Fragility is not a reason not to ship glass items internationally. Otherwise, it would be a significant limitation for collectors, museum collections, and the general public. Racking your brains over how to pack glass for shipping? Fortunately, there are some helpful tips and tricks for handling glass objects to ensure safe transport.
Properties of Glass
To understand how to pack glass for shipping, you should first learn about the individual characteristics of the object and the material of manufacture. The main feature of glass, fragility, results from its molecular structure and material composition. The main components of glass are silica (quartz), potassium (potash), calcium (lime), sodium (soda), and lead. Other elements determine different colors of glass. Iron can color glass blue-green, nickel violet or brown, copper red, cobalt dark blue, manganese violet, chromium yellow-green.
Glass, especially old, has destructive tendencies and reacts to RH (relative humidity). It causes a number of specific manifestations of chemical and physical instabilities in glass, such as crizzling, delamination, pitting, or solarization.
How to Pack Glass for Shipping?
There is a list of simple and logical packing rules you can follow to transport glass items around the world without damage.
It is important that you minimize contact with the glass and use latex or nitrile gloves when packing. Cotton gloves are not recommended as they cause slipping. Avoid touching handles or nozzles of glass objects as they can break easily. During shipping, the art objects should be fixed from below and from the side.
Do not use abrasive, acidic, and staining packing materials and pack all removable parts separately. The most common packing material is bubble wrap, which is used as a shock absorber. Avoid fibrous cushioning material to prevent it from sticking to flaking surfaces. Use uncolored, acid-free tissue paper, Tyvek, and Volara polyolefin foam for wrapping, then stack glass items in cardboard boxes or double-walled corrugated boxes. Glass items should be separated from each other with soft materials (about 3-4 inches apart) so that air circulation is not impeded.
Packaging cartons containing glass should be placed in a visible location that is free from shock. It is best to provide a stable, climate-controlled environment during shipping to prevent damage to the material. The optimum temperature for glass is 15-25°C (59-77°F) and humidity of 40-60%. The allowable range of variation is 39.2 °F (4°C) or 5%.
Fine Art Shippers has extensive experience in handling the most fragile works of art. If you are still unsure about how to pack glass for shipping, feel free to contact us to ensure the safe transport of your collectibles.