Friday, 4 March 2016

How to Pack Cookies for Shipping

Dish of decorated flower cookies, photo by Honeycat Cookies

It's taken a long time to work out how to pack my cookies so they not only survive in the post, but also create the best impression when they arrive.


My first attempts were shoddy - I tried to fit as many unwrapped cookies into round tins as possible; I had to hand cut circles of bubblewrap and greaseproof paper to fit; sometimes I tried to stuff in bunches of cookies tied up in bags. I might as well have just tried chucking them out of the front door. Naturally there were breakages, but surprisingly not so many that people minded too much, and they kept ordering, and so I kept experimenting.


Close up of cookie gift box with ribbon and customised tags by Honeycat Cookies

Eventually I realised I wanted the opening of the box to be part of the pleasure of ordering the cookies. After all, they've taken a leap of faith and confidence in my ability, they don't know what they're going to see, and I'm not happy with anything less than delight! Layers of recycled bits of card and bubblewrap, whilst effective, aren't pretty. So this is what I've been doing for a little while. Gift boxes that are both pretty (and let me play with frills and furbelows and fancy things) and sturdy.


Layout of materials needed to gift wrap and post cookies by Honeycat Cookies

Equipment:

Stiff royal icing 'glue'
Palette knife
Chocolate-box style cushion padding cut to size (I get mine here: click on the product code to see a picture)
Cellophane bags to fit cushion padding
Heatsealer
'Pizza' style cardboard box (similar to this)
Tape, ribbon and tags


Dabbing royal icing on reverse of decorated cookie as glue to attach to cushion padding, by Honeycat Cookies

Once I've worked out the arrangement of the cookies on the cushion padding, I attach each one with two or three small dabs of royal icing 'glue'. A small amount will fix them quite firmly so they won't move in transit.


Cushion padding layers with decorated stylised flower cookies, photo by Honeycat Cookies

They can be gently plucked off without tearing the paper, and just leaving small flat dabs of icing on the base of the cookie.


Decorated cookie removed from cushion padding showing dried dabs of royal icing, cookie and photo by Honeycat Cookies

I have large cellophane bags that fit over the cushion pads, and I heatseal them in place.


Heatsealing layer of flower cookies into cellophane, photo by Honeycat Cookies

Each layer can lie on top of the next, with a final sheet of bubblewrap over the top prior to closing the box. These two inch deep boxes, with 5 ply cushion padding, and my cookies, will fit three layers comfortably with no movement.

Rather than wrap ribbon around the whole box, so that the customer has to undo it in order to see their cookies (most orders are gifts for people they know, rather than for themselves), I put tape and ribbon over just the lid, so that it's both pretty and accessible.


Customised gift box of decorated flower cookies, photo by Honeycat Cookies

The gift box then goes inside a resealable food bag, so that it's not affected by damp in the Royal Mail warehouses.


Decorated cookie gift box wrapped in plastic prior to shipping, photo by Honeycat Cookies

This then sits inside a larger postal box surrounded by packing peanuts.


Plastic wrapped customised cookie gift box in postal box with packing peanuts prior to shipping

Royal Mail 'small' parcel boxes will fit two of my gift boxes, making it a lot more affordable than it used to be - which is excellent news as all the couriers whose small print I've looked into don't actually carry 'foodstuffs', and are therefore unlikely to pay out if they were at fault over a damaged parcel.

And finally, here's a bunch of flaars... (and a whole bunch more in my 'flowers' video playlist in my Youtube account)