How to Pack Fragile Items for Shipping - Jamestown Container | Corrugated Packaging Solutions

How to Pack Fragile Items for Shipping

Learn How to Pack Fragile Items to Reduce Shipping Damage

If your company is an eCommerce, traditional retail, or supply-related business, knowing how to pack potentially fragile items, ship them, and ensure they get to their destination undamaged is likely a large part of your daily operations. Customers and other professionals alike will lose respect and trust for your company the more they have to deal with receiving damaged products.

What’s more, paying for damaged products may represent a significant material loss for your company. With the production, packaging, and shipping costs of damaged products sunk, additional costs associated with needing to replace those products with new ones and ship them, or even the potential need to refund frustrated customers for their trouble, damage-related costs can add up. And if you end up losing the customer — and other potential future customers through negative reviews and word-of-mouth — the lost opportunity costs can also be great.

In order to reduce these risks, you’ll need to know how to pack fragile items for shipping. Here’s what to consider when choosing the right protective packaging for your products.

What Box Works Best to Protect What You’re Shipping?

First, you’ll need to choose the right-sized box to reduce void and the right box thickness for durability. If you’re sending individual products directly to customers, branded mailer boxes will work for most use cases. However, if your eCommerce business involves larger, awkwardly-shaped, or heavier items, you may need larger and/or thicker shipping boxes to accommodate them.

If you’re shipping products in bulk (whether to retail locations, supply touchpoints, or B2B end users), you’ll also require larger and thicker boxes to ensure product safety throughout the shipping process. However, in any use case, you’ll want to reduce void as much as possible upfront by choosing boxes that fit your products correctly. Choosing right-sized packaging will also save you money, since most shipping companies use dimensional (DIM) weight pricing that takes into account both box size and package weight to determine final shipping costs.

What Type and Amount of Cushioning Do You Need?

Polyurethane and polyethylene are two packing foam materials that provide excellent protection while making your product and company appear more professional. Here are the different applications for these two substances.

Polyurethane foam is soft and open-celled, providing the perfect light cushioning needed for lightweight delicate items. Available in anti-static versions to support electrical components and able to be fabricated into convoluted foam (egg crates), padding, and custom shapes, polyurethane can be customized in a variety of ways to fit your specific product and application. As polyurethane is the lighter of these two foam materials, it’s also a great tool for shipping cost reduction since it minimizes package weight.

Polyethylene foam is perfect for packaging heavier fragile items as it’s more close-celled and durable than polyurethane. Polyethylene can also be fabricated into anti-static versions to protect sensitive electrical or other flammable products and components, and is better at protecting products that need stronger shock absorbency.

While more dense than polyurethane, polyethylene foam is still fairly lightweight, but it’s close-celled, low-absorbency structure makes it more difficult to tear and more suitable for protecting items from liquids or other potential types of contamination. Jamestown Container is able to fabricate a wide variety of polyethylene shipping products, including planks, laminated or skived foam, roll stock, crosslink, and more.

Both polyurethane and polyethylene foam are available in several sizes, shapes and colors to fit your practical and aesthetic needs and preferences. We also have the ability to custom die cut foam packing to help you keep small, intricate, or fragile parts firmly in place during even the most turbulent shipping processes. Check out our Viva Foam Products page for more information about our custom foam packing capabilities.

How Can You Seal a Package Properly?

Your entire protective packaging plan can be compromised if you don’t seal packages correctly to make sure they remain firmly closed during shipping. To ensure the integrity of every package, make sure to apply tape tightly and evenly along all flaps and seams on both the top and bottom of your boxes.

You’ll need to ensure you choose the right tape for your specific packages to withstand their shipping circumstances. There are various acceptable types of tape for use across different applications. Our stock packaging supply website contains several tape options for every need, and our recent guide to choosing stock packaging supplies can help you find the right tape and other stock packaging products to meet your particular needs.

Does Where You Place a Shipping Label Matter?

Yes! The placement of your shipping label often affects which way those handling your packages perceive as right-side-up, so make sure to place your shipping label accordingly and clearly mark how fragile items should be handled.

One of the most common causes of delivery failure is missing labels, so make sure you’re applying all labels in a way that places extra focus on ensuring they stay attached throughout every stage of the shipping process. To do this, major shipping companies recommend you always place labels on the largest package surface and avoid applying them around corners or directly on box seams or edges.

Jamestown Can Help You Pack Fragile Items Safely

Whether you need to ensure your products arrive safely down the street, through multiple touchpoints, or around the world, Jamestown’s 65 years of industry experience will ensure every aspect of your packaging program meets your needs. We’re experts at tackling unique situations like packaging large, fragile, or multi-component items with customized, efficient, and cost-effective solutions.

Our customized polyurethane and polyethylene foam packaging helps us deliver excellence to you, while you deliver products safe and sound to their destinations. This creates wins in every direction — in terms of decreasing your costs, increasing your customers’ satisfaction, and freeing up time and energy wasted dealing with product damage.

Check out our Viva Foam Products division to learn more about our protective packaging you can trust, or contact Jamestown if you’re ready to discuss a customized foam packing solution. We look forward to hearing about your protective packaging needs and discovering how our vast capabilities can help!

Jamestown Container Companies has been helping companies navigate their packaging and shipping challenges with innovative solutions since 1956. We're a family owned and operated organization, and we're dedicated to being a partner to all of our customers from initial concept to the moment their products reach their final destination.