Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Packaging Tutorial

During a discussion between potters about the percentage of breakage when shipping pottery, I discovered there is a real need for a packaging tutorial. We have been shipping pottery for years and have yet to have a buyer report breakage. I know our time is coming, but in the mean time, I want to share my method for shipping fragile items.

The first step is to wrap my items in bubble wrap and the box pack them in a small box. I want to be sure that they fit this small box securely and fill in with packing materials so the pieces cannot shift in the box.

Then, I find a box that is larger than the small box by at least 4 inches in each direction.

I put at least 2 inches of polystyrene peanuts in the bottom of my outer box. The inner box is then placed inside the larger box with an equal clearance on each side.

When I am sure the inner box is well packed, I seal it and then fill around the box with peanuts. Notice that the inner box is cradled all around by at least a two inch cushion.

I tuck the receipt, thank you card, or extra something on top of the inner box so it won't get lost in the sea of peanuts.

Almost done! At this point I fill the box with peanuts. I press around the sides of the inner box to be sure there are no air pockets where peanuts can settle in shipping. I mound the peanuts up so the box will be over filled.

Now it is time to ask for help. I usually have someone hold the box closed and I tack the flaps shut with some tape. Then I really work to squeeze the flaps together and tape like mad! I want to be sure there are no areas poking out that can catch on the machinery and cause the box to fail.

Finally, the address is added and the box is covered in the word FRAGILE. I don't buy stickers, but the box pictured is a recycled box and came with the lovely FRAGILE sticker, which I always read as fra-GEE-lay.

I know some people have issues with polystyrene peanuts. I do, too. I cannot in good conscience throw them away. I receive mounds of peanuts in my other business and I reuse every one. If you get peanuts in a package, you can always take them to a local independent mail shop and they will reuse them. When I get an excess, I call my local Pack and Mail and they will come pick them up. Be on the lookout for a new product - bubble paper! I am beginning to receive shipments packed in bubble paper and it seems as effective as polystyrene peanuts.


Cynthia said...

Excellent tutorial!

Nora said...

Thanks so much for the tips!

anodyne said...

Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

Kellybot said...

Wow - what a lot of work! Good job on recycling the peanuts... it was great that you added that part :)

Anonymous said...

Must be Italian.. Fra-gee-lay, hahaha. Good tutorial! I don't ship things that are easily breakable, but I do like to use a bit of eco-friendly bubble wrap when needed.

Good job!

-Robin Lynne