Packaging and Posting Boxes: How to Seal and Secure Them

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Packaging and Posting Boxes: How to Seal and Secure Them

Most people probably do not think about packaging and posting boxes all that often; however, a little basic knowledge can make all the difference when attempting to package something or send an item via post. All boxes used for packaging items are typically referred to as cardboard boxes, although some are made out of heavy cardstock or other materials. While boxes made of other materials may be acceptable for packaging smaller items, they are usually not strong enough to support heavier items or sturdy enough to be sent through the post without requiring some sort of outer packaging.

When individuals are packaging items either for storing or shipping, it is important for them to ensure they have the right type of box, that it is strong and sturdy enough to protect the item being packed, and that the box is secured properly. Failing to do all of these three things could result in the item being damaged during shipping or storage. The tips provided here can help individuals package items properly for both storing and sending via post.

Brief History of Cardboard Boxes

The first cardboard boxes were actually made of paperboard, similar to the boxes cereal is sold in today. Invented in England in the early 1800s, these boxes made it easier for people to package a variety of products, including dry foods. A Swedish chemist named Carl F. Dahl invented cardboard in 1884. The process he used to treat paper pulp made the finished produce resistant to bursting and tearing, which is why the material is now used to make boxes of all sizes.

Corrugated cardboard, which is cardboard with a fluted layer in between two flat layers, was actually inspired by a product used to help keep the shape of men's top hats. Early top hats utilised cardstock shaped into a cylinder to hold their shape; however, in 1856 fluted paper was introduced as a new material for keeping top hats in perfect shape.

This new fluted paper was later used to wrap glass bottles and other delicate items for shipping because the fluted paper provided more protection than regular paper. Box makers soon realised that sandwiching a layer of fluted paper between two flat layers created a much stronger box that was still lightweight and fairly inexpensive to produce.

Selecting the Right Box

Before packing anything into a box, individuals must first acquire a box. While some individuals choose to repurpose boxes they already have on hand, others prefer to purchase new boxes, especially for valuable items or heavy objects. There are several advantages to buying new boxes rather than using existing boxes. First, the integrity of used boxes may have already been compromised. This means that items packed in these used boxes may not be as safe as items packed in brand new boxes.

Additionally, when sending items via post superfluous information or extra addresses on the box may result in the box not making it to the correct destination. A final reason to choose new boxes over old boxes is that the size of the existing box may not be the perfect size for the item the individual wishes to package.

When shipping items via the post, or any delivery service for that matter, it is best to have a box that is just big enough to hold the item. This prevents the item from being shifted around and potentially damaged during shipping. If padding is needed, individuals should opt for boxes that are approximately five centimetres larger all around. This allows room to accommodate the item and the protective packing material like packing peanuts and bubble wrap.

Cardboard Box Strength

Strength is another important factor to consider when purchasing cardboard boxes. The term strength refers to the amount of weight a cardboard box can hold without suffering damage. This is especially important when packaging and shipping heavy items because boxes that are not strong enough may end up breaking during transit. The item inside the box may break or become damaged as a result.

There are two tests that are used to determine the strength of cardboard boxes: the edge crush test and the bursting test. The edge crush test determines how much weight is required to cause the sides of the box to crumple while the bursting test measures the force required to break a cardboard box. A box's ratings on both of these tests are typically listed on the bottom of the box and can help individuals determine if a box is strong enough to meet their needs.

Bursting Test

Edge Crush Test

Box Construction

Maximum Weight



Single-wall corrugated

30 kilogrammes



Double-wall corrugated

43 kilogrammes



Double-wall corrugated

45 kilogrammes


Individuals who plan to send boxes via post or to move stored items frequently should adhere to the maximum weights listed above to avoid damaging their belongings. For best results, individuals should also ensure that the box is good condition before packaging anything inside of it. If the box looks like it has been used or damaged, it may be wise to use a different box.

Acceptable Methods for Sealing and Securing Boxes

How a box is secured is just as important as the strength and overall condition of the box itself. Sealing a box, especially the bottom of a box, with inferior tape or tape that is not designed for this purpose could cause the box to fall apart. While some individuals may be tempted to use whatever tape they have on hand to tape up a box, this could result in the item inside the box being damaged or broken. Ideally, individuals should use packing tape, which is tape that has been designed specifically for securing boxes.

