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How to Protect Fragile Items when Shipping


Whether as individuals or businesses, we’ve all tried to transport delicate items and ended up with broken glass, damaged mementos, or worse. That's why the question of how to ship fragile items is an important one to answer.

Packola presents a brief guide on how to safely pack your products for shipment from choosing the right boxes to adding protective padding to protect fragile items from breakage. We tackle key issues related to ensuring products are transported safely and securely. These include:

  • What are the best options for packaging items for transit?
  • How does one pack items to prevent breakage in transit?
  • What’s the safest way by which to ship items?
  • Does custom packaging play a role in ensuring the safe shipment of products?

How to Ship Fragile Items: A Step-by-Step Guide

Shipping fragile items isn’t as easy as covering it with a towel, throwing it inside a box, and hoping for the best. There’s a process involved to ensure that your products get to their destination safe and sound. Follow our step-by-step guide in preparing fragile items for shipping and transport:

1. Choose the Right Box. Don’t assume that just because your item is in a box it’s ready for shipping. Product boxes are different from shipping boxes: while the former are made with thin cardstock that helps the product inside look good for display, the latter are made with durable corrugated cardboard, a material whose unique layered structure enables it to withstand rough handling, stacking, and jostling while in transit. Double-layered corrugated cardboard is the best possible choice for shipping fragile items.

The size of the box also determines how much it can hold. The standard rule of thumb is to compute the length, width, and depth of the box in inches. If the sum is 75 inches or less, the box can no more than a total capacity of 30 lbs. Boxes made with double-layered cardboard are sturdier and can hold twice that amount.

2. Pick the Right Materials – Inside and Out. As stated above, boxes made with corrugated cardboard are the most ideal to use for transit. Packola offers the following materials for the creation of custom shipping boxes that hold up well on the road:

  • Standard Corrugated White Cardboard
  • Premium White Corrugated Cardboard, prints with a glossy finish
  • Brown Kraft
  • Material thickness is determined by box dimensions and may be either of the following:
  • 1/16” E-flute corrugated cardboard
  • 1/8” B-flute corrugated cardboard

3. Make Sure Your Products are Protected. This step takes some effort but swaddling individual items in protective material goes a long way in keeping your products safe. The United States Postal Service (USPS) states that individual items should be wrapped with two to three inches of cushioning material on all sides. Items must be placed at least two inches away from the walls of the box and padding should be packed all the way to its edges.

Most companies may choose to use foam peanuts, bubble wrap, or polystyrene for protective padding, but for companies that want to reduce their carbon footprint even while protecting products for shipment, alternative materials such as biodegradable plastic wadding or mycoplastics (plastic-like material manufactured from mushrooms) can be used. But, as with regular plastics and polystyrene, there has to be enough of it to keep products from rattling around the box.

Finally, all shipping boxes must be firmly sealed with properly applied packaging tape before being sent out. This is doubly important for packages holding multiple fragile items such as electronics, glass or porcelain, and perishable products.

4. Proper Labeling Counts. Be sure to label your package properly. A large sticker saying FRAGILE may not always be effective but putting right markers as to which side should face upward can make a difference. Addresses and item manifests should also be placed where they can be seen easily by handlers.

5. Ship Through the USPS. While there are numerous shipping and delivery services to choose from, sending your packages through USPS is still the best option. Placing shipments through the national postal service is more cost-effective, as there are no surcharges for fuel, regional delivery, and weekend delivery – all of which are charged by privately-run services. USPS also offers a reliable tracking service that enables customers to track up to 13 packages in one go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I order shipping boxes from Packola?

On the Shipping Boxes page, add the relevant details including the quantity required through the online widget, and you can start working on your box through our online 3D design studio. Save and submit your work, and we get right into production.

Q: Is there a specific size range for shipping boxes?

Dimensions range from the following parameters: 

  • Length: 2" to 30" 
  • Width: 2" to 29" 
  • Depth: 2.5" to 32" 

Note: Dimensions are based on the interior of the box.

Q: What materials do you use for boxes?

Our boxes are made of high-quality corrugated cardboard which gives the finished product structural integrity and durability. The cardboard that we use is both sustainably sourced and recyclable. We offer this material in the following variants: 

  • Standard Corrugated White Cardboard  
  • Premium White Corrugated Cardboard, prints with a glossy finish 
  • Brown Kraft  

Material thickness is determined by box dimensions and may be either of the following: 

  • 1/16” E-flute corrugated cardboard 
  • 1/8” B-flute corrugated cardboard
Q: How many pieces can I order?

Online orders can run from as few as one (1) printed sample to as many as 20,000 units. 

For orders greater than 20,000, email us at for a competitive custom quote specific to your requirements.

Q: Can I ask for a free sample?

We do not give out free samples, but you can order one (1) sample box before running multiple items. Our samples are reasonably priced and can give you a better idea on how your packaging will look like.

Q: In case anything comes up regarding my order, how do I get in touch with you?

Our Customer Service team is ready to help you any time. You can drop us a line at or, for urgent concerns, call us at 1-855-PACKOLA or talk to us online through the LiveChat widget on our website at

Get Production Started: Choose Your Box Style