Tips on Packaging Fragile Items for Worldwide Shipping

Swaddle the baby!

Wow, they bought that ancient dust-covered knick-knack from Gramma’s china chest. But (your knees are knocking in terror) they live a billion miles away. How are you going to get it to them in ONE piece?

Stop being afraid. ANYTHING can be packaged securely. It’s true. You just need the right tools. Patience. And a few tips.

I have been packaging and shipping fragile items for many years. With 100% success. And you can, too.

Think of your item as a baby. Think in terms of wrapping your item, swaddling it just as you would swaddle a baby in a blanket. Here’s how.

1) Keep the correct supplies on hand. You will need the following:

Clear packing tape (wide – NOT narrow)
Packing tape dispenser
Styrofoam peanuts (the pink NON-static ones are great but the white will do)
Sheets of bubble wrap (the smaller bubbles NOT the big ones)
Hint: Bubble wrap can be purchased on large rolls with perforations. You can pull off 12 inch X 12 inch sheets as needed just by ripping. Very convenient.
Clean white tissue paper (avoid heavier newsprint paper as it increases weight and cost)
Thin pieces of cardboard (like you’d find inside a new shirt)
Zip-Lock bags (a variety of sizes)
Good cardboard boxes (you can recycle these boxes by turning them inside out)
Mailing labels
Black felt pen

2. Examine your item carefully. Look for thin areas like arms, beaks, noses…anything which could snap in transit. Cut thin strips of tissue or bubble wrap and wrap the area (like a mummy). You are attempting to make the fragile area flush with the rest of the piece. Tape the wrap tightly in place. Do NOT put tape directly on your item. Keep the tape on your wrapping ONLY.

3. Now wrap the entire piece neatly in 2 thicknesses of clean tissue paper. Wrap snugly like swaddling a baby. Use tape to secure the tissue.

4. Now use another sheet of bubble wrap and swaddle the tissue-wrapped piece. Tape in place.

5. Choose a strong box (it must be larger all the way round than your wrapped piece). Add some styrofoam peanuts. Now place your well-wrapped fragile item on top of the peanuts. (There should be space all the way around the item for more peanuts.) Spill more peanuts around the sides and on the top.

(If you are concerned about the strength of your box…simply shore it up by either adding sheets of bubble wrap or thin cardboard around the sides. This is usually not necessary if you are using a good box.)

(Very VERY fragile pieces shipping overseas should be packed in TWO boxes. Pack the first box as described above and then pack the packed box into a second box with styrofoam peanuts all the way around…bottom, top and sides. This is very secure. I have shipped vintage porcelain all over the world this way with complete success.)

6. Remember to enclose your paperwork at this time (eBay purchase records, etc.). Be sure NOT to place these across the top of the box as they will get cut by anyone using a box cutter to open the box. Slip the papers down one edge instead.

7. If customs must see your paperwork, you must enclose the paperwork in an envelope on the outside of the box but this is not usually necessary for small-time shippers.

8. Close the box flaps and do this test…push down on the flaps. Do they easily push in? If so, you have not put in enough styrofoam peants. Open the box and add more. When pushed down, the flaps should remain solid but not bulging. Once the flaps are flat and solid, begin sealing your box with the packing tape. (HINT: Make certain your box is not bulging…keep it square…remove some packing if your box is not sitting square. A square box ships better inside a rectangular truck.)

9. TAPE it up. This is not a time to save money. Tape in one direction making sure that one tape end always meets on top of another tape end because tape sticks well to tape, not cardboard. Now, tape in the other direction making a neat intersection of tape.

10. HINT: If you are shipping to areas like the Southern United States, do your buyer a favor and put your item into a sealed ZipLock bag after wrapping it like a mummy and before putting it into the box. If the box gets wet, the item will stay dry. Do the same with your enclosed paperwork. Your buyer residing in hurricane county will appreciate that.

11. Have you used a recycled box? Be sure to remove any old UPC codes, addresses, phone number, etc. I use a wide nib black felt pen to obliterate anything I don’t want a shipper to see.

12. Label clearly with a large well-printed white label. Hand printing or computer printing is fine as long as the words are large and legible. Apply the label to your box and then take your packing tape and securely cover the label. If your package runs into a rain shower, your label will be wearing its packing tape raincoat.

13. Keep one area in your office or home for packing. Keep it all set up with your tools and supplies. You will find your packing will go very quickly when you are all set up to go.

Reference: click here.

COURIER-MESSENGER INC. – (661) 257-8689 – BIG OR SMALL, WE SHIP IT ALL!

This entry was posted in CMI, How to and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply