Packing Stained Glass Panels

I have been asked a few times about how I pack and ship my stained glass panels.  Large panels are fragile and not only because they can shatter when dropped.  They can crack from vibration or from being bent even if ever so slightly. 

If you search the internet sites of shipping companies such as FedEx, very deep in there you will find a very valuable piece of advice.  To pack your items in such a way that a drop from the height of 6 feet would not cause any harm.  Sounds very easy, huh?

Even if you pack stained glass panels very carefully, something could go wrong.  You have to remember about the 6-foot drop while packing the panels, do your best, and then hold your breath till you are notified that it has arrived in perfect condition.  That method has worked for me so far. 

Recently, I sold my "Change of Seasons" panel measuring 20 by 18 inches and photographed the packing process in order to be able to demonstrate it to my buyers.

First, I place the panel into a new white garbage bag.  It does not sound very glamorous, but protects the seams from any scratches, oxidation or imprints from packing materials.  The panel is then wrapped in about 8 layers of thick bubble wrap.  I take care to switch directions, so all edges are equally protected.  Then I build a custom cardboard box just big enough to hold the bundled up panel.  It has to fit perfectly, not too tight, but tight enough that the wrapped-up panel does not move at all. 

Then I need the second box that is about 6 inches larger than the first one in each of the dimensions.  So, the first box  will be placed into the second one cushioned with Styrofoam pellets on all four sides. 

This time I got lucky and used a box that I had just received a large order of glass in.  Usually, though, I am not this lucky, so I have to build the second box myself too.  Just to give you an idea, that box measured 31 by 25 by 11 inches.  I bet, you would like to know where I get the cardboard when I need to build a box like that?  Well, a box from a love seat or a sofa that I pick up from a nearby furniture store works great :)

So, this is how I do it.  I insure the package and give it to my mailman.  He is not surprised anymore, but if some other mailman is working his route that day, I get some very funny looks :) And then I wait, and wait, and check tracking, and wait some more, until the panel is delivered.  Then I wait for the buyer to contact me or I make an inquiry myself…  This time I got the following reply: "Just to let you know that the panel arrived in great shape and it is beautiful. Thank you for the fast shipping."  Whew…