Bubble wrap is easily one of the handiest materials on the planet. Not only does it serve as the single best method of padding a fragile item, but it also serves as a fun and satisfying method of stress relief. However, we are not here to talk about how much fun it is to pop and twist a piece of bubble wrap. Instead, we want to focus on more practical concerns. Today, we will give you a full guide to the use of bubble wrap for packaging purposes.
Why Use Bubble Wrap?
There are quite a few reasons to choose bubble wrap over the other options. To illustrate the difference, let’s think about some of your other options. You can use styrofoam, airbags, foam, or even newspaper to wrap fragile items for shipment. While these options might work, all of them have certain drawbacks that bubble wrap does not have. Let’s look at these alternatives one by one and discuss why they are inferior to bubble wrap.
Styrofoam was once the go-to material for padded packaging but has fallen out of favor in recent years. This is mostly due to the fact that it isn’t environmentally friendly at all. Some say that it will take millions of years for styrofoam to break down in a landfill. Admittedly, no one knows if these figures are true (because that would require immortality or a time machine). Still, we can see that styrofoam will definitely take a long time to decompose.
When we say “airbags,” we are not talking about those in your vehicle. We are talking about those little air-filled, balloon-like packages that are often found boxed with fragile items. Indeed, these are very similar to bubble wrap because they use a cushion of air to pad the item. However, there is one big issue: These things are so big and bulky that many packages just don’t have room for them. Also, their large size will normally prevent you from using them on all sides. Even if you get smaller bags, they will not provide the same level of padding as a sheet of bubble wrap.
Foam is a great option, and it’s the only alternative that comes close to bubble wrap in terms of effectiveness. Like bubble wrap, foam padding has a lot of “give,” meaning that it’s soft enough to conform to the shape of the item. Not only does this cushion the impact, but it also prevents movement. The only problem with foam padding is the fact that it’s generally a lot more expensive than bubble wrap.
Finally, we come to the last-ditch option. It is common for people to wrap their breakables in newspapers before a move, and this isn’t a bad practice. However, You should remember that the newspaper is much too thin to provide adequate padding for long journeys or rough trips. This stuff is only good because it keeps breakable items from hitting each other, which does reduce the chance of breakage. Still, it cannot hold a candle to bubble wrap in terms of protection offered.
The Importance Of Weight
With all this talk about the advantages of bubble wrap, we should not neglect to mention one of the most important factors. Bubble wrap is extremely light, as most of its mass consists of air. Airbags will also have this advantage, as very few things are lighter than air. For those who are shipping their products over long distances, this is a major advantage. Shipping costs are usually calculated based on the weight of the total package, so anything that keeps it light is bound to save you some money in the long run.
How To Use Bubble Wrap
Using bubble wrap is quite simple and easy. There are a couple of things that you need to know, but none of them are particularly difficult to understand. For one thing, you need to understand that a piece of bubble wrap has two sides. One of these sides is more or less flat, while the other will be studded with bubbles.
Because the bubbles are the most important part of the wrap, they need to be placed against the item in question. Otherwise, you are reducing the level of shock that the item can withstand. Also, when the bubbles are on the outside of the product, that means they are right next to the outer layer of the package. As such, the bubbles might be popped as the package is handled, greatly reducing the amount of protection.
There is another reason that you always put the bubbled side against the item. Although our primary purpose here is to prevent breakage from impact, there are other dangers as well. If an item is not properly secured in place, it can roll and jump around during transit. Needless to say, this can result in breakage, especially if it’s banging against other items in the same box. Because the bubbled side has a textured surface, it will provide better grip and traction, which should reduce the ability of the item to move.
The Basic Method
The simplest way to wrap an item with bubble wrap is to lay down a sheet and roll it up tightly. Use a large flat surface like a kitchen table or a hard floor. Lay the sheet with the bubbled side up, and place the product in the center or at one end. Now, you just need to cover the item, and there is more than one correct method.
You can do this by folding the bubble wrap from both sides (if your item is placed in the center), or you can use the “burrito method.” To do it like this, just place the item at one end of the bubbled sheet and roll it up from one end. Once you have it started, make another fold on each side to keep the ends from being open. From there, all you have to do is keep rolling until you have a nice and tightly-rolled package.
Look For The Most Sensitive Area
Some items can throw you a little bit of a curveball when it comes to proper wrapping. If their shape is odd or irregular, you might have a harder time with the “roll-up” method described above. Depending on the shape of the item, some areas might need more than one layer.
For instance, let’s say you are getting ready to ship a set of wine glasses. Obviously, these are fragile enough items to require some extra precautions. However, it’s not enough to simply realize that fact. You need to identify the weakest point of the item so that it can be padded even more.
For a wine glass, the weakest point is obviously the stem. We can tell that because it is the thinnest part, and so it will require multiple layers. Start by wrapping a small piece of bubble wrap around the stem, and then tape it in place. After that, you can add an outer layer of bubble wrap to safeguard the rest of the glass. Be sure to tuck that top portion into the glass so that it’s well-padded on all sides.
Bubble Wrap Can Be Combined With Paper
Since we mentioned the use of wrapping paper earlier, we should tell you that you don’t necessarily have to choose between the two. Bubble wrap can be used in combination with wrapping paper to provide multiple layers of protection. The wrapping paper may not be all that strong, but it still provides an extra layer of protection.
If you have an item that has a hollow spot, it might be better to fill that hollow with wadded-up paper. Sure, you could use a piece of bubble wrap for that purpose, but the paper is going to be much cheaper. As an example, let’s think about those wine glasses again. When packaging an item of this type, you might see fit to use paper wads inside the glass. By filling this space, you create one less possibility for breakage.
Choose The Right Kind Of Bubble Wrap
You might be surprised to learn that there are multiple types of bubble wrap. Yes, most bubble wrap falls under the category of “standard,” and that’s why you might have never seen the other kinds. When wrapping a fragile item, it is essential to know about the different kinds of bubble wrap and choose an option accordingly.
For instance, some bubble wrap has extra-large bubbles, and some bubble wrap has extra-small bubbles. These different types exist because of the varying needs of users. In general, this is a decision in which you will weigh the factor of space against the factor of protection.
Bubble wrap with extra-large bubbles does provide superior protection, and that much is obvious. To understand why that is the case, just compare a small pillow with a large pillow. Obviously, the large pillow provides better padding. However, you may not have enough room in your container to use extra-large bubble wrap. Also, this kind of wrap is slightly heavier, but it’s probably not enough to raise your shipping costs more than a few cents.
Some bubble wrap is backed with foam, and this stuff is a little more expensive. Still, it’s well worth the extra money for items that are both fragile and expensive. As you might guess, this is just a type of bubble wrap that is backed with foam, giving it even more impact absorption than before. When you need to be absolutely sure, this kind of bubble wrap is a good way to go.
Finally, we should mention anti-static bubble wrap, which is very important for those who want to ship electronics. Whether its a phone, a computer, a tablet, or just a small MP3 player, static electricity can be a little bit of a problem.
You’ve probably had the experience of getting shocked with static electricity, so you probably know that it isn’t dangerous to human life. However, a strong static charge can knock many electronics out of commission. Because of this, you should always use anti-static bubble wrap for electronic devices. It is usually pink in color, making it easy to distinguish from standard bubble wrap.
Because bubble wrap is not a particularly complicated subject, you should now have a good understanding of how it works. After reading this article, you will know everything that a person needs to know about this type of product. If you would like to know more, we invite you to fill out the contact form so that we can contact you with even more useful information.