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Packing Pottery and Ceramics for Safe Shipping

Beth E Peterson

Packing pottery and ceramics for a big move? First, gather your materials and supplies before you begin to pack pottery for mailing or shipping. You will need:

  • A clean table surface to work on
  • A pair of good scissors
  • A utility knife or box cutter
  • Clear shipping tape (with a tape gun, if available)
  • A clean plastic bag
  • Cushioning material such as bubble wrap, Styrofoam, and extra plastic bags for wadding
  • The smallest box possible, while leaving enough room for the pot plus one to two inches of cushioning material on all sides
  • Your pot

Avoid using packing peanuts. They have a thin coating of oil that can get onto pots (and other crafts or artwork). They also do not help with the most important thing of all when mailing or shipping anything fragile, freezing the object in place, which we will be talking about next.

‘Freeze’ Your Pot

It is vital to “freeze” the pottery in place when packing it for mailing or shipping. The pot should not be able to move in any direction once it is in the box.

It is for this reason that loose-pack cushioning material is not the best choice. Loose-packed material can shift during handling and transportation, which in turn can make the pot more likely to be damaged.

The best choice is a box just big enough to fit the pot after it has been wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap. The bubble wrapping should be a minimum of one inch thick, or two to three inches for large items. Fill any open areas with more bubble wrap, solid pieces of Styrofoam, or wadded plastic grocery bags.

How to Pack Pottery in a Box That Is Too Large

If the only box you have available is too large for the piece of pottery, it is essential that you fill the empty space in such a way that the pottery and its cushioning material cannot move inside the box. As you fill the empty space, add material so that the pot remains as close to the center of the box as possible.

If you have sheets of foam board available, it can be cut to the right dimensions and layered to fill up the empty space. Other solid forms that have a bit of give to them can also be used.

In the example photo, you can see that the pot is packed in a Styrofoam container (the cushioning material), with the blue box on either side. Both these blue boxes were empty. We filled them with wadded plastic grocery bags to stabilize them, then taped them closed.

Once inserted into the main box, they keep the pot and its cushion from moving side to side. The empty space at the top will be filled with more wadded plastic bags.

How to Pack Multiple Pots for Shipment

There are times when you may want to pack more than one pot at a time. For example, the photo is of pots made by Rose (Pots4MyPlants on the Pottery Forum) shows how she packs pottery that she is taking to a show. Rose uses upholstery foam, bubble wrap, and heavy-duty cardboard boxes.

Note how each pot is separated from everything else by a two-inch “sleeve” of solid packing material. This reduces the chance of pots breaking due to knocking against each other as well as the outside of the box. It also ensures a snug fit; freezing the pottery in place remains paramount.

If you are packing layers of pottery, separate each pottery layer with a two-inch (or more) layer of solid packing material, such as upholstery foam, Styrofoam, or foam-core. Be sure to have layers of solid packing material on the bottom and top of the box, as well. (If you are driving your pottery yourself, you may opt for open-top boxes. These will not need the packing material on top, but you do need to be careful you don’t overturn the boxes while driving.)

Complete the Packing of the Pottery to Be Shipped

Once the pottery has been packed, it is time to complete the packaging ready for shipping or mailing. Before sealing the box, carefully look over each of its sides. Remove any old shipping labels, especially any that contain bar codes. Any bar codes or bar code fragments will confuse the machinery used to process your package.

Close the box so that the top lays flat. Do not interlace the flaps. Make certain that the outermost set of flaps meet without gaps or overlaps. If there are overlaps, add more packing material until the box is completely filled.

Holding the box firmly side to side and working at one end of the box, attach the shipping tape to the side of the box facing away from you. Draw the tape up and over the top of the box, keeping the flaps firmly in place, and down three to four inches on the side nearest you. Cut the tape free.

Do the same for the other end of the box. Then, do the same following the seam where the two flaps meet so that the tape overlaps both sides of the seam. On the photo, the tape placement is highlighted with yellow arrows.

