There are many things to consider when it comes to shipping candles. If you plan for each challenge, you can avoid cutting into your profit margin and ensure your customers are always happy with the candles they receive.
Basic Shipping Tips for Packaging
You have many packaging options for candles. You'll want a supply of varying packing materials. These include:
- Packing peanuts
- Bubble mailers
- Packing paper
- Different sizes of bubble wrap
If you're shipping during the summer months and are concerned about heat and your candles melting, then you may need additional packing supplies. This includes:
- Thermal mailers
- Thermal bubble wrap
- Frozen gel packs
Stickers You Must Have
There are some stickers/labels you must have for your packages. These include ones that state, Fragile and Do Not Stack. Both of these labels alert package and mail handlers, especially the Do Not Stack, since the additional weight and pressure could damage pillar, taper, votive candles, or break a candle jar.
General Tips for Packing a Candle
You will choose the best way to pack your candles based on style and size. However, there are a few basic tips that you can use when packing any type of candle.
- Place a layer of peanuts in the bottom of the box to cushion the candle or custom box.
- Use packing peanuts to fill in around the candle or custom box.
- Stuff the corners of the shipping box with packing peanuts.
- Place peanuts on top of the candle or custom box, so it feels stuffed.
- Once you've finished packaging the box, shake it. There should be no movement of your candle inside.
Shipping Tips for Specific Types of Candles
The type of packaging you use will depend on the type and size candles you're shipping. As your candle business grows, you'll begin to see a pattern of the average number of candles per order and types. This information will make ordering supplies easier and more profitable. Not all candles will be shipped using the same packaging materials. Smaller candles will require different packaging than larger candles.
Don't scrimp on the shipping box. A flimsy box can be detrimental to your business reputation and customer trust. Incorporate the cost of shipping supplies into your retail pricing. The USPS guidelines recommend a minimum of two inches of cushioning between the items and the box walls. This could be 1" thick bubble wrap that wraps around the candle twice, or large 2" thick bubble wrap, which is more expensive.
Glass Jar Candle
Glass jar candles are probably the heaviest candles you'll sell. This type of candle requires a heavy-duty corrugated box. If you sell various candle jar sizes, then you may want a selection of various box sizes, so you don't end up with a large box to ship a small candle.
Some candlemaker prefer a snug fitting box, while others choose a box that allows the 2" between the candle and the box walls that is filled with packing peanuts or other packing material. Some candlemakers use custom boxes and pack these inside a shipping box.
- Wrap the jar in your choice of tissue paper and seal with a sticker.
- Cut a piece of bubble wrap from the roll that is long enough to wrap around the jar and tape closed.
- Select the shipping box that allows two inches on each side between the jar and the box walls.
- Add a layer of packing peanuts in the bottom of the box.
- Fill the spaces between the jar and box with packing peanuts.
- Cover the top of the jar with peanuts and close the box.
- Seal with shipping tape.
- Shake the box and if you feel or hear the candle moving inside, you need to add more packing peanuts until there is no movement or sound.
- Add stickers fragile and/or Do Not Stack.
- Create the mailing label and apply it to the box.
Never wrap pillar candles together. They should be wrapped individually, since they could jostle against each other and be damaged or worse, melt into each other.
- Wrap the pillar candle with tissue paper and seal with a sticker.
- Cut a length of bubble wrap and wrap the candle.
- Place candle upright in the middle of the box.
- Surround the candle with packing peanuts, making sure you pack snuggly in the corners and top of candle.
- Seal the box with packing tape.
- Shake box to test if candle is stationary and doesn't move or wiggle in box.
- Add stickers for fragile and Do Not Stack.
- Create and apply the mailing label.
Votive candles can be shipped in sturdy bubble wrap envelopes. You may prefer to ship in a small box for added protection. A lighter weight box than those use for glass jar candles can be used.
- Wrap the candles with tissue paper and secure with a sticker, then wrap each one with bubble wrap.
- Place inside bubble wrap mailer or custom box.
- Add fragile and/or Do Not Stack stickers.
- Apply mailing label and mail.
Taper candles are often sold in sets of two, four, six, eight, ten, or 12. If you're selling individual tapers, then you can wrap each one separately and ship in a sturdy bubble wrap envelope. If you sell tapers in sets, then you can wrap each candle as an added safeguard and place inside the divided sections. Very tall taper candles may require special boxes and packaging.
- Bubble wrap the box and place in bubble mailer or box filled with packing peanuts.
- Seal envelope or box.
- Add a sticker to alert mail handlers the package is fragile.
- Print label and postage and mail to customer.
Tealights can be shipped in various packaging since the candles are small and usually in a tin container. You can use a clear tealight box, a kraft paper window box, various tealight boxes, or a custom branded box.
If you're using a typical plastic tealight box:
- Wrap the box in bubble wrap and place inside a bubble mailer.
- Seal and add a fragile sticker.
- Print label, add postage, and mail.
You may prefer to use a heavy-duty branded cardboard tube with a lid to ship your tealights.
