Thursday, April 13, 2017

HOW TO PACK POTTERY (OR ANYTHING FRAGILE)

Broken!  Lot of pieces and shards.



An 1820s transferware platter that I purchased arrived in many pieces.  It was expensive, but for me the cost was outweighed by the sadness of seeing such a lovely old item irreparably damaged.  The box was too small.  There wasn't enough room between the edges of the platter and the sides of the box.  Although the platter was wrapped in bubble wrap, there wasn't enough of it.  And, there were no styrofoam bits surrounding it.  The only cushioning was the white towel you see in the photo.  All of the items in the front, the platter, the bubble wrap, and the towel, were stuffed in the box you see behind them.

Thus, I thought I'd write some directions for wrapping fragile things.

1.  Never skimp on the size of the box.  Bigger is better.
2.  Wrap the item in lots of bubble wrap.  I usually use small bubble wrap, but large bubble wrap is  fine.
3.  Find a box that is large enough so that the item is not too close to the sides.  I suggesting wrapping the item first.  Then you can see how it fits in the box.

Wrap the item before you decide on the size of the box.  The piece here is an oval vegetable bowl, so I added styrofoam (polystyrene) bits to the center for more cushioning.
4.  Fill the bottom of the box with styrofoam, and put the item in the box.  Pour styrofoam around the item.  Make sure there is plenty of cushioning on the sides of the item and on top.  You may need to use your hands to make sure the bits are settled around the pottery.

Pour some styrofoam into the box.  Enough to cover the bottom and another few inches.

Place the wrapped item into the box.  Make sure there is plenty of room between the sides of the box and the fragile item.

Fill the box with styrofoam.  Completely cover the item.  Then, use your hands to make sure there is plenty of styrofoam around the pottery.  I even shake the box a little, as there may be settling of the styrofoam during shipping.

5.  Now your are ready to tape up the box. The top is important, but don't forget the bottom.  I have received boxes with lots of tape on the top and only one tiny piece on the bottom.
6.  Cover all openings of the box with tape.  I usually overdo this.

Make sure you cover all openings of the box: top, sides, and bottom!

7.  Add "Fragile" stickers!

The "fragile" stamp is nice, but I really like a bright orange sticker.

That's it.  Also, it is good to insure any items over $100.

In case you are interested,  here's a photo of the item I packed.  It is an oval vegetable dish that is part of the circa 1820s "Domestic Cattle" Series.  It arrived at its destination in one piece!

"Domestic Cattle" oval vegetable dish, ca. 1820.