstracted woman, hence the title of the painting. This “woman” is exaggeratedly, absurdly physical and at the same time not there at all, a spewed monster of fantasy, a crude graffito that took two anguished years to paint.

Dutch Master Rembrandt and His Most Famous Works

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Today is Rembrandt’s 407th birthday!

Born Rembrant Harmenszoon van Rijn in 1606, he is the most celebrated Dutch artist and is considered as one of the greatest painters in European art history. Most of his masterpieces are self-portraits, portraits of other artists, and depictions of religious and historical themes. Art experts claim that Rembrandt was able to create more than 600 paintings, 400 etchings, and 2,000 drawings, but these figures are not certain.

Here are some of Rembrandt’s most famous works:

The Return of the Prodigal Son. This is an oil on canvas painting finished circa 1669. It is one of Rembrandt’s final works. The Return of the Prodigal Son depicts a parable from the Bible about a prodigal son returning to his father after wasting his inheritance. In the painting, you’ll notice the ragged state of the son’s clothing, kneeling and repentant in front of his father who was garbed in rich clothing. The expressive lighting and coloring in the painting effectively evoke repentance, compassion, and forgiveness.

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. Rembrandt was commissioned to paint this group portrait, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. The painting portrays a group of surgeons, surrounding a table while studying a corpse. Specialists have commended Rembrandt for the accuracy of the muscles and tendons of the corpse’ dissected arm. Rembrandt was 26 when he created this painting. The painting is displayed in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, c. 1669.
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, c. 1669.

Danaë. Rembrandt portrayed Danaë, the mother of Perseus in Greek mythology. The 1636 painting shows his interpretation of the myth where Danaë waits for Zeus who impregnated her. It is a life-size painting, measuring 185 cm × 203 cm. Danaë is housed in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Jacob de Gheyn III. Jacob de Gheyn III is a portrait of one of Rembrandt’s contemporaries who was a Dutch Golden engraver. The painting measures 29.9 x 24.9 centimeters and because of its small size, it has been stolen four times since 1966. It is called “takeaway Rembrandt” due to the numerous theft incidents, the most recorded of any painting.

Belshazzar’s Feast. Belshazzar’s Feast is a 1635 painting portraying the Biblical story of Belshazzar and the writing on the wall. The setting is at a banquet wherein the characters show alarm, surprise, and amazement as they look at the handwriting on the wall. Rembrandt effectively used the technique called Chiaroscuro, wherein he manipulated light and shadow to give contrast and create volume and give a three-dimensional effect on objects.

The Night Watch. The Night Watch is the best known painting housed in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The painting was commissioned by Captain Frans Banning Cocq who was one of the main characters in the artwork. It is widely known for its size (11.91 ft × 14.34 ft), effective use of Chiaroscuro, and perception of motion.

Image source: www.wikipedia.org

Types of Stretcher Bars

Stretcher bars play a major role in the appearance of a canvas artwork or Giclee printing. The quality of wood and the structure of the stretcher are the key to easy stretching which produces a better print quality and longer life for a canvas. It is also important that you choose the right stretcher for your canvas depending on the type of canvas you will use, the size of your artwork and weight and texture of the weave of the canvas. The following are the types of stretcher bars and their uses.

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Medium/Standard Duty
Medium duty stretcher bars are the standard stretcher bars with raised and rounded edges which significantly reduce the friction of stretching. It provides a tighter and more even canvas face. It also reduces the stress placed on the canvas and the person doing the stretching, as pliers lever the canvas around the frame.

Light Duty
Light duty stretcher bars are great for those smaller paintings or giclee prints that will be framed or won’t benefit from a thicker bar. They have a beaded (rounded) edge that holds the canvas and flat part of the bar slightly apart. The rounded edge greatly relieves the stress on the canvas and person framing. A tighter, more uniform stretch is the result of this feature because the canvas flows around the smooth edge.

Medium/Heavy Duty- Goldilocks
Goldilocks medium or heavy duty stretcher bar is an expensive option because it is in demand for those who require a substantial side profile for their valuable art work. It adds to the intrinsic value of the art without having to spend more. This stretcher profile is frequently used for the stretching of giclee and other prints.