Place your label to the right on the top of the box. This leaves room for the postage or shipping labels. Double-check to make certain all old labels and bar codes are removed. (highlighted on the photo with red arrows.)

You are now ready to take your packed pottery to the post office or shipping service.

Learn how to safely pack pottery and ceramics to mail or ship with simple tips of how to pack it so it won't break.

Legally-Blunt

Posted by Meital Manzuri, Esq. | Jan 20, 2017 | 7 Comments

As the California legal marijuana marketplace grows, both sellers and consumers are increasingly wondering if it is possible to legally mail marijuana within the United States. The answer is a simple and resounding no. Importantly, this holds true regardless of whether the shipment origin or destination have laws legalizing marijuana. Let’s understand why.

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is a Schedule I drug. Schedule 1 controlled substances are those which, in the opinion of the United States government have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use.

And when it comes to our country’s mail delivery services, federal law trumps all other laws of the land. As a result, mailing marijuana is illegal across all modes of mail delivery. This includes private carriers such as FedEx and UPS as well as the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Marijuana and the United States Postal Service

Using USPS

Because the USPS is a federal government agency, it must strictly obey federal guidelines. Using the United States Postal Service to mail weed — even within the territorial limits of California (a pot-legal state) — is a felony under 18 U.S. Code 1716.

However, as U.S. postal workers are federal government employees, they need a warrant based on probable cause in order to search a package for drugs. According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, “first class letters and parcels are protected against search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, and as such, cannot be opened without a search warrant.”

Since the USPS offers some protection against search and seizure, it can understandably seem to be the safest way to ship marijuana. However, if a package seems suspicious, the USPS can get a search warrant. While this might seem like an acceptable risk, the punishment for mailing drugs through the U.S. mail can include up to a year in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Using UPS or FedEx to Ship Marijuana

Using Third-Party Carriers

Unlike the USPS, private third-party carriers – such as UPS, FedEx and DHL – are not federal agencies. As such, they do not even have to obtain a warrant to search a suspicious package.

Indeed, the Supreme Court has ruled that giving your package to a third-party “removes any reasonable expectation of privacy.” This means that private carriers have the right to open and inspect any package at their own discretion.

Furthermore, large private carriers have affirmed over and over again their willingness to cooperate with federal law enforcement in cracking down on illegal drug trafficking via mail.

For example, in 2014 FedEx was indicted for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances by transporting illegal painkillers and other prescription drugs. And in 2013, UPS paid $40 million to settle a federal probe into shipping drugs from illegal online pharmacies. Though neither of these cases involved cannabis, it shows how big the incentive is for private carriers such as UPS and FedEx to monitor packages for illegal drugs.

Risks of Shipping Weed by Mail

There risks of mailing marijuana are significant. For one thing, you can be charged under either federal law or the law of the state in which the cannabis shipment originated or the state to which it was delivered. Furthermore, charges will be compounded for interstate trafficking as well as based on the quantity of the marijuana. And under federal guidelines, mailing as little as 50 grams or less of marijuana can land in the federal penitentiary for up to five years.

Worsening matters, USPS and private carriers’ employees are offered a “reward” of up to $50,000 for information leading to convictions of persons mailing illegal substances. Even if you are only the recipient of the package, if you knowingly receive marijuana in the mail, your participation in the shipment is enough for you to be charged with conspiracy to distribute an illegal substance.

In sum, postal services are not drug mules. With the rise in the number of states legalizing marijuana, the DEA is now more than ever keeping a close eye on the shipment of packages across the country.

Yes — it is possible to transport your marijuana via mail. It happens every day and people get away with it. But remember, you’re playing the odds. The best advice we can give our clients is not to use the mail to ship your pot. At the very least, mail no more than 28 grams – California’s limit on recreational marijuana possession – and only within the borders of California.

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.

Legally-Blunt Posted by Meital Manzuri, Esq. | Jan 20, 2017 | 7 Comments As the California legal marijuana marketplace grows, both sellers and consumers are increasingly wondering if it is