Table of Contents » Chapter 8 : Shipping Work » Chapter 8 : Official Process Of Packing Fragile Materials

Chapter 8 : Official Process Of Packing Fragile Materials

Kyle Carpenter casually transporting his work to the kiln

FedEx Guidelines for Pottery, Glassware, Furniture, Computers, Eyeglasses, Electronics

Basic Box-In-Box Packing Method

  • Wrap product(s) individually with at least 2 inches’ thickness of Bubble Wrap® or foam material to fit snugly inside a corrugated box.
  • Use a second, outer container that is at least 6 inches longer, wider, and deeper than the inner box.
  • Fill the bottom of the outer box with 2 to 3 inches of cushioning material.
  • Place the inner box in the center of the outer box on top of the cushioning material.
  • Fill voids on all sides with more cushioning material.
  • Seal box.

Box-In-Box Packing Method for Delicate or Thin Parts

  • Wrap product(s) individually with Bubble Wrap® and snugly fit inside the smaller box.
  • Restrict product movement inside the box using filler like crumpled newspapers, Bubble Wrap®, or loose-fill peanuts.
  • Close and tape the box to prevent accidental opening.
  • Wrap a smaller inner box with at least 4 inches’ thickness of Bubble Wrap® and place it inside a sturdy outer container.
  • Seal box.

Bubble Wrap® Packing Method for Large, Thick or Flat Surfaces

  • Wrap product(s) individually with at least 4 inches thickness of Bubble Wrap® cushioning.
  • Place the wrapped item(s) inside a sturdy, outer box.
  • Fill all voids with additional Bubble Wrap® cushioning so that the wrapped item(s) fit snugly inside the outer box.
  • Seal box.

Sealing Your Package

Tape all seams securely end-to-end with one of these kinds of tape:

  • Pressure-sensitive packing tape, minimum 2″ width.
  • Water-activated paper tape, 60-lb. grade, and minimum 3″ width.
  • Water-activated reinforced tape.

Please do not use duct tape, craft-paper tape, cellophane tape, or masking tape. Also, do not wrap the outside of your package with string or craft paper.

Guidelines for Good Packaging

UPS-United Parcel Service

You can help make sure that your package arrives safely and on time with these good packaging guidelines and procedures developed from UPS research.

  • Use a rigid box with flaps intact
  • Remove any labels, hazardous materials indicators, and other shipment markings from the box
  • Wrap all items separately
  • Use adequate cushioning material
  • Use strong tape designed for shipping
  • Do not use string or paper over-wrap
  • Use a single address label that has clear, complete delivery and return information. Place a duplicate address label inside the package

Step 1. Use a Corrugated Box

Whenever possible, use a new box. The more times a box is used, the more it loses its original protective qualities, so a previously used box may not adequately protect your shipment.

If you must reuse a box, make sure it is rigid and in excellent condition with no punctures, tears, rips, or corner damage, and that all flaps are intact. Remove any labels and all other shipment markings from the box.

Choose a box strength that is suitable for the contents you are shipping. Never exceed the maximum gross weight for the box, which is usually printed on the Box Maker’s Certificate on the box’s bottom flap.

Step 2. Provide Internal Protection

It is important that you cushion the contents of your package properly.

Please be sure that you wrap each item separately. Fragile articles need both suitable separation from each other and clearance from the corners and sides of the box.

Each item should be surrounded by at least two inches (five cm) of cushioning and be placed at least two inches (five cm) away from the walls of the box. This will protect your items from product-against-product damage and shield them from the shock and vibration that can be conducted from the exterior of the box to its contents in transit.

Please use proper cushioning material, combined with a strong outer container, to protect your shipment fully. Make sure you use enough cushioning material to ensure that the contents do not move when you shake the container.

