Shipping heavy (10ish pounds) items

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Forum topic by bhacksaw posted 03-07-2016 03:16 PM 873 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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163 posts in 1819 days

03-07-2016 03:16 PM

I recently finished 4 jewelry boxes. They’ve come out to around 10 pounds each, 16×10x6. I have to ship 2 of them (separately) and am wondering what’s the best way to go about this. I thought about building little crates with scrap, but that’ll just add to the weight. If I completely surround them in styrofoam inside a cardboard box, should that do the trick? I’ve very nervous about this as it’s taken me about a year to finish these.

15 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1762 days

#1 posted 03-07-2016 04:49 PM

I go to my local appliance store and get the cardboard corner protectors they throw away. You can also find a lot of styrofoam there too.


View clin's profile


839 posts in 990 days

#2 posted 03-07-2016 05:38 PM

Crates are good at reducing the chance of having your shipment crushed. But they do nothing to soften the ride. In fact, since they are stiffer than a cardboard box, they make the ride harder. I think a crate is unnecessary for shipping a 10 lb anything.

Styrofoam sheet is NOT great packing material. It is common, and has it’s place, but generally is much too stiff for proper cushioning. There’s a reason most of the time when styrofoam is used, it’s only supporting the contents at the corners or edges.

And whatever you do, don’t use extruded styrofoam. That’s the stuff sold for insulating. It’s WAY TOO stiff.

If I were you I would go with good old packing peanuts. Yes they are styrofoam, but molded into small shapes meant to flex.

Do the end user a favor and first put the contents in a plastic bag. Though watch out for any sort of weird interaction of the plastic with the finish on the boxes. Maybe wrap the boxes in tissue paper or something else you know won’t mar the finish.

Also, be sure to get at least 2” if not 3” or more of packing on ALL sides. The trick to softening the ride on packing, is to have enough space between the contents and the shipping box. So when the shipping box stops fast (like being dropped or throw), the contents have some distance to decelerate and therefore experience less G loading.

My guess is, your jewelry boxes are plenty sturdy, and probably anything is going to be okay. Just make sure if you use peanuts that you get the box filled completely. This will reduce the chance of the shipping box being crushed and keeps the contents from sliding or banging around inside.

Also, get a heavy duty box (double walled). Those are much stiffer and will also help to avoid have the box crushed. Or of course build a crate.

And if you are really paranoid and your jewelry box is delicate, fill the inside of the jewelry box with packing peanuts (in a bag). That way if some force is trying to push in the side of your jewelry box, the peanuts inside can help support it from the inside.

If it took you a year to make these, take your time and ship them right. No reason to cut corners. Get new heavy duty boxes, big enough to pack correctly. Don’t go dumpster diving for old used boxes.

-- Clin

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1225 days

#3 posted 03-07-2016 05:55 PM

I like the Styrofoam board you can get at the borg. I just shipped a 70lb item and surrounded it with 2” foam board. Good $20 investment.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1447 days

#4 posted 03-07-2016 05:56 PM

Take ‘em to the local pack&ship UPS store.


-- Madmark -

View TiggerWood's profile


271 posts in 1601 days

#5 posted 03-07-2016 06:42 PM

I would double box it. Surround the item with a little newspaper inside one box, tape it up, and then do the same into another box. The total extra weight would only be maybe a pound, if that. The final dimensions maybe as high as 20” x 14” x 10”.

View bhacksaw's profile


163 posts in 1819 days

#6 posted 03-07-2016 06:50 PM

Thanks, everybody! I am way of newspaper. I packed a test box that had 2” clearance on the success, but by the time i finished twisting and stuffing the newspaper, my hands were blackened. The boxes are finished with sissy lacquer and paste wax. I’m not sure if that would station the finish.

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2001 days

#7 posted 03-07-2016 07:56 PM

I spent the better part of 30 years in shipping and receiving (warehouse type work)... My best tip to you is DONT do what I’ve seen SO MANY people do and then find out what a mistake it was after the fact!

I used to just shake me head and laugh when I would open a box that APPEARED to have been well packed, only to find the piece inside smashed to bits. People will find a box bigger then the piece being shipped, then set the item in the BOTTOM of the box, and stuff (what ever kind of packing you choose) tightly around the sides and fill the rest of the box with packaging. Then they tape the top and put a label on it. The box gets passed from stop to stop, hand to hand and is usually dropped by at least 3/4 of the people handling it. Every time they drop it, the label stays UP, so they can see it.

See what happened in my illustration? They didn’t put ANY padding UNDER the item. All the padding is on the sides and top. Yet when ever the box is handled (and thusly DROPPED) the item has ZERO padding/protection !

The other thing I find humorous is that people dont know how to TAPE a box. They fold the box into the open-square shape, turn it bottom side up, and put one strip of tape on the bottom. Then they pack their item as I described above, close the top flaps and tape the entire top with sealing tape. Think about it, if this box gets handled as I described, (lifted and dropped numerous times, being slid along tables, conveyors and truck shelves) that one thin piece of tape on the bottom will fail LONG before all that tape you put on top.

