Shipping Quilts Safely

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Securely attach return shipping instructions to your quilt

Put your name and address on your quilt’s label. If you have one, attach a business card to the quilt with a safety pin.

Put your quilt in a CLEAR plastic bag

This will protect your quilt in case the box gets wet. NEVER USE A GARBAGE BAG that is opaque! Someone could easily throw your quilt away without looking inside. (Please note, do not keep a quilt in a plastic bag for long-term storage.)

Use a permanent, water-proof marker to label the clear plastic bag

Don’t leave anything to chance. Mark the clear plastic bag with shipping instructions and return addresses. Many people also write their return address on the inside of the box itself. Put your address on everything.

Include a pre-addressed, return label

If your quilt is to be returned to you, include a pre-addressed label so there is no question as to where your quilt is to be returned. Make sure you use a shipping label that has a tracking number and be sure to write it down before you send it off. With many shippers, you can use that number to track the shipment on the internet. Make sure your label is taped securely to the package.

Use a strong, new box

These boxes are put through a lot of stress during shipment. Purchase a box that will not be crushed or broken open. You can buy extra strong boxes which are made for shipping china and crystal glasses. Or, you can use two boxes, one inside the other. If you do use a previously used box, pick one that is very strong like those used to ship glass bottles. Be sure there are NO stray addresses, barcodes, or tracking numbers from prior shipments on the outside of the box. If there are any old markings on a previously used box, your package can easily be misdirected and lost.

Use an unusually colored box

To maximize your chances of finding a lost package, use a distinctively colored box. One quilter marks her boxes with bright yellow and black striped tape. Another always covers her boxes with pastel colored contact paper. An employee is more likely to remember handling a box that is marked in an unique way.

Before you close the box, put a piece of cardboard on top of your quilt

This will help protect your quilt if a knife is used to open the box.

Tape every flap and seam

Secure any edge that could get caught in machinery or conveyor belts. Boxes can easily come open during shipment and contents can be separated from the box.

Do not use string, rope or masking tape

String and rope can get caught in machinery. Masking tape is not strong enough to withstand the stress of shipping.

Follow these tips if you use a tube

Some people prefer shipping their quilts in tubes. Tubes are nice because then your quilt can arrive at that important show without fold marks and wrinkles. Before you close up the tube, stuff crinkled tissue paper or newsprint in each end so your quilt doesn’t shift back and forth. Then be sure to securely tape each end. First use two long pieces of tape to make an X over the cap and wrap the ends up onto the tube itself. Then wrap more tape around the tube to secure the ends of the X.

Write the shipping address and the return address directly onto the outside of box with a permanent, water-proof marker

Paper or adhesive labels can be damaged or torn off, so this is in addition to the shipping label you have already used. If you must use a paper or adhesive label, do not place it over the seam where the flaps come together and be sure to cover the label with clear tape. Be sure you don’t put a paper label over any kind of plastic tape. Many times the adhesive will not stick well to slick surfaces like plastic tape and it could fall off. Cover all paper labels with clear tape.

Insure your quilt

Never ship your quilt uninsured! If you do not insure your quilt, the courier service you choose has no obligation to pay you more that the minimum amount, usually about $100. The cost of insuring your quilt is relatively small compared to the trauma of a lost quilt. Be sure you have an appraisal to verify the amount you are insuring your quilt for.

Get a receipt

Get some kind or receipt for your quilt. Choose the “signature required” option, if available. This means they can not just leave it on a doorstep, but they must actually hand your quilt to a person.

If you must list the contents of the box on the label, do not use the word "quilt"

The words "bedding" or "textiles" are sufficient description without attracting undue attention to your package.

Tracking numbers are great, but they are not fool-proof

Definitely make use of tracking numbers when available, but do not lull yourself into believing your quilt is automatically safe just because it is assigned a tracking number when you ship it. No system is fool-proof.

If you are flying, carry your quilt on board with you

Luggage is lost very easily and more frequently that we realize. If at all possible, put your quilt in a carry-on bag and keep it with you. If you must check your baggage, be sure it is insured and well documented.