Fragile Image

How to send a fragile item without it getting broken

If there's a more delicate process than the packaging of a fragile item for posting, I'm sure we'd all love to hear it. The thought of a valuable or cherished possession succumbing to a crush or fall is enough to send shivers down the spines of collectors and online sellers alike. It’s natural to ponder the likelihood of a fragile item travelling from one place to another without falling apart.     

Before you rid your eBay listings of every potential shipping disaster in sight, just remember one thing; countless fragile parcels are dispersed around Britain through our network every single day. Pretty much anything can be packaged securely with the right materials (and the help of a reliable parcel courier like ipostparcels), while a little attention to detail will also help things along.

With the right instructions, shipping fragile items doesn't even have to be an impossible chore, so before you decide that your item is too difficult for delivery, why not try following the tips below.

Choose ipostparcels as your courier service

Unfortunately there's no such thing as a fragile delivery service, although you can cover your back by increasing the liability value of your parcel.

For instance, ipostparcels offer free £25 cover as standard across all UK and Ireland deliveries and £50 for international deliveries. This can also be upgraded if the actual value of the item you are shipping is greater than £25 (£50 for international).

If the budget affords it, invest in the speediest delivery possible to minimise the time your parcel spends in transit.

Worth noting - the ipostparcels service is not suitable for the carriage of breakable or valuable goods, and we do not carry dangerous or restricted goods. It is the sender’s responsibility to ensure that parcels do not contain anything which could be termed as such; if your parcel contains anything which could fall into those categories, any cover provided by us (either standard or extended liability) may be invalidated. Check our pages on restricted and prohibited goods here first.

use newspaper as packaging materialsWrap up

A fragile item can be anything made out of a delicate material, whether that's an ornament, picture, collectable or something similar. In truth it's anything that could suffer damage if it was to be dropped without sufficient protection, and only you can be the judge of that. Still, if you're sending a fragile item of any kind, it's best to pay the buyer or receiver some respect by taking extra precautions.

The first thing you'll want to do is wrap the item to give it a protective jacket. Tissue paper and newspaper are just fine if you're working with a tight budget, but for better protection, you could encase your items in bubble wrap or polythene foam sheeting. Strap in the end of the sheet with masking tape and fill any big holes or gaps with whatever material you have left.

It's perfectly fine to package two or more fragile items into the same box but don't try wrapping them together. They will probably knock against each other and could inflict damage on themselves.  

Box clever

Being as this will hold your item during its transportation, the outer cardboard box is where most of your packaging budget should go. 

It really pays to use high quality heavy duty boxes made from corrugated cardboard as only these will give you the level of protection you need. Find a box with a double or triple corrugated wall that's as close to the size of your item as possible, but not too small. You can always pad up the box to ensure a snug fit and reduce movement.  

We’re all for championing recycling and reusing old boxes wherever possible to minimise waste and cut costs – but while it might save you a few pennies, a used box will likely be softer and less durable than a new one. Check the box for robustness; if it’s looking or feeling a bit worse for wear, remember it's far better to buy a new one. Just factor the cost of a decent box into the price for delivery.  

use popcorn as lightweight packing materialsPack prudently

Once you've found your box and your items are wrapped, it's time to package everything up. Single items should be placed right in the centre of the box where they're away from the corners. If you're packaging more than one item, separate each object with cardboard dividers and place them all as close to the centre as possible.  

Use foam packing peanuts, or even popcorn, to fill corners and small spaces within the box. Even if you're only packing one item, cardboard dividers can still provide a good level of shock absorption.

Finish things off with more newspaper to fill the box right to the brim and seal everything up with packing tape, preferably one with 'FRAGILE' printed onto it. Applying fragile stickers to the box might not help an automated parcel sorting machine understand the contents are delicate, but it will highlight the presence of a fragile item for the delivery driver so they can take extra care handing it.

Remember not to use black outer packaging to wrap your parcel though, our automated parcel sortation systems can’t process it and using it for domestic shipping will lead to your parcel being delayed. In the case of international parcels, black packaging or wrapping will cause the parcel to be automatically returned.


Related content:

How to protect items in transit
Guide to sending large and heavy parcels
Waterproofing and packaging your parcel
Sending alloy wheels and tyres in the post
Packaging parcels for international delivery

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ipostparcels have the cheapest next day delivery prices in the UK from 2 - 25kg. See price comparison prices here. * £1.99 (ex VAT) from price based on a next day XS parcel size with a UK depot drop off and UK depot collection service. Delivery to Northern Ireland, Ireland, The British Isles, The Highlands, Islands and parts of Scotland operate on a 1-3 day delivery service and incur additional costs. £7.74 (ex VAT) price based on a parcel weight of up to 25kg (50cm x 50cm x 50cm) on a UK depot drop off and economy delivery service to Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg or Austria. All prices quoted on content pages (outside of the quick quote and booking form) will be based on the depot drop off discounted price for UK deliveries and on a 0.5kg parcel with dimensions of 10cm x 10cm x 10cm for all international air countries. The size and weight of your parcel affects the price you will pay so it’s important to weigh and measure your parcel correctly to ensure your parcel arrives on time without any delays. Use our quick quote for all pricing options. If you do not select the "signature required" delivery option, UKMail will not be liable should your items be subsequently lost or damaged after the delivery (see clause 5.2.2 of the Terms & Conditions). We define a "Parcel" as a package with dimensions up to 80cm x 80cm x 80cm or up to 120cm x 50cm x 50cm or up to 140cm x 35cm x 35cm.

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