No matter how weird an item might be, it’s got to be packaged at some point. And unusual packaging for weird and wonderful items can take many forms. Specialist packaging solutions are not always big or complex – or even all that unusual looking, half the time. But even though packaging for odd items might sometimes look conventional, it’s most often been designed to meet several criteria that normal packaging just can’t meet.
In this post, we look into the world of unusual packaging – for the oddly-shaped, the extraordinary, the wild, the unwieldy, and the unmentionable…
Welcome to the wild side of packaging!
One unusual packaging solution we have experience creating is koi packaging – designing the custom bagging and boxing required for transporting these prized aquatic animals. Packaging design takes a real turn when you’re designing for living things. There’s just so much to consider, even down to the orientation that you stack and transport them.
Learn more about koi packaging for transit
Being fish, they need water – so the packaging has to be watertight. Polythene bags are of course perfect for this. But they’re delicate, soft-bodied creatures, too, so they’ll need a rigid outer shell to protect them. Cardboard boxes can be used to retain shape and add rigidity – but other materials (like polystyrene) can be used, too.
On top of all that, they need well-conditioned water, loads of oxygen, a cooling system, and some shock absorption along the way. It’s a highly specialist packaging system, made up of many components, all designed to limit injury and stress to the animal in transit.
The unmentionable side of packaging…
Sometimes, people send and receive items that – while perfectly normal and healthy – they don’t particularly want to broadcast to others (wink wink, we’re talking about adult products). And this means discreetly packaging items for delivery.
A great way to maintain customer privacy is to use opaque polythene bags as outer packaging. As well as keeping the delivery private, outer packaging bags allow the original product packaging to be used, and add an extra element of protection through tamper-proofing.
Custom packaging solutions for oddly-shaped items
Packaging things that don’t fit in boxes or regular bags requires a custom solution. And these solutions can vary in their complexity, based on the end goal, the storage being used and the transit method.
Sometimes, it makes sense to use oversized boxes, stuffed with void fillers, in order to maintain a regular, stackable shape. This allows more items to be safely transported or loaded onto pallets – but it can be wasteful. It all depends on the item being packaged up. So, let’s look at some scenarios…
Fragile, priceless, unwieldy – or all three?
We’ve chosen a few outliers to study, and possible packaging solutions for them.
Packaging for antiques and artworks
Often fragile, often highly valuable, antiques and artistic works can be very tricky to package and move. Oil paintings, for example, can take months to fully cure – so moving unfinished paintings or works in progress needs a very carefully designed packaging solution that doesn’t touch the painted surface.
Antiquities, like vases or chandeliers, need multiple layers of protection. For instance, a fine china vase would need to be carefully wrapped in tissue, bubble wrap and an inner polythene bag, before being boxed twice: once with a tightly void-filled inner box, and then once more with a double-walled, loosely filled outer box.
Specialist packaging for archeological artefacts
Precious and ancient items are often a nightmare combination of extremely heavy and extremely fragile. Simply getting them out of the ground is often enough to break them, so transport can be highly destructive, and if any moisture or contaminants enter in transit, they can be destroyed.
Specialist packaging for archeological artefacts often calls for heavy duty polythene to act as an impermeable barrier, at multiple stages in the packaging system. Such items, depending on size and weight, will need to be placed in wooden crates with void fillers, and loaded onto pallets for delivery by specialist couriers.
Bikes aren’t exactly weird, but they are wonderful – and quite hard to package, as it turns out. New bikes come almost fully assembled, with just handlebars and pedals to fit, and this makes the resulting package very large and unwieldy. Bikes are pointy, too, so boxes and bags can be punctured easily. To aid this, loose items get tied down so they can’t fall out of holes, and pointy bits (like cranks, axle ends and steerer tubes) are topped with bumpers.
The whole bike can be bagged in heavy duty polythene, too. This can prevent corrosion or moisture and dirt ingress, and will keep components in one place if the outer packaging gets damaged. Speaking of which, the outer is usually a large, rigid cardboard box.
Sofas, chairs, mattresses and other big pieces of furniture can be challenging to package – but we’ve got that covered here in a post all about polythene furniture packaging.
Wine bottles are oddly-shaped and fragile, with a decent weight to them as well. When shipping a single bottle, things are fairly straightforward – pad it well, and give it a rigid outer shell. When multiple bottles are benign sent out, it’s a little more involved…
They are usually packaged in cardboard boxes, with “fragile” and “this way up” markings. Inside, there’ll be some padding and cardboard dividers between the bottles. But to go a step further, each bottle can be placed in a polythene bag; that way, if one bottle breaks, the whole package won’t be compromised.
Unusual packaging requirements? Try our specialist packaging services
At NPF Packaging, our specialist packaging services take advantage of artful design, multiple materials – and always aim to meet your specific goals. If you’ve got unusual items that need to be packaged, talk to our experienced packaging specialists. Get a quote online, or call us on 01773 820415.