Packaging Comics For Mailing - A “How To” Guide (and more!)

#1

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 :wink:).

[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.

FABULOSO!!!


**NOTE**: I will show you some other wrapping options I like using amazon mailers and grocery bags in subsequent posts.
1 Like
#2

Tales from the MASH unit, eh, Drog. :rofl:
Nice job on the detailed post. :+1:

#3

I like to also re-use Amazon Prime bubble mailers.

NEVER wrap the comic in bubble wrap unprotected.

For the record…a sleeve and backing board is still an unprotected comic.

As you can see even with 4 layers of thick cardboard the bubble mailer still comes in under 12 oz.

If you exceed 12oz by a few tenths then you can cut off the excess bubble wrap and and gain about 0.2 or 0.3 back.

Otherwise wrap it over he edge like shown. You really shouldn’t allow the cardboard to shift inside otherwise the interior tape may be compromised and the comic may slide around (not a good thing).

#4

Trader Joe’s has the best paper bags.


They are heavy stock and when you cut them in half you’ll have enough for two mailers…

And Trader Joe’s typically double bags = 4 mailers!

Still under 12 oz!

The best feature is that when you fold the ends over because the paper is such heavy stock, it won’t tear and it basically process a “cushion” for impact at the ends. I like these better than the bubble mailers, actually.


That’s all for now. Feel free to comment and share ideas!!

#5

@jcLu, there is no way you read through that before I made my follow up post!!! :grin:

#6

Man, that looks like terrible packaging. I use 2 thick cardboard squares with the comic, bagged and boarded, taped in between them. And then put that in a Gemini mailer with some bubble wrap/padding.

#7

I use Gemini mailers for when I ship multiples. The exercise above is primarily for single issues…or you’d stack them (I.e., add an extra layer or two per book).

Been doing this over a year. 201 positive feedbacks in 12 months (versus 0 neutral or negatives). And not a single complaint/return (I am in the minority in that I offer returns on eBay as I am confident in my grading skills and robust shipping practices)

I must be doing something right!

So, in the interest of constructive criticism (as opposed to just calling my methods “terrible” w/o any facts or backup), where do you see flaws?

Thanks!

#8

BTW, I do like Gemini but I am concerned with the thinness if their cardboard to resist blunt/sharp corners in the middle. Ive had a few close calls on the receiving end.

Securing the comic on the inside and also providing cardboard inside (sandwiching) is a must. Of course all that adds weight and likely puts you over 12oz. So not only are you paying 50c to $1 for the mailer, You’re in a higher shipping cost bracket on eBay.

I try to avoid those yet still shop comics safely first class. And pass those savings on to the buyer.

The pic below is a comparison of thicknesses of a Gemini mailer (bottom) to the cardboard I use (top).

Nothing is getting through this. I’ve even tested these packages over my knee…Gemini fails every time…Fabuloso method takes a helluva lot more force to bend it.

#9

Ive tested my methods as well, over the years, and I have my own little system that Ive developed and ‘perfected’. I also have 100% positive feedback, and a lot of feedback compliments my packaging.
It is always amazing how inept some sellers can be when shipping their items/books. I once received a mini ASM1 comic in an envelope. No bag. No board. No cardboard. No tape (thank dog). Just a book in an envelope. International. It arrived surprisingly safe. But when I contacted the seller, he brushed me off. :man_shrugging:

#10

This post is “Fabuloso”… I think that should be our new term when something is fabulous… Maybe I need to make a new Badge… :wink:

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