Picture Frames, Picture Framing and Picture Framers' Blog

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How should I pack and send photo frames or picture frames?

This may seem a fairly simple task, but it’s actually a little complicated to do it right. A first consideration is the size of the picture, photo frame or picture frame to be shipped. It will be fairly obvious that a small, 4”x6” photo frame will be a lot easier to pack and ship than, for instance, an A1 framed poster.  Another way of putting it is that,  the bigger the picture frame, the more work you’ll have to do. A second one may well be,  who will ship or courier the parcel for you. You will need to keep in mind that many Couriers will not accept parcels containing picture frames, photo frames or clip frames with glass. For instance, Pack and Send excludes these as Prohibited Goods. Couriers Please also deems such parcels as having “unacceptable contents.“   Australia Post appears to be just as challenging ...   as it does not seem  to forbid outright parcels containing glass. However their “Dangerous and prohibited goods and packaging guide”, page 40, Section D10.6.3,  instructs customers to ” Remove glass from framed pictures to avoid damage to the picture if the glass break “. It would then be reasonable to infer from this that little consolation would be forthcoming if a framed picture were to be posted and then damaged in transit.  We also know that our local Post Office has repeatedly refused to accept our occasional parcels containing certificate frames with glass claiming that these could not be “carried” because of OHS concerns.  It would therefore be advisable to check with whoever will ship or courier you frames, if they do in fact accept these, and what is their compensation policy ( if any) on such parcels.  A third one, and perhaps the most crucial one, is likely to be, how to actually pack the picture frame or most frames you want to send.  To begin with, a cushion would need to be made  for the picture frame glass pane with a thick piece of cardboard or bubble wrap and lightly taping this to ensure the cushion stays in place.  This operation should be followed by wrapping the frame with an inner, single-wall, single thickness piece of cardboard and sealing this with tape.  Next, the frame should be wrapped with  a double wall or double-thickness section of cardboard and secured with packing or packaging tape.  Now, the most important step, and that is, to sandwich the frame package between 2 sheets of 3mm Medium Density Fibreboard.  Lastly, the package should be double-wrapped in good quality, 20-mm cell bubble wrap. The whole parcel construction is schematically detailed below:  1) Top outer layer of 20mm cell bubble wrap, 2) Top outer protective panel of 2 mm MDF, 3) Top outer layer of double wall cardboard, 4)  Top inner layer of single wall cardboard,  5) Inner cushion of double wall cardboard between 2 poster frame,  6) Bottom inner layer of single wall cardboard,  7) Bottom outer layer of double wall cardboard, 8) Bottom  outer protective panel of 2 mm MDF, 9) Bottom outer layer of 20mm cell bubble wrap.

Well, you might say, that takes a bit of work, and that’s not mentioning all the materials one would have to get, or to buy from somewhere. And after doing all that anyway, is there any guarantee that your parcelled frame will arrive to their destination safe a nd sound?  Alas,  there is no 100% guarantee  All we can say is that by adopting the parcelling steps and methods describe above, we were able to reduce our parcels’ transit breakage rate from 5% to around .08%.  The reason it can’t be 100% is because we can’t safeguard from casual, careless or downright incompetent handling from some drivers or couriers.  If you photo frames parcel is stacked insecurely and drops from a pile of parcels 2 or more metres, chances are that the glass will break, no matter how well packed.  Much the same cause and effect will occur if the courier driver throws the parcel around in his van, or on a house’s driveway or runs over it.  And while we can say that 99% of the driver we know make responsible deliveries, there’s always someone who sometimes does the wrong thing and that’s how we end up with damaged or lost parcels. A fourth and last consideration, and one which is underused and underutilized, in our opinion, is the adhesion of warning tapes around  parcels.  Our standard practice is to tape the top of the parcel with one or more warning tapes such as “FRAGILE” and “TOP LOAD ONLY”. While the former is well known, the latter not as much, but, we find, is just as useful. This is because most courier drivers will tend to place as so marked parcel on top of the their loads, rather than at the bottom.  As a last, finishing touch, we always write “GLASS” and  “PLEASE DO NOT DROP”  on the parcels and shipping label. Again, we find  that most drivers tend to take a little extra care with these parcels, all of which helps.

Then again, with all that said, it is impossible to package all parcels all the time in such a foolproof way so as to prevent damage in all eventualities. Nevertheless, if you do try to adopt all of the above tips and suggestions, you should greatly diminish, if not obviate,  the likelihood of these unpleasant events.

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