Sunday, November 2, 2014


Just about everything sold and shipped from Stella Erwin's is glass and almost always arrives intact. Last April, two shipments arrived at their destinations broken.  Two out of hundreds of shipments isn't many, but for the customer that's 100% of what they ordered - an unacceptable standard for Stella Erwin's.   

After gathering feedback from the customers about the packing, talking to my Etsy pals, visiting Youtube, and researching museum packing standards, I made packing process improvements.  With holiday shipping upon us, this feels like a good time to share my learnings and step by step process.  

Packing and Shipping supplies 
         List of items needed
2 boxes - 1 fits inside the other
Colorful duct tape
Cushioning foam
Bubble wrap - new
Bracing materials
Filling materials
Shipping tape for boxes

Step 1 - Fill glass with tissue or some other soft material.  This helps prevent hairline cracks.  I use facial tissue, but it can be tissue paper or some other material.  Don't pack it down.

Step 2 - Wrap piece with cushioning foam and secure with colorful duct tape.  The duct tape makes unwrapping much easier because it is so visible.

Step 3 - Now wrap the piece with NEW bubble wrap and secure with duct tape.

How much?  With this piece I used cushioning foam 2 times around, changed direction and then 2 more times.  The bubble wrap went around enough times, changing directions, that the edge of the glass could not be felt.

Cushioning Wrap
Bubble Wrap

Step 4 - Pack the bundle into the first box, using bracing and filling materials on all 6 sides.  All kinds of things can be used to brace and fill the box including:  egg cartons, styrofoam blocks, peanuts, paper. The idea is for the piece to be held in place with materials that have a little give to them.  I try to recycle materials, because of expense and sustainability.

This one began with egg cartons on the bottom and styrofoam blocks around the sides.  The top was filled with packing paper and taped closed.   No need to go crazy taping this box, as it is going into another box for shipping.

Step 5 - Pack box into larger box.  The bottom of this box is lined with styrofoam blocks (I happen to have a lot of those at the moment.)  The sides are filled with blocks, egg cartons, packing cushions and a wrapped piece of foam.  The top was filled with more cushions.  This whole part could be done with packing peanuts or other materials, as long as there is cushioning on all six sides.   Tape the box closed, slap a couple of Fragile stickers on and it is ready to ship.

Box in a Box

 How to get free packing materials

  • Ask your friends to save things for you - like egg cartons
  • Ask small businesses in your area to save things for you and have a regular scheduled pick up day and time
  • Styrofoam blocks - mine were originally used to ship computer products.  Check around for sources.  Most companies have green initiatives and would love to recycle as long as you make it make it easy for them.  
  • Dumpster dive  :)