How to ship fragile items
Fragile items need special packaging to keep them safe
You need to know how to ship fragile items if you want to send any packages that contain glass or other articles that break easily. When you ship fragile items with the proper packaging and labeling, you do not need to specify special handling with the U.S. Postal Service. If you've never dealt with fragile items before, follow the steps below to learn how to ship fragile items.
Materials You Need to Ship Fragile Items
To ship fragile items, you will need a sturdy box or envelope and inner packaging materials that will pad the item within the container and keep it from moving around.
You can use an envelope if the item is mostly flat, or small and smooth; otherwise choose a box for your outer packing material.
Wrapping Your Gifts
If the fragile items are gifts, you may wish to wrap them in decorative paper before you box them up and ship them out. If you want to create a more personalized package, consider making your own wrapping paper. If you want a "green" alternative, you can use recycled gift wrap, comic pages from the newspaper, or other paper goods you would normally discard.
Choosing Inner Packing Material
Unless you're using a bubble mailer, you will need inner packaging material to ship fragile items. Some of your options include bubble wrap, foam peanuts, newsprint, kraft paper, and plastic air cushions. You need something that can fill the extra space between the fragile item and the box, so you need a flexible material.
Packing the Box
Wrap the fragile item well. Pay special attention to any extra-delicate parts. Place the fragile item in the box and fill in the empty space around the wrapped item with the inner packing material.
When you have packed in the empty space sufficiently, close the flaps of the box. Use packing tape to secure these flaps. Check the bottom flaps, too. If they need to be secured, tape around the bottom of the box at this time. You can also tape the bottom of the box before you begin packing it.
Labeling the Box
You should label the box appropriately in order to ship fragile items. Either fill out a shipping label, or mark the "ship to" address boldly on the box. Remember to include your return address, too.
Mark the box with a "fragile" warning. You can use a marker, or you can use special stickers that identify the box. Sometimes you can also buy shipping cartons with the word fragile printed right on the box. As long as the warning is clear and visible, the method doesn't matter much.
Paying for Shipping
You will have to pay for shipping, typically before the carrier picks up the package or when you drop it off. The federal postal system, as well as all the major private delivery companies, offer online services. But you must have access to a reliable scale in order to calculate postage on packages. (Scales are available from many companies that sell packaging and shipping supplies.)
If you don't have a scale, you will need to take the package to your local post office or package delivery office and pay them for shipping.
Choosing Extra Services
Finally, if your package is more valuable that the coverage offered by your delivery service, you may need to purchase additional insurance. Or you may want other extra services such as delivery confirmation. If you're not sure what the basic service covers, ask before you pay. And that's it, once you relinquish the package to their care. You've now discovered how to ship fragile items.
"Special Handling," United States Postal Service