- Choose a tube with a slightly larger diameter than the tealights for ease in removing the tealights.
- Mail the tube by sealing the lid and placing the mailing label on the tube.
- For larger orders, pack several tubes in a box, seal, and add the mailing label.
Gel candles are usually in glass containers/holders. These candles need to be packed with bubble wrap to avoid breakage.
- Wrap the glass gel candle in tissue paper and secured with your logo sticker.
- Use 1" or 2" thick bubble wrap to wrap the candle.
- Place in a box with packing peanuts.
- Fill all the spaces around the wrapped candle and top with packing peanuts.
- Close and seal the box with packing tape.
- Apply the shipping label, postage, and mail.
Functionality vs Branding for Shipping Candles
When exploring various ways to ship your candles, don't forget your brand. USPS boxes and mailers can help you save on shipping costs, but what is the real cost to your branding and possible repeat customers? This is something you need to consider very carefully. It helps to put yourself in the customer's place and imagine how you would react receiving your product in the mail. What kind of unboxing experience are you giving your customers? You want your candles to arrive in pristine condition for customer satisfaction. However, you want to add a bit of beauty and branded packaging to enhance your customer's unboxing experience and further your branding efforts.
You may want to invest in custom printed mailer boxes. There are different grades of box choices that come in white, colors, or kraft brown with countless options for logo and graphics. The advantage of this type of packaging is free advertising. Each person who handles your package will see your logo/name.
While custom boxes are an ideal way to incorporate functionality and branding, you may not be at a profit point that justifies the expenditures for this option. There are other types of branded packaging to consider.
- Branded items that you print yourself or buy in bulk
- Logo stickers to seal the tissue wrapped around candles
- Raffia ribbon or twine with a tag, or bi-fold card tied around each candle
- Business cards to insert in package
- Thank-you card or company informational card
- Custom logo tissue paper
- Discount card/code for next purchase
Shipping Options for Candles
You have several shipping options. Many candlemakers factor in their shipping costs, which includes all packing materials, and advertise their candles with free shipping. This is an excellent marketing tool since customers are used to free shipping via Amazon and other Big Box stores. Offering free shipping allows you to be more competitive.
Ways to ship your candles include FedEx, UPS, and DHL services. Each of these services offers tracking. However, these types of shipping are more expensive than USPS (United States Postal Service). There are many advantages to using USPS to ship your candles, such as online discounts.
Best Kept Secret Is USPS Priority Mail Cubic
USPS Priority Mail Cubic is available and accessible through online shipping software. It is the cheapest shipping method that is also reliable. USPS Tracking® is included. Shipping software also gives you access to buying postage online and printing shipping labels. When you're ready to mail out your orders, just go online and schedule a pick up with USPS.
In addition to all the savings, the shipping delivery is between 1-3 days. When you use online shipping software for this service, there is a $100 USPS insurance that comes with it. There are a few specifications your package must meet to qualify for this service. This service is based on box size and not weight. Mailing tubes are not eligible.
- The box cannot be any larger than 18" wide, long, or deep.
- You can't ship anything over 20 pounds.
- The total volume can be no more than 0.5 cubic feet.
How to Ship Candles to Prevent Melting
Knowing how to ship candles without melting can boost your candle sales, if you currently avoid shipping during summer months. Candles can melt easily during the summer months, especially when stacked in a delivery truck. However, you don't sell/ship during the summer months, you're missing out on potential sales during months when people are outside at night and enjoy using candles. Some candlemakers swear by two techniques that prevent their candles from melting.
Use Frozen Gel Packs
Frozen gel packs can be packed with your candles. You can use them with a box or a bubble mailer.
For a bubble mailer:
- Place the frozen gel pack inside the mailer.
- Add some packing paper to absorb any possible moisture release from the gel pack.
- Insert the bubble wrapped candle.
- Add another layer of packing paper or bubble wrap.
- Seal the mailer, apply the shipping label, postage, and mail.
For a box:
- Place the bubble wrapped candle in the center of the box.
- Fill the box halfway with packing peanuts.
- Wrap the frozen gel pack with packing paper and place on top of the peanuts.
- Add more packing peanuts and cover the top of the candle.
- Close and seal the box with packing tape.
- Add shipping label, postage, and mail.
You should never freeze your candles prior to shipping. This can result in the glass breaking and candles cracking when the frozen moisture melts.
Ship in Thermal Bubble Mailers or Thermal Wrap
Many candlemakers swear by thermal bubble mailers or shipping candles. This type of mailer or wrap features a foil exterior. The combination of the bubble wrap prevents heat convection and allows airflow. The foil is said to reflect most of the radiant heat, so these two technologies work together to keep the wax from melting.
How to Protect Candles From Freezing Weather
Protecting your candles from freezing weather is easy. You just need to wrap the candles in bubble wrap and place in a box filled with packing peanuts. In the majority of instances, the bubble wrap and the packing peanuts will insulate the candle and protect it from freezing and cracking.
Easy Ways to Ship Candles
There are many ways you can ship candles. Most of these offer you ways to save money while giving your customers free shipping.