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Tips for packing pottery and ceramics

Preparing fragile items for the move is not easy, regardless of the purpose. Sending everything off to an antique collector, or moving your own plates and dishes to the new home. Packing pottery and ceramics is hard because of how delicate and valuable they are. To do it right, you need quality packing supplies Chicago and some knowhow. Armed with knowledge and wrapping paper, you can complete this task without a single problem, even if you never did it before. Now you must be wondering where you should start. Don’t worry, because, in this text, we will cover everything from the supplies you need, to the right packing methods.

Before packing pottery and ceramics, you need the right materials

There are a couple of items you need by your side before you start packing like a pro. Basic yet important materials needed to keep your items safe in transport. Even the smallest bump or nudge can leave your ceramic pot or vase in pieces. So, to prevent this, you have to pack it in such a way that it doesn’t move within the package, and absorbs vibrations. Here is what you will need to gather before you start packing:

packing supplies on a table
Your packing adventure begins with the right choice of supplies
  • A clean and flat surface to work on
  • A box cutter, utility knife, and scissors
  • Packing tape, and a tape gun if possible
  • Isolation materials. This includes bubble wrap, saran wrap, packing paper, styrofoam, and old newspapers.
  • Different sized boxes

You may have noticed we didn’t list packing peanuts up there. This is because they have a fine coating of oil, which can contaminate your pottery. As far as boxes go, you need them to be in different sizes for packing different kinds of pots and vases. We’ll get to that part in a bit.

“Freezing” is a common and handy packing method

When packing pottery and ceramics, your main goal is to prevent movement as much as possible. This is done by locking an object in place with the use of packing materials. This is what packers refer to as “freezing”. When you wrap an item with enough bubble wrap and saran wrap, it looks like it is frozen in ice, hence the name. If you freeze your delicate items the right way, your professional movers in Chicago won’t have any problems with handling them. Since your goal is to make everything stationary, loose-packed materials are a big no-no. They can shift during transport, which in turn may cause them to unwrap, exposing the item to damage. For this method, your best choice is a box that is only slightly larger than your item. The wrapping material will fill the void and your precious ceramics aren’t going anywhere.

What to do if your packing box is too big?

Even though you prepared boxes of different sizes, this can also happen. Don’t worry, we can work around this problem though. As before, we’re trying to secure your pottery in such a way that it doesn’t move. Keep in mind that your items should remain in the center of the box. There are two ways to solve this issue. One way to go is styrofoam. You can cut to size and then layer it to fill in the empty space of the box. Other solid materials with a bit of give will work just fine as well.

boxes for packing pottery and ceramics

Alternatively, wrap your object in a hefty layer of bubble wrap, place it in the center of the box, and wedge two smaller boxes on either side of your object. To prevent the filler boxes from crumpling, fill them with plastic bags or newspapers to maintain their integrity. Once you insert them into the main box, they will prevent your pottery from shifting from side to side. Now, this may be a riskier option of the two, so for added safety, wrap the filler boxes with a bit of bubble wrap. This will add a bit more tension within the box, and isolate the contact points of the boxes and the pottery better.

Packing pottery in larger numbers

So far, we have covered the cases in which you only have to pack one single piece of ceramic for shipping. However, you will surely come into a situation where you have to pack several pieces of pottery at once. Start by counting how many pieces of pottery you have to pack. This is important for picking the right sized box. Proceed by lining up your items in files, two by two, or three by three, depending on the type of box you have. When you line everything up, roughly measure how much space your pots, jars or vases take.

ceramic plates and bowls
Always remember to wrap each bowl in packing paper to prevent scratches.

Based on this measurement, grab a box that’s slightly larger than these dimensions. When placing everything in a box, wrap each individual piece of pottery in bubble wrap to create a sleeve around it. This prevents your pieces from knocking against each other and ensures a snug fit. If you are stacking several layers like this, you have to separate every layer with solid materials, such as styrofoam. Make sure you place this material on the bottom and top of the box as well.

Once you’re done packing your ceramics, pay attention to the box as well

Your main focus on this journey is isolating and securing the items you are shipping. However, the other crucial part are the high-quality boxes you are packing pottery and ceramics in. So, before you seal the box, carefully inspect it. If there are any old shipping or mailing labels, remove them if they have bar codes. Close your box and make sure the top is flat. The outside flaps should have no gaps or overlaps. This means that your box is either overfilled or not filled enough. Hold the box down and apply generous amounts of packing tape down the middle of the box. Wrap the box with tape a few times, so it runs down all 4 sides. Just to be sure, apply a few more layers of tape over the flaps to prevent them from opening. Once you go through these steps, your box is ready for transport.

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