Keeping delicate materials safe during shipping can be a challenge, as even the most cautious shipper is going to hit bumps and dips along the roadway and in many cases, the slightest jostling or jarring can damage a certain piece. There are things you can do as a shipper to keep delicate materials safe while in transit, other than just stuffing a shipping box with foam peanuts. Note a few of those suggestions here.
1. Start with acid-free paper
Newspaper and other types of paper are not always safe for delicate items, as they contain ink and acids and other materials that can rub off on your delicate items and damage them. When shipping artwork, colored glass, or any item that you need to wrap by hand, start with acid-free paper. This is usually available from any packaging store. This paper can also be good to use for anything that may leak oils or fluids of any sort, such as antique pens or handguns, as the paper will help to absorb those leaks.
2. Be careful of biodegradable materials
If you're very eco-conscious, you may want biodegradable materials for your packaging, such as real popcorn, paper made from natural fibers, and the like. However, these materials can more readily break down over time and especially when exposed to the elements; this makes them a good choice for when they wind up in a landfill, but not such a good choice when shipping materials overseas or for storing materials after they're shipped. Your biodegradable materials may easily break down when exposed to even the slightest saltwater spray or any moisture, and may naturally begin to degrade when you store your shipped item for even a short amount of time. For shipping items overseas, choose something that is more durable and that lasts longer.
3. Use foam inserts
Foam inserts keep materials in place while in a shipping container, more so that packing peanuts which may tend to settle, and bubble wrap which doesn't fit an item snugly. If you're shipping the same type of item repeatedly, you can get foam inserts made for that item and for its case specifically. Foam case inserts are good choice for items like vases or pottery with small, delicate handles, handguns that you're shipping in a single case, and anything with a glass front. Choose lightweight foam if you're worried about etching the surface of your item or something denser and thicker for a heavier item that needs more security in packing.