A Guide to Shipping Fragile Items

Learn how to protect delicate and sensitive products while in transit through proper packaging.

Shipping fragile items is challenging for small businesses, especially e-commerce sites. You'll take a substantial financial blow if customers keep receiving damaged products. More importantly, you'll become an untrustworthy seller. That means fewer sales and horrible reviews.

However, you can avoid all that by learning how to pack fragile items properly. 

In this post, you'll learn how to protect delicate and sensitive products while in transit through proper packaging. Discover techniques that successful businesses use to keep products from breaking during shipping.

If you've ever wondered how to ship fragile items, this post is for you. Let's begin.

Importance of Proper Packaging for Fragile Products

Jewelry Packaging by Nikki Jewels
Jewelry Packaging by Nikki Jewels

Below are the top reasons why proper packaging for fragile products is so important.

Maintains Product Integrity

Proper packaging keeps products intact when they arrive to customers. Items with moving parts will continue to work as expected. You'll avoid scratching, denting, and shattering the content of every box. 

Reduces Return Rate

You lose money whenever a customer returns a broken product caused by shipping issues. Returning products is also an inconvenient process that customers find annoying. That's why businesses must learn the best way to ship fragile items.

Improves Brand Image

Customers admire businesses that take extra measures to keep products safe during transport. Using proper packaging shows your brand's commitment to customer satisfaction, making you look more professional in the process.

Yields Positive Reviews

Proper packaging leads to more positive reviews for your business. Shoppers flock to brands that have favorable reviews. That means you can increase your sales using proper packaging for fragile items.

Saves the Environment

Broken items mostly end up in landfills. This is a problem, especially for non-recyclable products. You're helping save the environment by ensuring all products get to their destination in one piece.

Common Types of Fragile Items

Candle Gift Boxes by WK Creative
Candle Gift Boxes by WK Creative

Any type of product has the potential to get damaged during shipping. However, some items are more fragile than others.

Glass and Ceramic

Glassware like drinking glasses, serving bowls, and bakeware need layers of protection to stop them from breaking while in transit. The same goes for ceramic products like plates, dutch ovens, pottery, and planters. You need to learn how to ship glass if that's what you sell to customers.


You'll want to ship electronics like laptops, tablets, smartphones, monitors, and wearable devices in the right packaging. These are often expensive purchases so customers will only be happy if their orders arrive in good condition.


You have to pay close attention when shipping antiques. Old clocks, jewelry, clothing, musical instruments, toys, and collectibles are already fragile. They could easily get broken on their way to customers if you use proper packaging.


Artworks like paintings, sculptures, drawings, and printed photos also need protection. And not just against scratches and dents — you don't want to expose these to direct sunlight and moisture. 

Materials for Packaging

Pairing the right shipping box with an appropriate packaging filler is the best way to ship fragile products. 


There are different box types you could use to ship fragile items. Factors like product size and weight will determine which you should pick. 

You can customize boxes to promote your business. This allows you to make your branding instantly recognizable and trustworthy.

Mailer Boxes

Custom Mailer Boxes by Artifyca
Custom Mailer Boxes by Artifyca

Mailer boxes are ideal for shipping small, fragile items. These boxes come with a built-in lid that locks into place. They are available in standard and custom sizes. You can use custom mailer boxes as shipping boxes though they can also function as product boxes. 

Shipping Boxes

Shipping Boxes by Raven Gift Co.
Shipping Boxes by Raven Gift Co.

Shipping boxes are a robust packaging solution designed for shipping fragile items to customers. You can customize their size to fit your products perfectly but you'll want to leave some room for packaging fillers. 

Place your main packaging inside a shipping box with fillers in between to add layers of protection.

Product Boxes

Candle Boxes by August Candle Company
Candle Boxes by August Candle Company

Product boxes often serve as the main packaging for products. You should only ship items in product boxes with a mailer or shipping box. What product boxes do is stabilize items for shipping. They increase the chances of items arriving safely to customers.

Wine Display Gift Boxes

Wine Display Gift Boxes

Wine display gift boxes are great for shipping bottled products including wine, olive oil, and spirits. You'll want to place display gift boxes inside a shipping box before shipping. Remember to add fillers so bottles don't break if they get bumped during transport.

Packaging Fillers

Shipping Box Packaging by Earthside Co.
Shipping Box Packaging by Earthside Co.

Packaging fillers refer to materials that fill empty spaces inside a shipping box. They act as cushions to prevent products from breaking should boxes get dropped or hit during transit. 

There are many types of packaging fillers to choose from. Below are a few of the most popular options:

  • Tissue Paper — Wrap your products in layers of tissue paper so they don't get scratched or damaged during shipping. Tissue paper also works as a branding tool. You can customize them to show your business name or logo.
  • Packing Peanuts — These are small, styrofoam pellets that can easily fill empty spaces inside shipping boxes. They are versatile because you can use them with any product regardless of their size and shape.
  • Air Pillows — They're inflatable plastic bags that provide cushioning along the sides of boxes. They're great for adding stability and support. 
  • Kraft Paper — You can use them like tissue paper by wrapping products in them. There are shredded versions of kraft paper that you place between your main packaging and shipping box. You can also use them inside mailer boxes.
  • Styrofoam — You can get styrofoam sheets to cushion your products inside their shipping boxes. This is ideal for larger items. Large businesses will produce custom styrofoam that conforms to their product's dimensions.
Custom Tissue Paper by The Thrifty Handmade
Custom Tissue Paper by The Thrifty Handmade

One crucial factor to consider when looking for packaging fillers is eco-friendliness. You want to use recyclable materials to make it easier for customers to dispose of all your packaging after use.

How to Prepare Items for Shipping

Here are some things you must do before shipping products to customers.

Prepare Your Products and Boxes

You want to inspect your products before placing them inside boxes. Test if your products fit your boxes ahead of time to make sure everything runs smoothly when it's time to ship items. Do this even if you ordered custom shipping boxes.

See if your product has pointy edges that could tear through your packaging. Make sure you cover them up if there are any.

Mailer Boxes by Club Eggie
Mailer Boxes by Club Eggie

Add Your Packaging Filler

Add your packaging filler before placing your products inside shipping boxes. Consider wrapping products in bubble wrap if they're incredibly fragile. That should help absorb any impact they might receive during transport.

Make sure you pack your boxes tight. You don't want products to rattle as they make their way to customers. 

Seal Your Boxes

Seal your boxes with packaging tape to keep products in and stop people from stealing items. You can order custom packaging tape if you want them to show your brand logo. 

Custom Packaging Tape by Kawaii Flavor
Custom Packaging Tape by Kawaii Flavor

Factors to Consider When Packaging and Shipping Fragile Items

Consider doing the following as you prepare your packaging materials for shipping.

Add Markings

Box markings give couriers a better idea of what each box contains and how they should handle them. Boxes containing fragile items should have indications showing how to transport the packages. 

Let couriers know that the box contains easily damaged goods.


Inspect Weak Points

Check your packaging to see if it can withstand impact. You can do this by performing a drop test. Perform vibration and compression tests if you think they're necessary. You can do all these ahead of time. 

Do a Test Run

Do a test run if you're using a courier that you haven't worked with before. Ship a package to a friend, relative, or yourself to see if your boxes arrive in good condition. This should give you an idea of whether your courier can handle fragile products.

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