Shipping and logistics for ecommerce brands & 3PLs

How to Ship Fragile Items in 7 Simple Steps: [Full Guide]

man packing up fragile items

“Fragile shipping” refers to the process of preparing, packaging, and sending items that are susceptible to damage during transit. This requires special attention to packaging and handling to ensure that the items arrive at their destination safely.

If your main goal is to understand how to ship fragile items, then you’ve come to the right guide.

In here, we’ll help you understand why businesses should emphasize this shipping method, and how you can apply it to yours as well.

With that said, let’s get right into this topic.

Why Is Fragile Shipping Important for Businesses?

an ecommerce owner thinking about something

It’s really important for businesses to focus on ‘fragile shipping’ because it keeps products safe, makes customers happy, and builds a good reputation for the business.

Here are the main key points:

Keeping Things Intact

The main goal is to make sure that items like glass ornaments, pottery, or electronics don’t break while they’re being shipped. Using the right packing materials and techniques keeps everything safe and sound from the moment it’s sent off until it arrives.

Making Customers Happy

When someone orders something fragile and it arrives in perfect condition, it makes them really happy. A great unboxing experience can make a customer want to come back and buy more, and maybe even tell their friends about how good the service was.

Avoiding Wasted Money

When fragile items are shipped the right way and don’t break, it saves money. There’s no need to send replacements or deal with refunds, and it helps avoid the hassle and cost of dealing with unhappy customers. 

How to Pack Fragile Items for Shipping

worker trying to pack a fragile product

Shipping fragile items involves careful preparation to ensure they arrive safely at their destination. Here’s a comprehensive guide based on various expert sources:

1. Select the Right Box

Use a box that’s slightly larger than the item to allow for cushioning materials. Avoid reusing old boxes as they may lack structural integrity​.

2. Use Quality Packing Materials

Invest in high-quality materials such as bubble wrap, foam inserts, packing peanuts, or crumpled paper to protect the item during transit. It’s crucial to wrap each item individually and ensure the box is filled so that items don’t move around​.

3. Double Boxing

For extremely fragile or valuable items, consider placing the wrapped item in a smaller box filled with cushioning material, then placing that box in a larger one also filled with protective materials. This method provides extra safety.

4. Seal and Label Appropriately

Seal the box securely with strong packing tape. Clearly label the package as fragile on multiple sides to alert handlers. You can also use specialized labels like “Handle with Care”.

5. Carrier Considerations

Different carriers offer special services for fragile items. For instance, USPS offers a Special Handling-Fragile service for an additional fee, ensuring the package is treated with extra care. UPS and FedEx also handle fragile items but may not charge extra unless special handling is requested​.

6. Test Your Packaging

Before finalizing your package, it’s a good idea to test how well it holds up. Gently shake the box to ensure nothing moves inside. This can help you determine if additional padding is needed​.

7. Insurance and Tracking

For added peace of mind, consider purchasing shipping insurance and using tracking options. This can be particularly valuable for expensive or irreplaceable items.

These steps should help ensure that your fragile items are packed, shipped, and arrive safely.

Good Examples of Shipping Fragile Items Properly

a box of fragile boxes

Now that we’ve gone through the process of shipping fragile items, here are some examples of how fragile shipping is executed in various scenarios, each highlighting different aspects and methods used:

Example 1: Shipping Artwork

Artworks, especially paintings, are particularly vulnerable to impacts, scratches, and environmental conditions.

Using custom-made crates and specialized wrapping materials like acid-free tissue and foam boards minimizes the risk of damage, preserving the artwork’s integrity during transit.


Use a flat, sturdy box or a custom-made wooden crate for paintings.


Wrap the artwork in acid-free tissue paper, followed by bubble wrap.


Place foam boards around the artwork inside the crate for added shock absorption.


Securely tape the crate and label it with multiple “Fragile – Handle with Care” stickers.

Example 2: Shipping Glassware

Glassware requires careful handling due to its susceptibility to breaking from impacts.

