Bubble wrap is a mobile staple. It is easy to use, provides extra cushioning, prevents scratches, and prevents dust and dirt from entering packaged items. It’s also relatively inexpensive, and you can save it for your next move or package delivery.
However, you may not realize there are both right and wrong ways to use it. If used incorrectly, you can lose all the protection it provides, or worse, damage some of the finishes on your item. Use it correctly and it is one of the best packaging materials out there. Before you take the next step, make sure you know how to use bubble wrap to provide the best protection for your valuables.
Why use bubble wrap
Originally intended as textured wallpaper, it had its first success as a packaging material in 1959, two years after its invention when IBM was looking for a way to protect its products during shipping. It offered flexibility and cushioning that wasn’t available at the time. Here’s why it’s still one of the best packing materials for your move:
Ease of Use: It is one of the easiest packaging materials to use. You just wrap it around an object and secure it with tape. Because it’s flexible, it can fit just about anything, no matter how awkwardly shaped it is.
Protection: The air in the two fused plastic sheets forms a bubble film. It even prevents items from being scratched, chipped, or broken when dropped on the floor. It also keeps dirt, dust, and moisture out.
Weightless: Because it’s made of air, it adds little weight to your case. This makes it easier to lift your moving case, which in theory reduces the chance of hurting your back during the move.
Reusable: Move again? If you need to ship an item, you can save it for the next move or use it as packing material. Since you can roll it or store it in a paper, it doesn’t take up much space.
When to use it
When packing for a move, you can use bubble wrap to cushion almost anything. However, you’ll especially want to use it when packing valuable, fragile, and odd-shaped items. Consider using it when packaging:
- Goblet and Porcelain
- Wall art and mirrors
- Flat-screen TV
- Computer screen
- Vases and Lampholders
- Glass tabletop
- Sharp edges or corners
Depending on the project, you may also want to use wrapping paper. For example, they leave marks when it comes into contact with computer screens, TV screens, and glass surfaces. You will need to wrap the item in paper first and then in bubble wrap. Also, if you have a hollow item like a vase, you should fill it with shredded wrapping paper for extra support before wrapping the item in bubble wrap.
Types of bubble wrap
It comes with ¼” to 1″ bladders. The most common size is 0.4 inches. Typically, smaller bladders protect items from scratches, while larger bladders protect items from collisions. Given the nature of the movement, you’d be better off buying a larger bladder as it will also prevent scratches.
There are also different types of bubble wrap. In addition to being standard, you’ll find it weighs more, has larger air pockets, is more durable, and comes in an anti-static form. The pink anti-static version is exactly what its name suggests: it protects electronic devices from static electricity, which can fatally damage them. If you use regular bubble wrap on your computer, static electricity can build up and ruin it.
Use face up
When using bubble wrap, the air bubbles should be facing in and touching the item being wrapped. Not only does this provide more cushioning, but it also reduces the chance of blisters bursting during exercise. Plus, the structured bubble side of the pack grips items and holds them in place.
The flat side facing out also makes it easier to apply the bubble wrap and allows you to write on the wrapped surface.
How to Use Bubble Wrap for Moving
Set up your workspace on a flat surface and collect materials before you start. you need to:
- Bubble wrap
- Wrapping paper
- Adhesive tape
Start grading items. Glass items and anything with a screen must first be wrapped in kraft paper to prevent bubble wrap from leaving marks on the surface. Likewise, hollow items need extra support with crumpled kraft paper or newspaper before wrapping them in bubble wrap.
Next, place the item on a piece of bubble wrap long enough to wrap it at least twice. Roll the item like a burrito and secure it with a strip of tape along the sides and ends. Then, if you like, label it and put it in the box. Heavier items should be placed at the bottom of the box, while lighter, more delicate items should be placed at the top.
Unusually shaped items may require more effort. For example, a wine glass needs extra padding around its weakest point, around the glass. Wrap several layers of bubble wrap around the stem and secure. Once the stems are adequately protected, add wrapping paper to the jar itself and wrap the entire jar in bubble wrap.
You may need to add extra paper between the bubble wrap items in each box to cushion before sealing. Label the box and mark it as “fragile”.
Packing a mirror, artwork, or flat-screen TV? In addition to wrapping items in paper so that the bubble wrap doesn’t leave marks, make sure you’re using the correct box. No matter how much bubble wrap you use, a box that’s the right size for your artwork or TV will provide the best protection.
Because bubble wrap is so durable, you don’t have to throw it away after moving. Conversely, if you need to ship a box, save it for the next move or use it as packing material. You can also donate it to others while moving or recycling. Most recycling centers will accept it, even if your new hometown doesn’t.
Are you planning to move?
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