Disclaimer: Due to a higher breakage risk compared with other items, we are not able to offer compensation on glass items that are sent with any of our couriers. For more information, see our Terms and Conditions.
Glass is something that can make senders anxious. Boxing up a precious glass antique or something you’ve poured time into sculpting yourself can be stressful if you’re not sure how best to protect your item, making sending it feel like a gamble.
Thankfully, you can remove the stress of sending a glass item by ensuring you’ve packaged it properly.
Here are a few tips and tricks for you to bear in mind when packaging glass to radically minimise the risk of breakage over the course of its delivery.
Step 1: Box it
Choosing the right box for the job can make all the difference in ensuring your glass objects are protected. Couriers recommend the following for fragile items:
- Use a brand new box for each delivery to minimise risk of splitting
- Use a double-wall corrugated fibreboard box for heavier materials
- Make sure that your box is big enough to accommodate packaging materials as well as the item that you’re delivering.
Step 2: Package it
Once you’ve chosen a new, sturdy box, you need to think about the types of packaging materials you’ll need for maximum insulation from impact. It’s not quite as simple as going crazy with polystyrene though, because certain kinds of packaging aren’t suitable for slim or large objects.
Here’s what you should choose for glassware.
- Bubblewrap — wrap individual items in small bubblewrap so they don’t collide, then use large bubble wrap to bunch them together.
- Kraft paper — crumple it up and use it to fill any excess space to stop items from moving inside the box.
- Corrugated liners — they boost the structural integrity of the box.
- Styrofoam wedges — these are especially important for large flat items with corners, such as mirrors.
- Air bags — anything with sharp corners can potentially pop the air bags and render them useless.
- Polystyrene “peanuts” — they don’t offer much protection for flat items that could slide between them.
- Newspaper — not only is it too soft to properly protect glass, but the ink will run if the parcel gets wet.
Finding the right amount of packaging is about striking a balance. Over-filling the box could result in it bursting or the items being crushed, and under-filling means that the contents will fly about whenever they’re handled. Make sure your item is at least 2 inches (just over 5 cm) from each inner side of the box to ensure that it doesn’t bear the brunt of those odds bumps along the journey.
And remember: “if you can shake it, you can break it.
Step 3: Seal it
Properly sealing your box is the key to, well, keeping the contents inside. That much is obvious, but what is a little more tricky is knowing how to properly seal it. The types of tapes recommended by most couriers are:
- Pressure-sensitive plastic (the most popular option)
- Nylon-reinforced filament tape
- Vinyl tape
Whichever tape you use, it should be at least 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Otherwise, there won’t be a big enough surface area to prevent the box flaps from slipping open.
Step 4: Label it
The first thing to get right is the address label you’ll be adding to your parcel. If you’re sending internationally, ensure that you’ve addressed your parcel in accordance with the labelling format of that country, and the country name must be written on the last line of the address.
Labels should not be placed across a seam or a closure, in case the package needs to be opened for any reason.
You’ll need to include a return address and some contact details with your parcel should you need to be contacted in the unlikely event of a breakage. Royal Mail advises including a contact name, address, and telephone number inside the package so as to prevent it from falling off the parcel.
No amount of labelling is a substitute for good, sturdy packaging though, so ensure that your box and packaging materials are nailed before you even think about labelling you parcel.
Step 5: Send it
All that’s left to do after that is send your parcel! Knowing that your glass items are properly secured takes the stress out of delivery, allowing you to put your feet up and rest easy. You can find out more about our packaging advice here.
Anything we’ve missed? If you’ve got any extra tips that you think other customers could benefit from, share them in the comment box below.