Individual wrapping and the use of compartmentalized boxes help ensure that the items do not touch each other, reducing the likelihood of breakage, while clear labeling guides handlers on how to manage the package safely.

Individual Wrapping

Each glass item is wrapped separately in bubble wrap.


Items are placed in compartmentalized boxes with dividers to prevent contact.


Additional packing peanuts are used to fill any remaining spaces in the box.


The box is clearly labeled as “Fragile” and “This Side Up” to ensure proper handling.

Example 3: Shipping Electronics

Electronics are not only fragile but also sensitive to static electricity, which can damage components.

Anti-static bags, combined with robust cushioning and double-walled boxes, protect against both physical shocks and electrostatic discharge, ensuring the electronics function upon arrival.

Anti-Static Protection

Electronics are first wrapped in anti-static bags to prevent electrostatic discharge.


Bubble wrap is then used to encase the electronics completely.

Box Selection

Electronics are placed in double-walled boxes that are slightly larger than the items.

Sealing and Labeling

Securely sealed with strong tape and labeled with “Fragile – Electronic Equipment.”

Example 4: Shipping Ceramic Items

Ceramics, like glassware, are prone to cracks and breaks if not handled carefully.

Wrapping each piece individually and using air cushions and foam for internal packaging structurally secures the items against jolts and bumps that occur during shipping.

Individual Wrapping

Each ceramic piece is wrapped in tissue paper and then in bubble wrap.

Structural Integrity

The wrapped items are placed in a sturdy box with a layer of foam at the bottom.


Spaces between items are filled with air cushions to prevent movement.


Marked as “Fragile” and specific handling instructions are provided on the box.


As we’ve looked into the best ways to ship fragile items, it’s clear that using a great warehouse management system like Packiyo can really improve the process. 

We offer features like Rapid Pack & Ship, Mobile Smart Pick, Bulk Ship & Returns Management, and Automation Co-Pilot, which are perfect for handling fragile items safely and efficiently. These tools help streamline your operations and reduce the risk of mistakes during manual handling and shipping.

If you’re looking for more similar topics, then we encourage you to explore our blog where we cover things on 3PL, Shipping, WMS, and more.

We hope that we’ve helped you understand the process of shipping fragile items properly, and we look forward to seeing you in our next article!


Got more questions on how to properly ship fragile items? We may have answered them below!

What are the best packing materials for fragile items?

The best packing materials for fragile items include bubble wrap, foam inserts, packing peanuts, and air cushions. These materials provide shock absorption and prevent movement inside the box during transit. 

For items that require extra care, such as electronics or glass, consider using anti-static wraps or specialized dividers​.

How should I seal and label a package containing fragile items?

Seal the package using strong packing tape, ensuring that all seams and flaps are securely taped. Label the package clearly with “Fragile” and “Handle with Care” on multiple sides. 

Additionally, use “This Side Up” stickers to indicate the orientation that the package should be kept in during handling and transit​.

What is double-boxing, and when should I use it?

Double-boxing involves placing your wrapped item inside a smaller box surrounded by cushioning material, and then placing that box into a larger box also filled with protective materials. 

This method is recommended for highly fragile or valuable items, as it offers double the protection against impacts and vibrations​.

How do I choose the right shipping carrier for fragile items?

Select a carrier that offers special services for handling fragile items, such as dedicated fragile handling, temperature control for sensitive items, or enhanced tracking and insurance options. 

Compare services and prices from carriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS, who offer specific options tailored to fragile shipments​.

Should I insure my fragile shipment, and how do I do it?

Yes, insuring your fragile shipment is highly recommended, especially for items of significant value or irreplaceability. Most carriers offer insurance options at the time of shipping. 

Declare the full value of the item and keep documentation like receipts and appraisals in case you need to file a claim​.

What extra steps can I take to ensure the safe delivery of internationally shipped fragile items?

For international shipments, use robust packaging compliant with international shipping standards. Include all necessary customs documentation and consider additional padding and moisture barriers to protect against various environmental factors.

Research the destination country’s import restrictions and standards to avoid any issues with customs​.

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