Start by having the right supplies, by saving any clean supplies you might receive from other purchases, the key word is CLEAN! Don't re-use dirty or smoke smelling bubble wrap. Check to see if there are any nearby box outlet stores. The prices for bubble wrap and boxes can be very reasonable for their extra inventory and seconds.
- Have an area with packing supplies of crumpled newspaper, bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, plain paper, packing tape, masking tape, cardboard egg cartons, foam, sharpie and boxes.
- If you are sending a jar or vase, fill with peanuts, foam or tightly wadded paper. This helps it from collapsing on itself during shipping.
- If the jar is cold-painted wrap it in plain packing paper (to avoid ripping paint off with bubble wrap). Never use newspaper -- ink can stain the jar.
- Wrap lid and base separately in bubble wrap (large bubbles are best) and use masking tape to secure bubble wrap. For this process masking tape is cheaper and easier to both put on and remove than the sturdy shipping tape used on the outside of boxes. This is especially important if the breakable has tiny parts or is very fragile -- e.g. blown glass.
- Put each breakable piece into a separate small box or if that is not feasible, use pieces of cardboard to create a "box-like" enclosure.
- Fill space around piece with tightly crumpled newspaper or peanuts and seal with masking tape.
- Put both small boxes into larger box, fill empty space around boxes with more packing, such as crumpled newspapers, cardboard (clean!), Styrofoam pieces, peanuts, etc.
- There are other items that can be used for cushioning, including 2 liter plastic bottles (washed and cleaned) for stability and Styrofoam egg cartons cushioning the top or bottom of box. Rigid Styrofoam can also be wedged in for protection. Although it can save money, personally I prefer not to use these fillers. When opening boxes packed like this I've felt like I'm opening someone's box of trash.
- Put a piece of paper, index card, or receipt with recipient's address inside box -- although the address on the outside most likely will not be destroyed, you never know.
- Seal large box with heavy duty wrapping tape.
- Use black marker to put address on box, also mark fragile, this way up if applicable.
- Don't use flimsy or boxes that are too small. There should be at least 2" between the bubble wrap and the inside of the box. This air space should be tightly packed with crumpled newspaper or Styrofoam peanuts.
- Never use Styrofoam peanuts by themselves without inner boxes or lots of bubble wrap. They shift too much and the breakable can wind up near the outside of the box with just a little juggling.
- Don't even think of sending a jar or other breakables without protecting yourself and the seller with insurance.
- If you are using boxes from an outlet store's extra inventory -- be sure that it is not marked as something that cannot be shipped. E.g. flammables. Even if the item inside is completely different, this can cause problems and shippers will not accept the package. Take it from one who has experience with this.
What You Need
- Tape - Packing & Masking
- Permanent Marker
- Bubble Wrap with Big Bubbles
- Sturdy Clean Boxes
- Stryofoam Peanuts and Crumpled Packing Paper