How to Package Irregular and Odd Shaped Items for Delivery

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Sending irregular or odd shaped items via courier sometimes requires a little more effort than normal, especially when it comes to packaging your goods for transport. Irregular and oddly shaped items include triangular, cylindrical, round and unusually long items.

Round & Triangular items

Round objects, such as footballs, car wheels and tires for example, should not be sent without an appropriate packaging container. A suitable packaging container is usually a strong cardboard box or plastic container that fits the item comfortably without bulging out at the sides. Your item should always be wrapped with a flexible internal packaging material like bubble wrap, polyethylene foam sheeting or Kraft paper, before being placed inside the box.

The extra space inside the box should also be filled with an internal cushioning material, such as loose polystyrene chips for example, to prevent your item from moving or sliding around inside the box during transit. Make sure you place some cushioning material at the bottom of the box too so that your item is fully suspended inside the box.


Do not wrap your item in internal packaging materials alone and think this is sufficient for transport, or cheaper to send, as it is not. Round items that do not travel in a packaging container of some sort are more likely to incur damages in transit by rolling off the conveyor belts at the sorting facility, or lose their shipping label and incur delays in transit.

It is also worth noting that you will be charged based upon the measurements to the nearest square equivalent (the widest points of your object) rather than on the exact measurements of your item, so you might as well use a box to package your item in.


Cylindrical items

Cylindrical objects such as posters, tubes and carpet rolls for example can present a tricky packaging issue. If the item is small then it should be wrapped in a flexible internal packaging material like bubble wrap or polyethylene foam sheeting or Kraft paper, before being placed inside a box with suitable cushioning materials inside.

If the cylindrical item is hollow and fragile then placing cushioning material inside the hollow space will help to support the cylindrical structure during transit. However, if the cylindrical item is too large to be placed inside an appropriate box or container, then you may be subject to additional handling charges by your courier. This is because the item requires extra care in transit and cannot be placed onto a conveyor belt at the sorting facilities as it may roll off the belt.

In this case the best thing you can do is wrap your item in internal packaging material, and then wrap thick layers of flexible cushioning material around it, before wrapping another thick layer of internal packaging material around it. Alternatively you could shrink wrap the item after cushioning it. When placing your shipping label on a cylindrical item that cannot be boxed, you should ensure that you place the label width ways, rather than length ways, as otherwise the courier will not be able to scan the barcoded shipping label.

Unusually long items

Unusually long items like finishing rods or car bumpers, for example, present an additional issue of ‘stability’ when it comes to packaging them for transport via courier. This is because the longer the item, the more fragile the middle becomes, and the more risk there is of the item snapping or breaking during transit.

The best way to avoid breakages for unusually long items is by first noting where the middle point is, and then noting where the halfway point between the middle and each end are: These points, along with each end of length, are the fragile areas that need support, bracing and cushioning.

First you should cover the entire item in a thick layer of bubble wrap (use at least 2 inches/5.08 cm of thickness to protect your item), and then wrap an additional thick layer of bubble wrap around each of the fragile points and ends, before either shrink wrapping it (this may be your only option for extremely long items) or placing it inside a long rectangular box. All couriers have restrictions on the maximum length they can accept into their delivery network and most also apply additional handling surcharges for long lengths over 150 cm.

To avoid disappointment it is highly recommended that you check what these restrictions are with your courier in advance. Finally, it is also important to note that you will need to book any long length parcel collections 24 hours in advance with your courier in order for them to guarantee collection on the day you require.

If you are at all unsure of how best to package your irregular or odd shaped items then consult your courier services company for further guidance and advice.

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