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Heavy Duty-Midi
Heavy duty Midi bars offer you an exceptional quality at a very reasonable price. Like all other gallery wrap stretcher bars, their edges are created to impart a smoother stretching with less resistance. These light-weight bars are also perfect for reducing the overall weight of the frame. Straight-grained and lightweight these bars are perfect for also reducing the overall weight of the frame.

Super Heavy Duty
The super heavy duty gallery wrap stretcher bars are known for their impressive mass as well as strength. It is very useful when you have to stretch that large canvases and paintings. It is also ideal for smaller frame applications where very high tension is required. They are usually made with a brace at the back for added strength.

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Buy Fine Art From Amazon…Soon

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Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is discussing plans with about 100 art galleries in the US of selling fine art online. The e-tail giant plans to create another part in its site where it will offer unique paintings, prints, and other fine art pieces. Amazon has already organized cocktail receptions in Seattle, and other big art cities including New York and San Francisco, inviting galleries to join the plan.

According to WSJ, Amazon will charge the art galleries a monthly membership fee of $100 and will get a commission of 5-20%, depending on the sold artwork. Higher-prices pieces would be subject to lower commission rates. The membership fee would be waived for art houses which would partner with Amazon in selling high-end art until 2015. Amazon will be using a retail model, which means each artwork has a fixed price, unlike art auction houses where the highest bidder gets the art.

Online selling of fine art is a double-edged sword. Amazon’s plan is a great way for art galleries to reach more people. Art lovers outside the city such as New York would be able to buy great art without traveling to the city. At the comfort of their homes or offices, people can easily buy art, even without visiting the actual art gallery. However, a drawback of this plan is that people may be hesitant to buying expensive paintings without seeing the actual painting. Most likely, art buyers won’t pay six- or even seven-figures for something that they only see online. Unlike buying a book or a gadget online, serious art collectors would naturally want to see the artworks personally.

High-end online auctioneers such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s said there is a growing market for expensive art over the Internet. Sotheby’s BidNow program was able to sell a 16th century portrait of Giovanni Gaddi for $2 million in 2012. Christie’s have been accepting online bids since 2007. It revealed that 27% of its auction sales ($6.2 billion) last year came from online bidding and regular auctions. Christie’s was able to sell Edward Hopper’s oil on canvas painting entitled “October on the Cape” to an online bidder for $9.6 million.

As of now we’re not sure if Amazon’s plan to sell high-end art will come to fruition. In 1999, Amazon forged a partnership with Sotheby’s to sell fine art but it lasted for 16 months only because the jointly operated auction site, Sothebys.Amazon.com, failed to gain traction. Also, there are many online art galleries offering a wide range of art from numerous artists that already have established markets and loyal clientele.

Image source: www.gizmodo.com

How Stretcher Bars Are Made

www.canvaslot.com
www.canvaslot.com

A stretcher bar is a wooden frame that is used as wooden framework support (usually made from pine) on which an artist fastens a piece of canvas. It provides a steady tension to the canvas and gets the canvas artwork very flat and taut on the frame base, and thus makes it ready to be placed in a picture frame or to simply hang it as is. A stretcher can be bought ready-made as four parts that you just fit together, or you can just buy a pre-stretched canvas at canvaslot.com or you can just do it yourself. Here’s how.

Materials:
• 1×2 inches (2.5-by-5.1 cm) wood (4 pieces)
• Hand saw or power tools
• Miter block
• Staple gun
• quarter-round trim (4 pieces)
• Pencil
• Hammer
• Headless nails (not longer than the width of your quarter-round and 1×2 inch wood combined)

Step 1– Choose the type of wood you want to use. The sides should measure 1 by 2 inches (2.5 by 5.1 cm). Measure the wood according to the desired dimensions then cut with a forty-five degree angle at each end. You can use a miter box to make good, equal, 45 degree cuts at each end so that the wood fits together properly at the corners.

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Step 2– Bring together the edges of the cut wood on a flat surface and use powered staple gun to secure the corners by placing 3 staples over the line where the corners come together. Staple the rest of the corners and do this on both front and back of the joints to make the entire frame become very strong and rigid.

