I thought it might help some of you out there to see a photographic tutorial of box-in-box packing. I took some photos of the packing process of my recent BotM trade.

My philosophy is to err on the side of caution. I take maybe an hour to pack my shipments on average, and use more materials than most people, but in return I'm rewarded with peace of mind. A side benefit is that a good box-in-box can be reused many, many times, with the outer box being replaced periodically.

Here's the step-by-step of me packaging a 6 pack + 1 extra:

One inner box
One larger, outer box
One small box, 8"x8"x12" or similar (to cut up)
Bubble wrap
All natural packing peanuts, ~$3 worth (all natural = no static cling)

  1. Find a suitable inner-box to contain your bottles + some padding. For this trade I settled on a box from a Goose Island 12 pack
  2. Wrap each of the bottles once or twice around with small bubble wrap and secure with tape.
  3. Figure out how you want to position your bottles in the box.
  4. From the small cardboard box, Cut and place rectangular separators between each group of two bottles.
  5. From the small cardboard box, Cut and place X shaped separators between each empty space between bottles. All separators in place. For the odd bottle, notice the V-shaped separator. To make an X separator, you need to cut two narrow rectangles and then cut a slit halfway down the middle of each one. Then interlace them and unfold the them until you have an X shape. These separators will tend to close or flatten, which is good because they will have tension and will stay in place once you wedge them open.
  6. At this point the bottles should be extremely snug from the tight-fitting cardboard separators. If you shake the box, nothing should move at all.
  7. If there is any "head room" at the top of the box, fill it with padding. Use whatever packing materials are available for this. Pic 1 Pic 2. The goal is to prevent the bottles from moving around at all inside the inner box. The inner box prevents from the bottles from colliding with each other due to the box shaking around.
  8. Now you can seal up the inner box. After the box is taped shut, place it inside a large garbage bag and tie it tightly shut. If anything breaks on the inside, the inner box will prevent the sharp glass from cutting the waterproof bag. No leakage = no legal problems!
  9. Now you can move on to the outer box. While the inner box is designed to prevent internal collision, the outer box is designed to prevent external collisions from damaging your shipment. Find a box with good clearance around your inner box in ALL 3 dimensions.
  10. Pack a tight 1-2 inch layer of packing peanuts on the bottom of the outer box.
  11. Center the inner box on top of that layer and tightly pack more peanuts around all four sides of it until you reach the top of the inner box. At this point make sure you've packed as much as you can around the sides.
  12. Finish filling the outer box with packing peanuts in as tightly as you can while still being able to close the flaps without bulging.
  13. Seal the outer box well with packing tape. I suggest using the common "H" taping procedure at a minimum. I usually add more tape on top of that.
  14. Give your box a nice, swift kick with a steel toed boot! Don't really do that. But if you did, your bottles would most likely survive.

Happy trading!

revision by statball— view source