Packing peanuts fall into the category of Necessary Evil. They are a relatively inexpensive ingredient in the recipe to create the safe arrival of sculptures. Therefore I try not to talk bad about them. Or think about the environmental impact. Or how much space they take up in the packing room.
Because they do make my life easier.
So this blog post is a Salute to Peanuts. And let’s throw bubble wrap in there too. And sturdy cardboard and sheet styrofoam – don’t want to leave them out. All important ingredients.
Here’s how I package work for shipment. The photos show a large memory box.
Step one – bubble wrap. What you’re seeing here is three layers of small bubble wrap + 3 layers of big bubble wrap. All snugly wrapped with that sticky plastic stuff that likes itself so much it only sticks to itself. Plastic wrap? I think thats what it’s called. I used to use tape, but clear tape isn’t easy to see being clear and all. We don’t want to damage the art when we’re using scissors to unwrap these pods. So sticky wrap it is.
Ah-ha! There’s the sticky wrap in the photo above. I’m going to use clear tape to assemble the box, and there’s a box cutter for the styrofoam sheets, and a scissor incase we need it. Side note: see how the handle is chewed? Sterling did that… sigh… I miss that hound….
Next choose a sturdy box. I like to use new boxes. Nice new clean sturdy box and the UPS delivery person will treat it better? Not sure but I’ve had more than one postal/deliver person comment on the crispy clean boxes that I lean that way. No proof, of course. I’m going with it anyway.
I line the box with 3/4″ or 1″ styrofoam sheets. Here’s the bottom.
All snug and happy.
Then I measure for the sides. I save time by using the same sized boxes so I know these measurements and can cut quantities of styrofoam ahead of time.
One box lined with styrofoam. I also cut a top piece too.
About this time I’ll have to take a break to let greyhound(s) in or out. Annie and Sage have this drill perfectly synchronized. At this point Annie will want to go out. Sage will want to come in. They will feel differently exactly 32 seconds after I’ve resumed packing the box. So it’s best to wait at the door until they sort it out.
Here’s where the peanuts come in – generous layer at the bottom. Then shake the box a bit so they settle. Next is the bubble wrapped work leaving plenty of space around the piece to handle the shipping intact. This one above is a little close. I try for 4 inches around the work.
Then more peanuts, shake shake, next piece of the memory box, and repeat.
Here’s the box with memory box wrapped in bubble wrap plus styrofoam sides, plus packing peanuts all up the top. I shake to settle the entire thing, add more peanuts if needed. I want the box to have a little bit of give, but not too much to that the work bounces around.
Then I add the top sheet of styrofoam and paperwork for shipment.
Next the box is closed and taped. I like lots of tape – minimum of three lines of tape each way. Ready for shipment!