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Step 3– Cut the trim pieces with whatever tool you used on the other pieces of wood. Place one flat side of the quarter-round against the stretcher bars, and the other flat side facing outward. The curved edge of the quarter-rounds should be facing inward toward the center of the frame. The purpose of the quarter-round pieces is to raise the canvas off of the stretcher bars. To secure the trims to the frame, nail them with headless nails. Do this by spacing the nails at 4-inch (10.2-cm) intervals to keep it solidly in place.

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When the entire frame is finished, it’s time to start stretching the canvas. By stretching your own canvas, you can not only save money, but get something you’re willing to experiment on. You also get a canvas that’s exactly the size you’re after.

Image source: www.younghouselove.com

Types of Painting Easels: An Introduction

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A-frame easel

Dictionary.com defines easel as “a stand or frame for supporting or displaying at an angle an artist’s canvas.” Easels are usually made of wood, steel, or aluminum and are available in different designs. Here are the different types of easels in the market:

1. A-frame or Lyre easel. The A-frame easel has a tripod design, meaning, two legs in front and one in the back. It provides a strong base  for your painting and it’s small size makes it easy to move and store in your studio. The legs are collapsible so you can just fold the legs and keep it in your storage when you’re done painting. If you have a small space, an A-frame easel is perfect since it will not crowd your studio. A-frame easels can hold small size canvases up to 75″ canvases.

2. H-frame easel. As the name suggests, an H-frame easel looks like the letter “H.” It has parallel vertical posts and a horizontal crossbar support. It gives sturdier support compared to A-frame easel but it’s quite bulky. An H-frame easel can hold bigger canvases, up to 84″-96″.

3. Single mast easel. The single mast easel is the simplest type of easel. It doesn’t offer the same support as the A-frame and H-frame easels but because of its affordability, many art students and beginners opt to use it. It occupies less space (great for small apartments and school studios), is collapsible, and easy to store.

4. Giant easel. The giant easel is made for artists doing large-scale paintings. It can handle canvases taller than 8 ft so naturally, this easel is stronger and sturdier. Due to its weight, transporting a giant easel is not easy. If you are consistently working on large-scale paintings, use a giant easel but make sure that you have a dedicated studio where you can use and store it.

5. Convertible easel. The convertible easel, also called hybrid easel, is the most versatile among all other easels. You can position your canvas horizontally or vertically, depending on the surface needed by the medium you’re using. This easel can accommodate the needs of painters using oil, acrylics, watercolor, and pastels. If you’re an artist who uses several media, the convertible easel is best for you.

6. Table top easel. The table top easel can be placed on a table and allows the artist to sit while painting. It is great for those who work on small-scale paintings and those who have limited space in their room or studio. It is portable and stores easily.

7. Plein air easel. The plein air easel is the easel that you can use outdoors. It has tripod legs and can have drawers and shelf to hold your painting supplies and materials. It can hold canvases up to 45″-78″ high.

8. Bench easel. The bench easel combines an easel and a bench. The design allows you to sit while painting. It is collapsible so you can bring it anywhere. It is great for plein air artists, art teachers, or for those giving demonstrations.

9. Display easel. The display easel is not for painting, just for displaying paintings only. It is made of lighter material so it cannot hold heavy artworks. Use the display easel when you are having an art show or any event where you need to showcase your work.

10. Children’s easel. The children’s easel is created for kids. It is adjustable and most designs have two sides, allowing a couple of children to work on their paintings.  It offers built-in storage where children can keep their art supplies.

Image source: www.wikipedia.org

Top 5 Art Podcasts Worth Following

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If you want to learn more about art, whether in techniques or managing an art business, try listening to podcasts. A podcast is a type of digital media consisting a series of audio files on lectures, interviews, discussions on a variety of subjects. To listen, you have to subscribe to a podcast and download it to your computer or any digital device.  Podcasts are in .mp3 format so you can play it in any media player.

