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Glass Shipping: How to Pack and Ship Glass

Father and daughter packing glassware

Protecting your item is the name of the game whatever you might be shipping, but shipping glass calls for particular care.

From mirrors and frames for home renovations to glassware for stocking up the home bar, there have never been so many reasons for shipping glass. 

Here are six rules of thumb for packing and shipping glass safely and securely.

1. Take it Seriously

When packing items that contain glass, don’t rush. Glass is breakable and broken glass is dangerous. In addition to protecting the item you’re shipping, it’s important to keep yourself and everyone else handling the package safe from harm. When shipping glass, a stitch in time really can save nine.

2. Inspect Your Item Carefully

Many products contain glass that might not immediately cross your mind. From food containers and jewelry to electronic appliances such as television sets, carefully assess the item you’re shipping.

Look out for any signs of damage prior to packing. Avoid shipping glass that is cracked or damaged in any way—unless, of course, it is going for repair.

3. Break it Down

Transportation can be a bumpy business, and you need to protect your shipment from the rigors of the sorting facility and the delivery truck.

This is especially true for e-commerce shipments. Small packages are more prone to being rattled about than bulk shipments secured on pallets destined for retail stores and warehouses.

For complex or unusually shaped items, separate out any glass components—if you can do so safely. In the case of a standing lamp with a glass-bowl shade, for example, separate the bowl from the base unit. Then protect the shade with bubble wrap or other cushioning material and secure the wrap with tape.

(For flat glass products such as mirrors and framed pictures, cover the surface of the item from corner to corner with masking tape in the shape of an X. This can help protect the glass from damage by absorbing shocks in transit.)

4. Use Generous Amounts of Packing Material

From bubble wrap and expandable foam to air pillows and foam inserts, use whatever quantity and combination of packing material best insulates your item from shocks. Shipping glass is not the time to skimp on supplies.

Consider the shape of your item when choosing your packing material. Protecting an ornate vase will require a different approach to safeguarding a glass cabinet.

For particularly fragile glass, go heavy on cushioning material to protect the item, though don’t apply the tape too tightly for fear of breaking the glass. You can always first wrap the item in kraft paper for additional protection. Packing glass requires patience and a steady hand. 

And while some types of glass, such as the borosilicate in beakers or the reinforced glass in smartphones, may be stronger than others, they still need protecting from scratches and other damage too.

5. Pack Your Container for Maximum Protection

If you’re shipping multiple items within the same box, it’s important to protect individual objects from one another.

Deploying corrugated inserts within the main container is a good option for keeping bottles and drinkware securely upright. Single-item boxes, with interior fixings to hold the glass in place, also make a great choice, particularly if these items are intended for individual resale or gifting.

Place heavier items at the bottom of the box, though don’t overladen the container—and cushion the bottom with a thick layer of packing material such as bubble wrap or expandable foam. Use a sturdy box that meets shipping requirements.

Packing peanuts are an additional option for box filler, though use sparingly and keep to the edges as peanuts in direct contact with the item may allow the glass to slide around.

6. Double Boxing is Your Friend

For best protection when shipping glass, use UPS’s double (over) boxing method.

Select an outer container that’s at least six inches longer, higher, and wider in total than the inner box. Lay cushioning material at the bottom of the outer container, then carefully fit the inner box within.

Fill the extra space to the sides and on top with packing material. Seal the box securely with strong tape. Label the outer container as “Fragile” and apply directional arrows indicating “This way up.”

For additional guidance on how to pack glass for shipping, explore the UPS Packaging Advisor tool.

Further Tips for Shipping Glass

So your glass is safely packed and ready for the road. What else should you bear in mind?

  • If your shipment is valuable, consider increasing the declared value of your package or explore flexible insurance options through UPS Capital.
  • For e-commerce shippers of glass, clearly communicate your customer policy for returning goods and reporting damaged items. How quickly must receivers inform you of any damage?
  • Let your customer know if the item requires special handling upon arrival, in addition to the usual care.

Next decide on your preferred shipping service, depending on where the shipment’s going and how quickly you need it to arrive. UPS® Simple Rate, which offers flat rate shipping, might be a good option for domestic packages under 50 lbs.

For total peace of mind, visit a The UPS Store® location and ask about the Pack & Ship Promise® service. For eligible shipments, The UPS Store Certified Packing Experts® will take care of the packing for you.

And if you haven’t already, sign up for the UPS My Choice® or UPS My Choice® for Business tool for comprehensive visibility into your shipment activity.

A Note on Shipping Wine

The rules around shipping bottles of wine and other alcoholic beverages are complex and differ from state to state. Consult our guidance on shipping wine, shipping beer, and shipping other licensed beverages, including applicable conditions and restrictions.

Shipping Glass with Confidence

In today’s increasingly e-commerce world, it’s no longer always possible or convenient to pick up fragile goods, such as glassware, in-store.

But with the right level of precaution and care, shipping glass can be safe and straightforward. And that’s something we can all raise a glass to.

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Find Out More

  • The UPS Store

    Rely on The UPS Store® for all of your packing, shipping, printing, and small business needs.

    Learn More About The UPS Store
  • Get Your Deliveries on Your Schedule

    Track all your shipments in a calendar view, reroute or reschedule deliveries, leave driver instructions, and more. 

    Learn more about UPS My Choice
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