The Best Ways to Pack Your Fine China for a Move

by Dusty Rhodes on Sep 07, 2017  in 
  • SMARTBOX Moving Tips
Moving Tips

If you are planning to move, proper packing is very important to keep your fine china well protected from damage during the moving process.  Because fine china is notoriously very fragile, you need superior packing methods to ensure these delicate items do not chip or break while in transit.  When packing these items it is important to work on a soft surface, so you might want to work on carpet or lay blankets down to provide a cushioned work surface.  Once you have a soft work space, lay all of your items in front of you and pack each piece following these important steps.

Step 1
Place a sheet of packing paper or tissue paper flat on your work surface.  The sheet should be large enough to completely cover the item.  Place plates face down and wrap them completely, folding the corners inward to cover the plate.  For bowls and cups, crumple on or more pieces of packing paper or tissue paper and place it inside the bowl or cup.  Then, wrap them completely, folding the corners inward and securing them with tape. 

Step 2
Place a large piece of bubble wrap flat on your work surface. Place plates face down in the middle of the bubble wrap and cover them completely, folding the corners inward and securing them with tape.  For bowls and mugs, hold the packing paper in place in the middle as you carefully turn the bowl or mug over.  Wrap it completely in bubble wrap, securing the corners with tape.  (For cups with handles, cut a 4-6 inch wide strip of bubble wrap and place it around the handle of the cup.  Tape it securely) 

Step 3
Use a cardboard box that is just big enough for the plates to fit snugly.  If the box is too big, the items could slide around and get damaged.  Place each plate face up in the bottom of a sturdy cardboard box.  Repeat with each plate, stacking them carefully.  For bowls and cups, do not place them inside each other.  Instead, make a single layer of bowls or cups by placing them carefully in the bottom of a sturdy box.  Cover them with a substantial amount of peanuts or packing paper and if there is room, place another layer of bowls or cups on top.  Secure the box with plenty of heavy duty tape.

General Packing Tips

Choose the Right Box

When packing fine china to ship, selecting the right box is crucial. We recommend you choose a sturdy double-walled dish barrel box that can hold up to 10 pounds (4.5kg) of weight. The majority of the dish barrels are environmentally friendly and specially designed to transport fragile items, including antique glassware. Proper and safe shipping entails packing only the right number of pieces into a box. If the box is too heavy, you risk damaging your fine china during transit. Once you've chosen the right box, cover the bottom of the box with packing peanuts or cushioned packing foam before adding any wrapped items.

Wrap Each Item Separately

Use bubble wrap, plain newsprint, or tissue paper to wrap each item separately. However, note that the ink may transfer to your wrapped pieces when using printed newspapers, leaving them stained. When wrapping, make sure there are adequate layers and padding around each china cup, bowl, and lid. Don't skimp on wrapping and packing supplies! Once you've placed the first layer of cups or plates in a box, place a layer of bubble wrap and fill up any gaps around the items with additional packing peanuts. Continue packing the box layer after layer until it is full. Then, tape the middle and side edges of the box with packing tape before labeling it with a marker. 

Acquire Your Materials

We recommend using new, unused packaging materials to ensure maximum protection for your items. Furthermore, you must use new materials if you intend to insure your items while in transit. To determine the type and quantity of packaging you'll need, start by measuring and recording each piece of china. Then look for a box at least one inch (inner dimension) larger on all sides than the widest part.

Materials List

  • Dish barrels

  • Inner cardboard boxes

  • High-quality packing tape 

  • Packing peanuts or bubble cushioning

  • Bubble wraps

  • Ink-free packing paper or tissue paper

  • Cardboard dividers

  • Labels or markers

Group Like Items

It's important to note that when packing, put cups with cups, plates with plates, bowls with bowls, and so forth. Grouping like things together is key in dealing with items of different types and sizes. If some of the items are particularly fragile, try packing each piece separately in a small box before putting all of the small boxes into one large one. But, remember that overloading one side increases the risk of damage - therefore, evenly balance heavy and light small boxes.

Always take precaution when packing delicate items such as fine china.  Taking the time to pack them properly, will ensure they arrive safely and undamaged at their new location.

Dusty Rhodes