A podcast is a great way of expanding your knowledge in art, know about famous artists, influential persons in the art industry, or simply just being productive even during your idle time since you can listen to a podcast wherever you are. When you’re preparing your canvas for your next project, tidying up your studio, or on your way to your shop, podcast can be a great companion. With lots of podcasts out there, here is a list of 5 art podcasts which you can subscribe to:

1. National Gallery of Art. Currently, this audio series offers more than 300 lectures about the arts and events at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. You can listen to one of the best museum lectures and talks of well-known artists and other personalities in the art world, and learn about the different art movements. Art students, art beginners, and art lovers will enjoy listening to lectures such as The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series, Conversations with Artists Series, and Elson Lecture Series.

2. MoMA Talks: Conversations. This podcast is created by the Museum of Modern Art. There are more than a hundred of lectures from curators, scholars, and artists discussing modern and contemporary art. You can listen to readings, courses, and workshops that educate about contemporary art.

3. National Gallery Podcast. The National Gallery in London produces monthly podcasts that explore what happens behind the scenes in the Gallery. They announce upcoming art exhibitions and events, and interviews of people in the art scene. Currently, they have 80 episodes, the latest of which discusses the link between music and Dutch art.

4. SFMOMA Artcast. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is devoted to contemporary and modern art. Its podcast is called “artcast” which gives subscribes interviews with artists, curators, and visitors about the museum’s different exhibitions and collection of modern art. SFMOMA Artcast is produced on a monthly basis.

5.The MAN Podcast. The Modern Art Notes Podcast is a weekly podcast on artists, curators, art historians, and authors. Learn about art exhibitions and collections from contemporary artists including Kerry James Marshall, Joyce Pensato, and Kaz Oshiro.

There are many art podcasts available in the Internet. Listen to some and find what suits your style, interests, and needs.

Image source: www.apple.com

Guidelines for Artists in Packaging Paintings for Shipment

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Transporting artworks is part of an artist’s life. If you have an out-of-town exhibition or seminar, running an art business, or selling and collecting paintings, shipping paintings is very important. Shipping paintings can be a bit risky. Paintings are delicate and you must take utmost care in packaging, and handling them.

Here are some guidelines to help you in packaging paintings. Note that, despite best efforts, there are still some uncontrollable factors such as bad weather, untrained art handlers, rough roads, etc. that could damage your paintings while in transit. These guidelines will help you send your paintings safely and lessen the damage (if any).

 

Before shipping
1. Assess your shipping needs. Know the size, medium, and condition of the painting. Fragile, old, or antiquated paintings will be more damaged when shipped so it’s better to transport paintings which are less fragile. But, if you really need to ship a painting that is fragile, you have to take a different approach in packing and shipping it.

2. Consider the distance the painting has to travel. The farther the painting has to move, the more vulnerable to damage it gets. When the painting has to be shipped in great distances, remember that many handlers will be in between Point A to B.

3. Decide which transportation is best to use in moving your painting. Can you move your painting by hand, by car, by truck, or by plane?

4. If you will need a shipping company, search for a trustworthy company and determine the policies, restrictions, and cost of their service.

Packaging
Packaging your painting by yourself can save you money, if done correctly and with the right supplies. Here are the steps:

1. Make sure you have these packing supplies on hand, especially if you’re running an art business.

  • Boxes
  • Palette tape & wrap
  • Cardboard pads
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing tape
  • “Fragile” stickers

2. Measure the dimensions of the painting. Give a 2″ allowance all around the piece which will serve as a buffer against the outside world.

3. Starting from the back of the canvas, wrap the palette wrap tightly around the painting and cover the entire surface.

4. Cut small slits on the plastic at the back of the painting to let the piece “breathe.”

5. Put the cardboard padding on the table. Place the painting on top of the cardboard padding and measure the width and depth of the painting. Double these measurements and add few more inches if you want and mark these on the cardboard.

6. Cut the cardboard using the measurements. Create a second box using the cardboard padding. Put the painting inside and secure the box with the packing tape.

7. Tightly wrap the bubble wrap around the second box. Tip: Put another layer of bubble wrap on the edges of the box as extra cushion since the edges of the painting or the frame are more prone to damage when shipping.

8. Put the bubble-wrapped second box into the outer box. Fill any spaces with additional bubble wrap. If there are a lot of extra spaces, you can opt to cut the outer box to fit the second box.