Best way is to put as much padding as you can at the BOTTOM of the item, the sides and top take less of a beating on the journey.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View BB1's profile


1135 posts in 842 days

#8 posted 03-07-2016 08:40 PM

I recently shipped a couple boxes. I wrapped them in the big bubble strips/sheets that amazon uses (and so had plenty). I lined the bottom sides and top plus stuffed some around. Taped in place to avoid shifting. Made sure I used a sturdy cardboard box and even added a bit more cardboard across the top for support when I taped the flaps. Pretty sure each package could have been used as a flotation device but both arrived fine.

View fivecodys's profile


998 posts in 1631 days

#9 posted 03-07-2016 09:17 PM

In my business we ship a lot of fragile things.
I have had the best luck with bubble wrapping the item and then placing it in a tight fitting box and then we place that box inside another box stuffed with kraft paper. The outer box get’s pretty beat up by UPS but the inner box is usually just fine.

Hope this is helpful.

-- There' are two theories to arguin' with a woman. Neither one works.

View Cooler's profile


299 posts in 838 days

#10 posted 03-07-2016 09:27 PM

A box within a box. Protectively pad the item in a suitably sized box and seal it. Then take another box at least 2” larger in all dimensions and using crumbled newspaper pad the interior box to the exterior box. This not only gives extra protection from dropping it also protects it from sharp objects.

Note: UPS drivers are not opposed to throwing cartons onto their truck. So you have to pack to avoid that issue.

If there are any loose parts inside the jewelry boxes then you want to put padding in that too.

Also hard impacts can damage hinges. So build a wall of cardboard around the outside of the box to prevent the lid from racking from rough handling.

I shipped a picture frame to my sister and I packed the frame in a small box and used about 10 conventional party balloons for “padding”. They hold air for 4 or 5 days and they make a nice festive package when opened. It is one of my favorites for the right situation.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View clin's profile


839 posts in 990 days

#11 posted 03-07-2016 10:16 PM

I like the Styrofoam board you can get at the borg. I just shipped a 70lb item and surrounded it with 2” foam board. Good $20 investment.

- SirIrb

DO NOT use Styrofoam board. It is horrible packing material for most items. It is much too hard. in practical terms it isn’t much better than using plywood as a packing material. It doesn’t compress until the loads are quite high. And then it is not elastic. It would work like a bicycle helmet. it can absorb one hit and then it is crushed. And that one hit has to be very hard.

Thanks, everybody! I am way of newspaper. I packed a test box that had 2” clearance on the success, but by the time i finished twisting and stuffing the newspaper, my hands were blackened. The boxes are finished with sissy lacquer and paste wax. I m not sure if that would station the finish.

- bhacksaw

Wrap your jewelry box in something appropriate before packing it with anything. Crumpled paper can be a pretty good packing material. But do yourself and the recipient a favor and get some clean newsprint. You can buy a box at a U-Haul center. These took you a year to make, take some time and pack them well.

Keep in mind that the corners of crumpled paper can be pretty stiff, and might press hard enough to damage a soft wood or soft finish.

-- Clin

View bhacksaw's profile


163 posts in 1819 days

#12 posted 03-08-2016 03:24 PM

Thanks for all the great advise! I’m going to use what i learned combined with this video from the fantastically talented Jimmy D about custom box making. Shopped around last night (HD, AC Moore, Staples, U-Haul) but couldn’t find anywhere that sells sheets of cardboard, so I’ll just buy one big box from U-Haul and cut it up.

View bearkatwood's profile


1572 posts in 1006 days

#13 posted 03-08-2016 03:30 PM

I will give you my opinion from years of shipping across country and overseas. I make furniture so it is a bit bigger than a box to begin with, but I have had a small jewelry cabinet broken by UPS. So right off the bat they get a bad mark from me, fedex seemed better, but still prone to damage. I have switched to using freight and it has made all the difference in how my work arrives safely. So my recommendation is to crate the work and pad it well and use a freight company to ship it via semi-truck. In my experience it has been considerably cheaper to ship this way as well. Hope that helps. You might have to take it to your local distribution office to get it on it’s way, but most of the time they will send a truck out for pick-up.
Best of luck and remember to pad it like it was being dropped form space and all should go well.

-- Brian Noel

View bhacksaw's profile


163 posts in 1819 days

#14 posted 03-24-2016 08:12 PM

Wrapped each jewelry box tightly in bubble wrap then packed the shipping box with peanuts on all 6 sides. Each arrived safely. Thanks for all the great advice!

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3159 posts in 3103 days

#15 posted 03-24-2016 11:57 PM

For future reference, if you have the shipper pack your item, they guarantee against breakage. I see you shipped successfully, so this information is late to the party. I have yet to use a shipper to pack my items (it can be expensive), as I have had pretty good luck with my own, anal-retentive packing style.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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