How to pack a parcel?

Before sending a parcel, you need to be sure it is properly packed in order to carry all types of goods without breaking them. How to properly pack a package? What packaging materials to use?


1st step: the choice of the packaging

There are plenty of packaging materials that we can gather in two categories: the shipping materials and the cushioning materials.

postal boxes, mailing boxes, archives boxes and cardboard boxes

Shipping materials

The term "shipping materials" gathers all packaging materials which can carry an object. They can be very large like the cardboard boxes, medium-sized like the postal boxes (they can enter a letterbox) or small and flat like the bubble envelopes or the cardboard envelopes.  See our wide range of shipping boxes.

The cardboard boxes can have a single wall or a double wall. The single wall cardboard box can carry light and solid goods whereas the double wall cardboard boxes can carry long, voluminous and heavy goods.

Choosing the right shipping box is easy: always try to choose the one which has the closest size of your product in order to keep it in place during transport. If the box is to large, don't worry, you can protect and wedge the object thanks to cushioning materials.

bubble wrap, foam wrap, kraft paper and box dividers

Protective cushioning materials

The term "protective cushioning materials" gathers very different wrappings. There are the bubble wrap which absorbs shocks thanks to its thousands of bubbles, the air cushion which wedges the product in the box thanks to the compressed air in a little plastic bag, the kraft paper padding to wedge heavy goods or the polystyrene loose fill chips to keep light goods in place. In short, there is a large choice of protective packaging to discover here.

To choose the appropriate packaging, you need to answer the following questions :

  • Is my object fragile? If so, I choose a very protective wrapping like the bubble wrap.
  • My object is not fragile, but can it be damaged if it moves in the parcel? If so, I choose a cushioning material like the kraft paper or the air cushion.

As you will have understood, you need to find the appropriate packaging or the perfect combination of packaging materials to ship a parcel. Some of these packaging will be very easy to use because they were created to protect and carry goods. For example, this is the case of the bubble envelopes which have bubble wrap inside or the book postal boxes which keep the books in place thanks to its internal flaps. For the others, you will have to place the goods very carefully.

single wall cardboard box

2nd step: advice to place the object in the box

There are many objects with different sizes and shapes, so in this part, we will advise you about how to pack a standard cardboard box. If you want to know how to pack a bottle, an item of clothing or other specific object, click to read our special file on the shipping materials.

Before packing the product, you need to build the cardboard box by folding the flaps inward. Be careful not to cross the flaps: first you fold the smallest flaps, then you fold the largest flaps. Of course, you need to tape the bottom of the box in order to hold.

Then, you have to think about how to place the goods in the parcel: how many objects ? Are some of them fragile or breakable? On the contrary, are some of them very heavy, voluminous or bulky? If so, maybe you should separate these two types of objects to make two parcels. If you prefer to make only one parcel, you can use cardboard divider sheets to separate them, cushioning materials to immobilize them and protective film to protect them.

Don't hesitate to wedge the objects with one another to obtain a protective packaging. You also have to think about how to distribute the weight: the heaviest object must always be at the bottom and on the middle of the box. Then, you can place the other goods just next to its bulky object and above it. You will avoid the risks of crushing for the light goods.

Of course, if you want an additional protection for your goods, don't forget to wrap them in a piece of bubble wrap (or other protective film) before you place them in the box. It's good to know that a fragile object can double in size once it is wrapped with a protective film.

If you want to ship one product, start by putting your cushioning material then place the product and finally put another layer of cushioning material in order to wedge the product. It can't move in the box anymore. You probably know that an object which is moving in a box is more likely to be damaged than an object which is kept in place by a cushioning material.

Now, you know the 2 golden rules of the packaging:

  • you need to distribute the weight by placing the goods properly in the cardboard box (be careful of the shape)
  • you need to wedge each product to keep them in place during transit (so they won't be damaged)

These 2 golden rules will help you to send goods without any damage!

closure of a cardboard box

3rd step: the sealing of the cardboard box with adhesive tape

Once you have properly protected and wedged the goods, you can seal the parcel. Again, you have to respect some rules to seal the parcel hermetically.

First, you need to choose an adhesive tape which shall be at least 5 mm wide to apply its strength on the cardboard box and prevent it to open by itself. There are several materials of backing and types of glue, so if you want to find the one you need, read our shopping guide on the adhesive tape.

In all, there are four different ways to seal a parcel with an adhesive tape:

  • L seal method : to carry light goods
  • U seal method : to carry heavy goods or to carry light goods for a long distance
  • L and U seal method : to carry heavy goods for a long distance
  • H seal method : the most secure sealing, can carry every types of goods

fragile tape

4th step: advice to stick the shipping labels

Once you have packed the goods in the cardboard box and sealed it with an adhesive tape, you have to think about how to stick the shipping labels on your parcel. You need to write the name and address of the recipient but also the address of the sender in case the parcel is not delivered. You must stick the address of the recipient and the delivery note on the same side of the parcel and in the same read direction to facilitate the delivery. Don't stick the labels on the edge of the cardboard box in order that they won't peel off.

You can also inform the delivery man that the content of the parcel is fragile by sticking a label with the words "FRAGILE" or "DO NOT STACK" on the parcel in the same read direction and on the same side of the delivery note.

Last, you just have to weigh the parcel and frank it to send it to the recipient.