So, you need to ship something fragile. Maybe it’s a wine glass or a piece of artwork you bought while on vacation. Whatever the case, if you’re worried about your item breaking or being damaged in the shipping process, you’re not alone. Shipping fragile items can be nerve-wracking, but fear not! We’re here to help. We’ve all heard the golden rule of real estate: “Location, location, location.” Well, we came up with a little golden rule of our own when it comes to shipping glass & fragile items: “Pack, pack, pack!”
Here’s the bottom line: when shipping fragile items, the key is to pack the item with as much protection as possible. Follow the steps we’ve listed below and you won’t go wrong!
Step 1: Get the Necessary Supplies
First thing’s first: start by using a new box. New boxes are more able to withstand the pressures of shipping, handling, and all the potential bumps along the way.
Choosing the correct box size is critical. You’ll need to make sure your item fits inside the box without too much wasted space—allow for only about 1-2 inches of space around the item. For instance, if you’re shipping a wine glass, DON’T go and buy a 3 foot by 3 foot box. Makes sense, right?
Once you’ve got your box, stock up on plenty of packing materials like packing peanuts, bubble wrap, foam sheets, and air pillows. You’ll need them for protecting those fragile items.
Learn more about your various options when it comes to packing material.
Step 2: Pack, Pack, Pack!
Once you’ve got your box and your packing supplies, it’s time to pack, pack, pack! Here’s what to do:
- Line the bottom of the box with a couple of inches of packing peanuts, and lay bubble wrap on top of the peanuts to create a cushion. This gives the bottom of the box a safe base. If your item is on the heavier side, it never hurts to add more layers on the bottom to create an even stronger base.
- Using bubble wrap, wrap each item completely. Don’t be stingy! As a rule of thumb, you’ve used enough bubble wrap when you can’t feel the item or see its color. Any glass plates or artwork frames should be covered with foam sheets.
- Place any large items on the bottom of the box. Then, cover those items in a layer of peanuts and bubble wrap before you add in any smaller items.
- Make sure the item is facing the right way. Some items do better when upright, and some do better sideways. Every item is different, but common sense usually prevails.
- Once the box is filled, add some more peanuts, foam sheets, or air pillows on top to fill any extra void.
- Seal the box along all open areas with at least two layers of heavy duty packing tape, and mark “Fragile” on the box. If one particular side needs to be kept facing up, be sure to also mark that on the box with an arrow pointing in the right direction. This information lets handlers know how to treat your package.
Pro Tip: When shipping fragile items, more is more! It never hurts to add extra packing for extra protection.
Step 3: Shipping
When you’re ready to ship, choose a carrier with a good track record and an easy claim process (so you can be compensated in case anything bad happens…knock on wood). All of the major carriers deal with tons of fragile items on a daily basis, but if your item is over $100 in value, we recommend that you purchase extra shipping insurance just in case. If the item is really valuable, we suggest purchasing insurance from a third-party insurance provider (available through most shipping software options).
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
Pack, pack, pack! Packing fragile items correctly is the best way to protect them from breaking or being damaged. If you want to take it a step further, purchasing shipping insurance with your carrier or through a third-party insurance provider is another way to safeguard against any accidents. Before shipping fragile items, let the wise words of Ice Cube be a reminder: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself!”