At times your shipment requires packaging large and odd-shaped items and that too in a single unit. Especially artifacts, furniture, musical instruments, etc. require special attention as these are fragile too. Logistics companies use the dimensional weight to calculate the cost of shipping. Therefore, you would want to pack smart so that the shipping overhead is minimum. Whether you’re a manufacturer or moving your home, here’s a handy guide for packing unusually shaped products.
How to Pack Unusually Shaped Products?
Shipping and logistics companies find properly packed items easier to handle. This also reduces the risk of transit damages. Try to incorporate these techniques so that you and the shipping company can handle your package better.
1- Secondary Packaging or Shipping Box
Try to use a rectangular box for external packaging. Following are the types of secondary packaging that you can use.
- Cardboard or wooden box
- Plastic, wooden, or padded crates
- Multi-layered cardboard box
Also, make the base stronger so that the shipping box can bear the pressure of lifting. The rectangular shape of the box ensures that the base of the package is firm on the ground. It also adjusts well with the other shipments in the cargo.
2- Use Fillers and Wraps
Make sure your package is stuffed properly. Void spaces can damage the package during transit jerks. Also, stuffing the packaging also provides cushioning to absorb shocks and vibrations, which adds to the product protection. Apart from properly wrapping the product with bubble wrap and foams, you can use crinkle paper, packing peanuts, air packets, or custom cut foams as void fillers.
3- Seal Tightly
Sealing is important because it isolates your product from the external environment. You can use pressure sensitive tapes, straps, shrink/stretch wraps to make sure there aren’t any open ends.
Some people consider waterproofing as overhead and only prefer it during the rainy season. However, it is a good practice to add a layer of plastic wrap, just in case, there is a transit delay and your package is warehoused. This will ensure your package is safe throughout the transit journey.
You can use shrink/stretch wrap or polythene for an added layer of protection on the external packaging.
5- Use Pallet Boards for Heavy Items
If your product is too heavy and requires 2-4 manpower to lift it, then you should use a pallet board to support its base.
6- Inform the Shipper for Special Care Shipments
Normally, shipping companies ask for the value of the product only. But, it’s good to inform them about your shipment especially if it contains hazardous items or pets. This way, the company would be able to take additional care.
7- Label Properly
Make sure your label contains the required information. Also, if you’re reusing a shipping box, remove the previous label completely and then stick the new label. Next, stick the label properly with strong glue.
If your product is similar to one of the following shapes, you can directly use the following techniques.
Common Odd Shapes and How to Pack Them?
Chandelier, artifacts like bull’s head, etc. make common home decor items. But, they also come with pointed edges. You can use the following technique for packing such items.
- Dismantle the pointed product as much as possible. If, it is a single piece, wrap every pointy edge twice with a bubble wrap.
- Arrange a cardboard box a bit larger than your product.
- Add padding on all the sides of the cardboard box.
- Place the product, and fill the void with crinkle paper or packing peanuts. Make sure, it is tightly stuffed. You can gently press the fillers and check if you can stuff more.
- Add a layer of thick foam on the top of the package and then seal the cardboard box. The foam acts as a cushion and can protect the top of your package from external weights.
- After sealing, do not forget to add “fragile” and “this side up” tags along with the shipping label.
- If you’ve dismantled the product, stack and pack them in different boxes.
Items with pointed edges, if not packed properly, can damage other items in the cargo. Therefore, make sure there are no pointed edges peeping through your package.
Golf club, surfboard, dismantled furniture, poles, curtain rods, car bumper, etc. usually need additional support on the weaker sections. You can use the following tips-
- First, wrap the entire length with bubble wrap or thin foam.
- If you find the middle section delicate, wrap 3 or more layers of bubble wrap. Similarly for other section that you find delicate.
- Place the item in a long cardboard box and stuff the void space with packing peanuts.
- Seal and label the box properly.
You can also pack pointed and long items like garden tools, weapons, etc. combining the tricks of packing pointed and long items.
For packing items like wheels, football, globe, helmet, or any other circular object, you can follow the following steps.
- Wrap the item completely with bubble wrap or polyethylene foam.
- Place it in a cardboard box. But, make sure the box is large enough and the sides are not bulging out.
- Fill the extra space with craft paper or other fillers so that the item is not moving inside the box.
- Seal and label the box correctly.
Carpet rolls, floor vases, etc. are usually cylindrical in shape. You can wrap them around with stretch wrap or bubble wrap. If it is a flexible item, you can ship them without a cardboard box as well. Else, make sure the base of your product is placed upright. Then follow the same steps of stuffing, sealing, and labeling the shipping box.
You can also roll and ship items like cotton mattresses by using this technique.
These techniques are applicable to other products which are of similar dimension. For example, if you want to ship a bicycle, you can dismantle the accessories and wrap it and place it in large flat cardboard, of course, stuffed with fillers. The best way to ship large and oddly shaped products is to dismantle them as much as possible. This way, you can save logistics space as well as joints won’t rupture.
Packing Unusually Shaped Products: Additional Considerations
Check if you’ve added “fragile” or “this side up” label on your package. This will help the porter to understand that the package is delicate. You can also mention stackability of the package. (Whether or not any other packages should be placed above your item)
Also, consider insuring your product. It will help to recover the loss from shipping damages. Manufacturer’s warranty on shipping is applicable only once while delivering the package safely to the customer. If you’re shifting your house, it’s a good idea to have a product insurance policy for valuable items.
You can either put a “fragile” tag buy the cardboard box with printed “this side up” labels.
Many professional shippers prefer packing the products themselves. You can also consider taking their help as packing unusually shaped products is their chore.
A Quick Checklist for Shipping An Odd-Shaped Item
- Sharp edges: Make sure there isn’t any sharp edge pointing out.
- Strength of the box: The box is strong enough to bear the weight of your product.
- Label: You have mentioned shipping information and tags like “fragile” or “this side up” (if applicable).
- Cushioning: Ensure that the package is not having a void space and there are adequate fillers and foam/wraps.
- Sealing: Also check for all the openings sealed properly.
Bonus – Before handing over your shipment, check for shippers who offer delivery via cargos with unused space. This way, you can save shipping cost, which otherwise is hefty due to the large size of the package.