How To Pack Boxes For Shipping

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Step 1. Use a Corrugated Box

Match your box to the size and weight of your items. Use double-walled boxes for heavier items. A new box is recommended. If you’re reusing a box, make sure there are no holes, tears or corner dents, and that all flaps are intact. Remove or mark through old labels.

Whenever possible, use a new box. The more times a box is used, the more it loses its original protective qualities, so a previously used box may not adequately protect your shipment. If you must reuse a box, make sure it is rigid and in excellent condition with no punctures, tears, rips, or corner damage, and that all flaps are intact. Remove any labels and all other shipment markings from the box.

Choose a box strength that is suitable for the contents you are shipping. Weight limits printed on the Box Maker’s Certificate (found on the bottom flap of most boxes) are intended for palletized freight shipments, not for shipments through small parcel carrier environments.

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Boxes such as gift, banker, die-cut, shoe boxes, etc., must be packed into a corrugated outer box. Double-box fragile items with 3″ of cushioning in and around the smaller box. Wrap items individually with cushioning material and center them in cartons away from other items and away from the sides, corners, top, and bottom of the box.

Position bottles that contain liquids upright. Use an inner seal and perforated breakaway cap. The inner packaging must be able to contain leaks. Place items that might be damaged by normal handling, such as soiling, marking, or application of adhesive labels, in a protective outer box.

Place goods that might be affected by dirt, water, or wet conditions inside a plastic bag. Consolidate small parts in a strong sealed container, such as a burlap or plastic bag, then package in a sturdy outer box.

Box-in-Box Packing Method

Wrap product(s) individually with at least 2″ thickness of air-cellular cushioning or foam material to fit snugly inside a corrugated box.

Restrict product movement inside the box using filler like crumpled newspaper, loose fill peanuts, or other cushioning material. Close and tape the inner box using the H taping method. This will help prevent accidental opening.

Use a second box that is at least 6″ longer, wider, and deeper than the inner box. Choose the wrap or fill method to cushion the inner box inside the larger sturdy outer box. Ship fragile products individually, wrapping them in a minimum 3″ thickness of air-cellular cushioning material. Wrap the inner box with 3″ thickness of air-cellular cushioning material or use at least 3″ of loose fill peanuts or other cushioning material to fill the spaces between the inner box and outer box on the top, bottom, and all sides. Fill any void spaces with more cushioning material. Use the H taping method for sealing your package.

Step 2. Provide Internal Protection

It is important to cushion the contents of your package properly.

Choose cushioning material with enough density to keep items from shifting, including air-cellular cushioning, packing peanuts, corrugated fiberboard, foam pads or molded plastic Place 3 inches of cushioning on the bottom, top and sides Bind printed material together, and wrap and tape all sharp or protruding edges.

Please be sure that you wrap each item separately. Fragile articles need separation from each other, and from the corners, sides, top, and bottom of the box.

Each item should be surrounded by at least two inches (5.08 cm) of cushioning and be placed at least two inches (5.08 cm) away from the walls of the box. This prevents product-against-product damage and protects contents from shock and vibration, which can pass from the outside of the box to the contents.

Please use proper cushioning material, combined with a strong outer container, to protect your shipment fully. Make sure you use enough cushioning material to ensure that the contents do not move when you shake the container.

Improper cushioning material includes clothing, blankets, towels, newspaper/newsprint, and pillows. Instead, please use the materials listed below to cushion and protect your shipment:

Air-encapsulated plastic (small and large cell bubble sheeting) – Designed to protect and cushion lightweight items. Used in multiple wraps and layers to ensure that the item is completely protected, especially on corners and edges.

Inflatable packaging (air bags) – Used primarily as void-fill materials for lightweight items. Not recommended for items with sharp corners or edges. Extreme hot or cold temperatures may affect the ability of air bags to provide adequate product protection.