Improper cushioning material includes clothing, blankets, and pillows. Instead, please use the materials listed below to cushion and protect your shipment:

Air-encapsulated plastic (bubble pack)

  • Designed to protect and cushion lightweight items.
  • Used in multiple wraps and layers to ensure that the item is completely protected, especially on corners and edges.
  • Inflatable packaging (airbags)
  • Used primarily as void-fill materials for lightweight items.
  • Not recommended for items with sharp corners or edges.
  • Extreme hot or cold temperatures may affect the ability of airbags to provide adequate product protection.
  • Expanded polystyrene “peanuts”
  • Used primarily as a void-fill material for lightweight items.
  • Overfill the box with peanuts, gently close the flaps, and seal securely.
  • Do not use flat or narrow products that may move to the edge or bottom of the carton in transit.
  • Due to the shifting and settling properties of peanuts, it is recommended that a minimum of three inches of cushioning be used around the contents.

Engineered foam enclosures

  • Materials may include expanded polystyrene, polyethylene polypropylene, or copolymers.
  • Enclosures should be pre-engineered for specific products.

Foam-in-place (a foam, sprayed into the box or mixed in packets, that expands and forms a protective mold around contents)

  • Must be properly used, with even foam distribution around the contents.
  • Select appropriate density of foam to meet packaging needs, which can range from void-fill applications to high-performance cushioning.

Corrugated liners and inserts

  • It May be added to the package to increase strength and improve package performance

Crumpled kraft paper

  • Used primarily as a void-fill material for light-to-medium weight, non-fragile items, and items that are suitable for such packing materials.
  • Must be tightly crumpled.
  • Place at least four in. (10 cm.) of paper between contents and outer box.

Note: Fragile objects — such as electronics, glass, ceramics, and artwork — require special packaging for safe shipment. Packages containing these and similar items may require added cushioning or a double box.

Step 3. Close the Container Securely

Proper closure of your container is just as important as proper cushioning for the safety and security of your shipment.

To close a box securely, do not use masking tape, cellophane tape, duct tape, string, or paper over-wrap. Instead, use a strong tape — two inches (five cm) or more in width — such as these types:

Pressure-sensitive plastic or nylon-reinforced tape

  • Generally the easiest, most convenient tape to use.
  • Versatile because it adheres without water and sticks to a variety of surfaces and shapes.
  • Apply three strips to both the top and bottom of the box.

Water-activated reinforced tape

  • Use 60 lb (27 kg) grade tape at least three inches (eight cm) wide.
  • Requires only two center-seam strips of tape for both the top and bottom of the box, due to the reinforcing fibers.

Step 4. Labeling

For fast and efficient delivery, keep these points in mind when labeling your package:

  • Always include the recipient’s postal code with the complete street address. For international shipments, include a contact name, telephone number, and postal code.
  • You must make every effort to obtain a street address. If a shipper should use a P.O. Box address, the recipient’s telephone number must be included on the label. Your package that is addressed to a P.O. Box may be delayed, will not be covered by any UPS Service Guarantee, and will require an address correction charge. Army Post Office (APO) and Fleet Post Office (FPO) addresses are not accepted.
  • Always include the apartment or unit number, if applicable.
  • Place the shipping label on the top of the package. To avoid confusion, place only one address label on the package. If you are using a packing slip, place it on the same surface of the package as the address label.
  • Do not place the label over a seam or closure or on top of sealing tape.
  • Remove or cross out old labels or markings on a used box.
  • Always include your complete return address, including full street address and postal code. For international shipments, include a contact name, telephone number, and postal code.
  • Place a duplicate label or other form of identification inside your package.

Note: If you are using a mailing tube, place the label horizontally, with each end of the label pointing toward the ends of the tube, so the bar code can be scanned.

Note: The smart labels produced by UPS OnLine® WorldShip®, UPS Internet Shipping, and UPS On-Line Compatible Vendor shipping systems include bar codes and routing codes that help ensure accurate routing and prompt delivery of your shipments. In addition, the use of smart labels allows you fast access to tracking and delivery information.