Safe practices for shipping fragile items

October 22, 2014 at 12:50 PMAdministrator
Shipping fine china is a delicate process that requires preparation and quality materials.

Packing and shipping fragile items requires careful planning, a variety of supplies and a vigilant approach. Always err on the side of over-packaging very delicate merchandise like fine china or crystal. Below are steps senders should take when wrapping and shipping these precious items.

Inspection
Before beginning the packing process, closely inspect all the items that are to be shipped. Any cracks or chips should be recorded before they are wrapped and sent so if any damage occurs it can be accurately reported. 

Workspace
Start with a big, clear workspace. A large table or clean floor space is ideal, as items will need to be set out, measured and organized. Arrange all of the items that need to be shipped and group them into piles based on their size and type. For instance, all dinner plates should be placed in one area and all tea cups set aside in another.

Materials
Be sure to use brand new packing materials. This not only guarantees the highest level of safety for the items, it ensures the carrier will be able to insure the package. If supplies like bubble wrap or boxes are re-used from previous shipments, they could already have some damage, weakened areas or deflated air pockets.

Wrapping
Wrap each item individually with tissue paper. Seal the paper in place with Scotch tape. Do not use heavy duty packing tape to secure the tissue paper, as it is too strong for the material and will likely pull and rip the tissue. Scotch tape is proven to provide a secure hold on the thin paper. While one layer does the trick, two is a safer bet. On top of the tissue paper, wrap the individual item in 3/16 inch bubble wrap. On top of that, wrap the item in half inch bubble wrap. If wrapping plates, stack up to 5 plates together before wrapping the entire pile in the half inch bubble wrap.

To test whether or not enough bubble wrap has been applied, touch or lift the final product. If there are any hard spots or places where the china can be distinctly felt, add more bubble wrap. 

Measurements and packing
Measure how large the finished stacks and individual pieces are. Choose a box that is three inches larger on all sides than those measurements. There should never be less than three inches between the fragile item and the side of the box.

If shipping glassware or flutes, using a cardboard packing divider is an excellent way to ensure they do not knock into each other during transit.

Begin packing the box with three inches of Styrofoam packing peanuts. Place the first and sturdiest items into the box and stack and additional two inches of peanuts before adding the second items. Using several small boxes, rather than one or two large boxes, is preferable. If the package is traveling a very long distance, consider placing the box containing the china or crystal into another box and padding the space between the two with additional peanuts.

When items are sent domestically or through an international shipping service, careful packing is the key to a happy recipient.