Expanded polystyrene “loose fill peanuts” – Used primarily as void-fill material for lightweight items. Overfill the box with loose fill, gently close the flaps, and seal securely. Do not use with flat or narrow products that may move to the edge or bottom of the carton in transit. Due to the shifting and settling properties of peanuts, it is recommended that a minimum of two inches (5.08 cm) of cushioning be used around the contents. It is recommended that flat pieces of corrugated fiberboard be used between contents and peanuts to help prevent migration through the peanuts. Peanuts cause static electricity and may damage electronic items. Anti-static peanuts should be used for electronic items. Use plastic bags, bubble sheeting, or other items to wrap the item so peanuts will not work themselves into areas that may cause harm to your merchandise.

Foam – Materials may include expanded polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, or copolymers.

Foam-in-bag – A foam, sprayed into the box or mixed in packets, that expands and forms a protective mold around contents. Must be properly used, with even foam distribution around the contents. Because this material is offered in varying densities, it is important to select the most appropriate foam to meet the requirements of the product

Corrugated liners and inserts – May be added to the package to increase strength and improve package performance.

Crumpled kraft paper – Used primarily as a void-fill material for light-to-medium weight, non-fragile items and items that are suitable for such packing materials. Must be tightly crumpled. Place at least two inches (5.08 cm) of paper between contents and outer box.

Note: Fragile objects such as electronics, glass, ceramics, and artwork, require special packaging for safe shipment. Packages containing these and similar items may require added cushioning or a double (over) box.


Step 3. Close Your Container Securely

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Using the H taping method, apply at least three strips of packing tape (no duct or masking tape) that is at least 2″ wide evenly across all flaps and seams, top and bottom.

Proper closure of your container is just as important as proper cushioning for the safety and security of your shipment. To close a box securely, do not use masking tape, cellophane tape, duct tape, string, or paper over-wrap.

Step 4. Use Proper Labeling

Place the shipping label on the top of the package. To avoid confusion, place only one address label on the package. If you are using a packing slip, place it on the same surface of the package as the address label.

Do not place the label over a seam or closure or on top of sealing tape.

Remove or cross out old labels or markings on a used box.

Always include your complete return address, including full street address and postal code. For international shipments, include a contact name, telephone number, and postal code.

Place a duplicate label or other form of identification inside your package.

Always include the recipient´s postal code with the complete street address including apartment or suite number. For international shipments, include a contact name, telephone number, and postal code.

Let your shipper know if this is a business or residential address as the rates differ. A business done in someone’s home is still a residential address.

You must make every effort to obtain a street address. If the recipient only has a P.O. Box address, UPS will ship the box but the recipient´s telephone number must be included on the label. Any package that is addressed to a P.O. Box may be delayed on UPS and commitment guarantees will not apply and an address correction charge will apply if a street address exists. FedEx will only take P.O. Box shipments if sent FedEx SmartPost as final delivery is made by the post office. Army Post Office (APO) and Fleet Post Office (FPO) addresses are not accepted by UPS or FedEx.

Because of these restrictions, Pack N Send recommends for P.O. Box, APO and FPO addresses, to use our United States Postal Service.

Note: If you are using a mailing tube, place the label horizontally, with each end of the label pointing toward the ends of the tube, so the bar code can be scanned.

While we cannot ensure compliance with markings such as “Up” arrows or “This End Up,” properly placing the shipping label increases your chance for the preferred orientation.

Use tie-on tags on transit cases (including tradeshow display cases), golf bags, skis, and luggage.

General Guidelines for Specialty Shipments

Artwork – Apply masking tape in a crisscross pattern on the glass surface to prevent glass from splintering or separate glass from picture. Double box when there is glass.

Photos and Poster board – Tape flat items onto a rigid material like plywood, plastic, or layers of fiberboard padding; as an alternative, place printed material between pieces of corrugated pad and tape both pads together at all seams.

Stringed Musical Instruments – Loosen the tension on the strings to remove the stress on the neck of the instrument.

Printed Matter – Bundle printed material together to prevent shifting. Cushion sufficiently before packing into a double-walled corrugated outer box.

Carpet rolls, rolled goods – Tightly wrap rolled goods using several layers of heavy-duty plastic film and wrap with plastic packing tape. Then wrap the address label completely around the object or use a pouch. Be aware that shippers will not assume liability for damage due to inadequate protection.

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