Here’s quick tutorial to make a mailer from re-used (free!) materials you can find around the house or locally. You’ll need a nice sharp box cutter or exacto knife and a sharpie or similar marker.
Other recommended items/themes you’ll notice is painters tape and re-use of common shipping materials (reduce, re-use, recycle).
Let’s start with a box made of nice sturdy cardboard!
DO NOT use those flimsy priority mail boxes for support or backing boards for support. They are not nearly rigid enough and even when stacked/taped together. They are weak. Only use them as “filler” as needed.
My favorite is FABULOSO (you’ll see why momentarily - I’m going to spend a little time on this), a laundry detergent sold by BJ’s Wholesale. You can find these near the check-outs with other boxes that are provided to shoppers instead of grocery bags (or even go hunt them don in the store ).
[Note: If you have your own box, then you can skim past the Fabuloso portion below - but there are still some key points that apply to all packing .]
The best part about the Fabuloso box (other than the thick rigid material) is that it has a heavy insert.
This insert is easily divided up into 5 rectangles like so, with minimal waste.
Now onto the main box. Best to start by breaking it down flat.
You actually can get a smaller piece from a flap (#6) but this is slightly smaller than a comic so should only be used as extra reinforcement from bending lengthwise.
The back of the box can be divided up into 3 more pieces.
The sides and front into 3 more reinforcement prices. These have slight bends in them, but I’ll get to why that’s ok momentarily.
All said and done 12 pieces of reinforcement. Minimal waste.
One of the best things about this box is that you’ll get pieces where the currougation runs lengthwise and transverse. This is good because the strongest reinforcement is when you pair both kinds up, which creates a “lattice” or sorts, cross crossing. Very strong!
I ship in stacks of 4. As you can see with this box it provides a solid amount of rigidity.
Stack of 12 squares (2 Fabuloso boxes). Now onto packing the comics.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED STEPS:
(1) Do USE PAINTERS TAPE when securing the comic to the board (without the fold in this case). Other kinds of tape will be difficult to remove the comic, and could result in damage. The painters tape holds nicely to the cardboard while removing with ease.
(2) DO FACE THE COMIC DOWN when taping it to the board.
(3) DO ONLY TAPE THE TOP AND BOTTOM with tape to the board. Maybe the side opposite the spine is ok, but why risk it. If you tape the spine, even with the comic face down…IT MAY BEND THE SPINE during shipment…so don’t do it.
Lay the next board (without the fold) on top of the comic. Again, USE PAINTERS TAPE to secure it the the board below. Now you can safely tape all 4 sides, corners, whatever you want.
Now, if you’re using the fabuloso box, you can sandwhich the two inner boards with the ones that have a fold in them. These pieces are mainly to keep the inner boards from folding in half. The inner board should be strong enough to resist bending along the length such that these folds don’t pose risk the package (Note: I’ve done this 100+ times, and never had an issue…it’ll be ok!). 4 boards is better than two.
Also now you can use packing tape safely, if desired (since painters tape is expensive).
Now the wrapping. I like to re-use plastic mailers that usually are for clothes or other flexible items. They stretch with good resistance to tearing and shipping tape adheres really well to it. But you can wrap it in paper or a bubble mailer…just be sure to tape the corners well so the cardboard doesn’t tear out.
And there you have it. I can usually get the contents (one book) under 11 oz. I think that’s on par, if not better than, the gemini mailers…and unless you add additional reinforcement inside those comic mailers, I think this offers better protection.
**NOTE**: I will show you some other wrapping options I like using amazon mailers and grocery bags in subsequent posts.