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How To Package For Shipping vs. How To Prep for Display at Craft Shows

Online sellers face a few challenges when they sell both online and in craft sales. Packaging for shipping and prepping your items for a craft show is just one of these issues. You want to be prepared for the craft show while at the same time be ready to ship the item at a moment’s notice. Do you store your item ready for shipping, or ready for craft shows? Maybe more importantly, how do you package your item for shipping? We’ll cover that question as well discussing some display ideas for craft shows. Remember, these are my suggestions based on my 3+ years of shipping across the country and around the world. What works for me might not work as well for you, it’s up to you to decide what’s right for you.

Packaging for Shipping

When you package your items for shipping across country, or the world, making sure your product will arrive safe, secure, and in one piece is your main concern. Making the packaging pretty and appealing to your customer is a secondary concern. What do you do? How do you package you item?

Firstly, what do you sell? Is it something fragile and breakable? Is it a print where it might get damaged by water or by being bent? Do you sell soaps or other body lotions? Small items like jewellery?

Fragile and Breakable

Firstly, I suggest you invest in a roll of bubble wrap! Make sure to wrap your item carefully and thoroughly as you don’t want it arriving broken. I’d suggest sending fragile items in a box either stuffed with recycled newspaper or the styrofoam peanuts (although this isn’t as environmentally friendly) to cushion your item and to keep it safe. It’s unfortunately not be as pretty as some of the other packaging options available but, while pretty packaging is nice, having your items arriving safely is much nicer. Anything over 2cm wide will need to be shipped via Light Packet or Small Package which is a bit more costly at the post office, so make sure you take this into account when setting your shipping costs.  Oh, and always use the FRAGILE stickers on your packages.


Invest in CD mailers if you’re selling small prints and sheets of cardboard if your prints are bigger than that. Make sure to send your prints in plastic baggies so they are protected from water damage. Always use the DO NOT BEND stickers on your packages. Postal workers, sadly, don’t always see these (I’ve had a few prints arrive bent) so make sure you use more than one! Prints are one of the few products that will fit through the Slot of Doom at the post office – meaning it’s under 2 cm wide and won’t need to be shipped light packet/small package – which makes it a bit more affordable a shipping option.

Body Lotions and Soaps

While it might be tempting to send your products in a envelope, there is always the danger of water damage, or of fragile lotion bottles being broken. My suggestion is to package your items in either a padded poly envelope (poly envelopes are waterproof) or a box (packaged the same as with fragile packages). Yes, it costs a bit more, but your product is much safer.


You can find some pretty cute boxes and bags for shipping jewellery in, what you use is your choice. Shipping jewellery, depending on the size of the item can be done either via Light Packet, Small Package, or regular mail (within Canada). Jewellery, unless it’s a chain or something flat, can easily get lost, bent or broken, even sent in a padded envelope so I suggest you either wrap the item securely with tissue paper or bubble wrap, or send it in a cute jewellery box.


One good place to source out for shipping needs is Uline.  They’ll sell everything you need for shipping but be warned, the quantities they sell may be more than you need. It might be worth it to split a shipment with a friend.


Prepping for Display

Packaging, or setting your items out for display at a craft show is totally different. You want your customers to be able to view, pick up, and handle your items so they can make a more informed purchase. You want your customers to see what you have, not the box it comes in. Spread your items out, display them neatly on racks, in trays and in display cases to make you items approachable for your customers.

For example, the rings below are laid out so the customer can come along and pick one up to try on. They are displayed neatly in trays for maximum exposure.












The earrings below are hung so customers can view them while the tins of push pins are displayed neatly on a rack for maximum viewing pleasure.


While being prepared for shipping your item is a good idea, if you’re selling at a craft shows having your items already packaged is not ideal as you will need to remove the item from packaging for display at a show. My suggestion for you is to be prepared, make sure you have the supplies you need for shipping on hand,  but store your items prepared for craft shows instead.

Until next week, happy packaging!


Next week’s How-Tuesday topic: PayPal Shipping: The Best Thing Ever?


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Attracted to shiny things, hence my fascination with making jewellery, I also make fun things involving dinosaur buttons and felt. Mad organizational skills in the office that never quite seem to transition to the home front, but what is life without a little chaos?

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