Packing tape is usually available in clear and tan, both of which are acceptable. Packing tape should also be a minimum of five centimetres wide to provide enough support. Individuals should not use masking tape, duct tape, or any other type of tape because they are not designed for use with cardboard and may not hold up.

In addition to packing tape, individuals can use staples to secure a box; however, they need to ensure that they are heavy duty carton staples that have been designed for this purpose. Individuals may want to consider using glue in addition to the staples to ensure nothing escapes the box. Standard staples should never be used to secure a box.

Self-Seal Boxes

Some boxes, referred to as self-seal boxes, come with adhesive on both ends of the box. The adhesive is covered with a piece of paper, which is removed by the user when he or she is ready to assemble the box. While self-sealing boxes may be fine for lighter weight items, such as paperweight and small objects, they may not be strong enough to hold heavier items, especially if these items are not secured properly. Individuals who want to use these boxes may want to add an additional layer of packing tape to ensure that the contents arrive intact.

How to Properly Seal a Box

In addition to using the right type of tape, individuals need to assemble and seal the box properly to protect the contents inside. The first step of building a box is to tape up the bottom. To do this, individuals need to fold in the shorter sides of the box first, then the longer sides. Once all four sides have been folded in, it is time to apply the packing tape. The tape should be placed along the centre of the box and should extend over each side of the box by at least 5 centimetres.

Tape should be applied along the centre of the box where the two longer sides meet as well as on both sides of the box. Each time tape is applied, individuals should be sure to extend the tape a minimum of 5 centimetres on both sides. While one strip of tape should be sufficient on each seam of the box, individuals can apply a second piece if they are not confident about the quality of the tape or want to be certain the box remains intact.

After the box has been filled, individuals should repeat the same taping process on the top of the box. Once the flaps have been folded in, one strip of tape should be applied down the centre of the box and one strip on each side.

Shopping for Packaging and Posting Boxes and Packing Tape

Individuals interested in purchasing a couple of boxes or a roll or two of packing tape may be able to find what they are looking for at local office supply stores or some of the larger department stores. There may also be box stores or stores that sell moving supplies in some cities, but these may not be available everywhere.

Another option for shopping for boxes and packaging materials is to check out the online selection. Typically, online retailers sell their products for less than local stores, so this is a great option for individuals who need to purchase bulk boxes or packing supplies. Prospective buyers should make sure to check out the selection on eBay before making a purchasing decision. The site has numerous listings for a variety of products, so buyers should have no problem finding the perfect boxes, tape, or supplies on eBay.

Buying Cheap Woodworking Items on eBay

If you want to take a look at the listings available on eBay, the first step is to determine which item you are shopping for. For example, if you want to purchase packing tape, type that phrase into the search box. Once the search results load, you can browse the listings or narrow down your results using the filters on the page. When shopping for boxes, you can purchase a bundle of same-size boxes or a variety pack, which is especially handy when moving.

Before making a purchasing decision, prospective buyers should read through the listings carefully to determine exactly what is included in the listing, including the sizes and quantity of boxes or the number of rolls of packing tape. Prospective buyers should also review the seller's shipping options, especially for larger quantities, which could cost quite a bit to ship. Buyers should also check out the seller's return policy so they know if the item can be returned or not.


Packaging items does not have to be difficult as long as individuals remember to purchase a box that is the correct size and strength, and secure it with the proper type of tape. While it may be tempting for individuals, especially those who package or ship items frequently, to use one size box for all of their packaging and shipping needs, this is only recommended when individuals use the proper packaging materials, such as packing peanuts or bubble wrap. Otherwise, the item inside the box may shift around during transit and get damaged.

Individuals with the proper knowledge regarding box strength and determining the right size box for a specific item should be able to find the perfect packing solution for just about any item. These individuals should also remember to use the correct type of tape when securing these boxes to ensure their contents remain intact. This knowledge ensures that prospective buyers can find the perfect packing boxes, packing tape, and other packing items on eBay.

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