For many of us, at some point in our life, we’ve had to pack our precious fragile items into a cardboard box and simply ‘hope for the best’ when it comes to re-opening the package on the other side. We can’t control that someone might throw our goods over the fence or around their van but there sure are ways in which we can stop the impact on our package!
Packaging fragile items can be a difficult task. There are many different materials that need to be considered, and the right choice will depend on your item’s specific needs and how far your items are travelling. Here is some advice for how to properly protect your fragile item in transit.
Choosing Your Outer-Packaging
The first thing is to ensure that your main form of protection is sufficient for the weight and size of the items. For fragile goods, we’d always recommend using a Double Wall box. Made from two layers of corrugated cardboard, Double Wall boxes are our go-to to ensure we have an added layer of protection from any external damages. Alongside this, most fragile items tend to be heavy. Double Wall boxes have a greater weight-bearing load, so you can be sure that your special occasion dinner plates, or your customers orders stay inside the box!
Boxes are also an eco-friendly option for packaging, are 100% recyclable and biodegradable and have a vast amount of space to customise; whether it be adding your customers address or simply writing on the contents of the box to refer back to later.
Wrap Up Tight!
Once you have chosen a box size closest to your item’s size, you need to consider the extra padding which will be needed around the actual object in order to avoid any damages from happening during transit. Our Bubble Wrap and Foam rolls are an excellent option for providing a snug cushioning layer. We’d recommend wrapping items individually to avoid any scrapes or scratches, we also like to use a sheet of Corrugated Cardboard Roll between any stacked items to prevent the items from rubbing together.
We have many bubble wrap options available in terms of size and length, but you may be wondering the difference between bubble wrap, foam and corrugated rolls and which one would be best suited to yourself?
Small bubbles are around 10mm in diameter and are great for heavier items and protecting against any scrapes and scratches. As the bubbles are smaller, they have a lesser tendency to pop under higher pressure, so we’d recommend this for items such as TV’s, crockery and most other general shipping requirements.
Large bubbles are around 20mm in diameter and are generally used for lighter and more delicate items such as ornaments and photo-frames, or when you simply want some extra padding in your parcels.
Corrugated Cardboard Rolls are soft, flexible and easy to cut – making them an efficient protective packaging solution. Despite their thin appearance, the corrugated fluting offers fantastic shock-absorbing properties whilst also taking up minimal space in your parcels. Corrugated Rolls are an economical solution which is available in an array of different widths, allowing you to choose one most suitable to your needs. Their vast size range offers greater waste reduction. Coupling this with 100% recyclable, biodegradable and renewable material makes the corrugated cardboard roll our favourite contender for protecting your fragile items.
Foam Rolls are an excellent alternative to both corrugated cardboard and bubble wrap. Foam rolls consist of mini air-pockets, crammed tightly together and take up much less space than bubble wrap whilst still maintaining the shock-absorbent properties. Foam-rolls are non-abrasive, so we’d recommend using this to pack any fine or intricate items such as paintings, mirrors and glassware. We’d also recommend this for space-saving in your packing process. If your box can handle the weight element, foam rolls may be the best solution to ensure you’re getting the most out of your shipping costs.
Consider Your Inner Packaging
On most occasions, the box size won’t be the exact size of your items. Once you have added your chosen protection layer, there will quite possibly be a gap between your items, and the sides of the box. Void-fill is an excellent way to prevent movement in transit; simply pop some Opus Bio air pillows around your goods and you can be sure that the only place your items will be bouncing is off the pillows! Your chosen box size will have a direct influence on how much void-fill will need to be used. We’d recommend leaving around 0.5-1 inch spare between your fragile item and the side of the box, so plan your box sizes accordingly!
The next important step is to use a high quality packing tape which will seal the edges of the cardboard box so they don’t open up during shipment. You don’t have to use worded tape, but we’d recommend using ‘FRAGILE’ or ‘HANDLE WITH CARE’ printed tape for any fragile items so that whoever is handling the package knows to do so with caution. Our recommended method for securely packaging any items is to run the tape around the entire package twice, sealing any folds. Secondly, seal the sides of the box with more packing tape to ensure the items have no way of escaping the box! Here’s a photo of how we’d recommend to do this:
Storing and Stacking
Lastly, it’s important not to stack anything on top of the fragile item when packing it for shipping. No matter the strength of the box you’re packing your items in, or how well you have ensured the box has been cushioned inside, you are still best to stack your fragile items on the top of your removal van! If you’re an e-commerce reader, we understand that it’s impossible to ensure that your courier won’t stack heavy items on top of your goods. The best way to avoid this is to ensure your goods are clearly labelled with ‘Fragile’, ‘Handle with Care’ or ‘Glass’. The printed packing tape is a two-in-one option to ensure the goods are tightly sealed and the handler knows to move your goods with caution!
Other Things To Note:
Don’t be wasteful. Taking a little time to plan how to pack your items, whether for a house move or courier shipments, will help tremendously in helping to ensure you are using your products in the most cost-effective way possible. Most items will only need one-two layers of protection provided you’ve chosen the correct size box. It’s easy to get carried away packing and wrapping items to ensure no damage is sustained, but your TV remote will fare just fine without being wrapped ten times in bubble wrap!
Consider your impact. Your packaging choices and the way in which they are disposed of can have a huge impact on the environment. Cardboard Boxes and Corrugated Cardboard Rolls are renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, meaning their impact on the environment is low. In most cases, if stored and handled correctly, our boxes are also reusable. For your protective packaging, Bubble Wrap and Foam are both made from low density polyethylene. This means that they are recyclable, but only when disposed of in the correct way! Our void-fill (Opus Bio Air Pillows) are also reusable, recyclable and certified to biodegrade in 12-24 months. We’d still recommend reusing these where possible to get the most out of the item before the item is disposed of. Once disposed, please do so appropriately to ensure their conversion into water and biomass.
We’re always here to help. Starting as removal specialists and now running an e-commerce business ourselves, we know that packing fragile items can be stressful! Take your time through the process and consider all elements involved. Courier costs; packaging costs and ensuring adequate protection are just a few of the considerations which need to be made. If you have any further questions or you still feel at a lost end with packing your fragile items, get in touch and a member of our team will be more than happy to help.