Whether buying or selling, doing business through the mail has always had its risks. These risks are all the larger when fragile items are involved. If you are new to this whole thing, and you would like to know a little bit more about how to ship fragile items safely, then this article is for you.
Here is the only problem: Shipping protection varies by the item, and it varies a lot. Still, you can get by with one simple rule: The more fragile the item, the more protection it requires. Here is a list of tips that will help you to protect those fragile items in transit.
Size Your Boxes Correctly
If you choose a box that is too large for your item, it will have too much room to move around and potentially break. When shipping multiple items in the same box, this factor is even more important. At the same time, you don’t want a box that is just barely big enough to cover the product, either.
First of all, you might want to include other things in the package (like a manual or some kind of an accessory). Secondly, that extra air space will help to protect the contents of the box from damage. There is no way to guarantee that your boxes won’t be dropped or knocked around at some point, so this is pretty important. As such, we would recommend that your boxes should be slightly larger than your product, with a margin somewhere between a quarter-inch and two inches.
Use Thicker Boxes
For most items, standard boxes will do the job. However, items that are made of glass, ceramic, or other breakable items need an extra layer of protection. That’s where you should consider spending the extra money on thicker boxes. Yes, they do cost more money, but they are also likely to save you money on refunds and returns.
Use Plenty of Padding
This is a well-known trick, so it might not come as a surprise to you. When shipping fragile items, you should wrap them in paper or cloth. Bubble wrap is ideal but might be too expensive for large-scale projects. The cheapest option is to use paper, but you will need to use plenty. Newspaper companies will normally have a lot of extra papers lying around, and they will usually give them away for free. Air pillows are another common option and are a little cheaper than bubble wrap because of the fact that they use less plastic.
Once you have wrapped the item itself, you will need to fill any extra space in the box with crumpled-up wads of paper. Using the paper in this way ensures that you won’t need to use an insane amount of paper, but don’t worry too much about that.
If you are dealing with a really fragile item, this approach may not be enough. For glass panes and other extremely fragile items, you should use enough bubble wrap to fill all the extra space in the package, and you might want to use a little bit more than two inches. For some extremely fragile items, you will need to brace them in the package with very little air space, but we will come back to that topic.
Make Sure The Package Is Clearly Marked
The number one danger to your fragile package would have to be the people who move it around. Anytime your package is handled, there is the chance that it could be dropped or otherwise mishandled. As we said before, there is no way to completely remove this risk.
However, you can minimize this risk a little bit by making sure that your package is clearly marked as “fragile.” Get some big, colorful magic markers and write “fragile” on every side of the box. You want to grab the attention of anyone handling this package so that they understand the need for extra caution.
If you are shipping an item that has real dangers, you definitely need to make sure that it is labeled appropriately. Two examples would be biohazard materials or potentially toxic chemicals. Chemical products, in general, require more precise labeling, particularly if they are in a liquid form. That’s because they can leak and react with other products to produce toxic gases, fire, or even an explosion.
Stabilize The Item Properly
Another big danger to your fragile package is the natural jostling that occurs when an item is transported by truck or plane. Both trucks and planes will experience a certain amount of turbulence/vibration, and this can cause a problem over the long haul.
Thankfully, it isn’t that hard to deal with this danger. All you have to do is brace the item in such a way that it cannot move. For instance, panes of glass are usually transported in a cardboard frame that fits snugly into the box, making it impossible for them to move at all.
Use Duct Tape
Some people will disagree with this assessment, but fragile items tend to be expensive items, and we think strong tape is worth the extra money. Besides, you can get the inexpensive off-brand duct tape because it will still be a lot stronger than standard packing tape. If you think about it, a few strips of tape are the only things that hold most boxes together. That’s why fragile items should be held together with the strongest tape you can get.
Duct tape was created for the military during World War 2, so its durability can be trusted. A single strand with no support can hold 20-40 pounds, and it resists moisture far better than packing tape, which tends to lose most of its adhesion with the slightest wetness.
If the article above has taught you anything, it should have taught you that shipping fragile items is a relatively simple matter. By taking a few simple precautions, you can greatly limit the risk of breakage, and these precautions are neither difficult nor expensive. If you have found our work to be helpful, you can help to support it by filling out the contact form below.