One of the golden rules of packing is “Keep it tight”. Make sure there’s enough paper in there to prevent items from shifting. Fill in all the holes.
Then again, rules were made to be broken – sometimes.
One of those times is when we are packing dried flower arrangements. These items are a delicate breed; we need to keep them safe in the box without letting anything touch those fragile leaves and flowers and assorted other pretty parts. Yet we need to secure it in the carton so it doesn’t bounce or tip. Faced with such a task, the temptation might be to tell the customer it’s best if they just keep it between their feet in the Penske.
Dried flower arrangements come in two basic flavors. ‘Dimensional’ is the kind that sits in a vase, on a table somewhere, often visible from all sides. ‘Flat’ is the kind that, predictably, is flat on one side, meant to hang on a wall or otherwise only be seen from the front. We’ll cover how to pack dried flower arrangements of both kinds here.
Flowers arranged in a pot or vase will obviously need to stand upright in the carton, just as they do on the table. To keep them upright, we need to fashion a sort of nest of paper at the bottom of the box, a cradle of packing paper that will allow the vase to sit in its little custom-sized space, snug in a bed of packing paper that holds the vase on all sides.
Done well, this nest of packing paper will keep your flower arrangement from tipping over or even from ending up leaning against the side of the carton.
The temptation might be to put down a layer of paper, put the flowers in and then start stuffing more paper down around the vase. This strategy may well work. Care must be taken, though, not to break off any of those branches and twigs sticking out all over. Use your best judgment in this.
This sort of situation is easier to deal with. Simply create a bed of packing paper for the arrangement to rest on, flat on its back in the box. As with the dimensional arrangements, we won’t be filling the rest of the carton with packing paper. The flowers, then, will simply be lying there, face up, like they are in a coffin – which may be a fitting analogy for the situation.
The risk here, you might imagine, is having that flower arrangement start bouncing around inside the carton in transit. We can write THIS SIDE UP and FRAGILE all over the carton, but trucks can’t read or adjust their suspension. So it is up to us to keep those flowers secure. But how?
Wads of packing paper on top of or all around a dried flower arrangement spells danger. On the other hand, string can work quite well. With your pencil or pen poke a hole in the side of the box and run a piece of string through low enough for a flat arrangement or center enough in a dimensional arrangement to hold the center in place without pulling on the more fragile and delicate outer parts – the leaves and flowers and stems. A flat arrangement may only require a couple of pieces of string to keep it adequately secured. A dimensional arrangement would need four, maybe more for a larger piece. Tape the ends of the string to the outside of the carton or, if you are slightly more ambitious, make your string run in loops back and forth through the box and tie the ends together.
To Tie or Not to Tie
Going the extra mile in securing your customer’s flower arrangements with string may or may not be necessary, depending on how good you are at creating a nest for that dimensional arrangement to sit in or how concerned the customer is about their dried flowers. Just know the option is there, and let your customer know that you are willing and able to do it for them. Even if they don’t think it is necessary they will appreciate your thoughtful professionalism.