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How to pack irregularly shaped items
How to pack irregularly shaped items

Guidelines from UPS® on how to properly pack items with irregular shapes and sizes

Updated over a week ago

If you're shipping an oddly-shaped item such as a tire, a wooden pallet, or a guitar, you won't be able to fit them in standard rectangular packaging. UPS considers these types of items irregular packages, and you'll need to follow certain guidelines for packing them before you ship.

You'll also need to select the "Irregular Package" checkbox underneath the Extra Services tab when creating your label, as seen here:

Packing Irregularly Shaped Items

Here are examples of how pack some irregularly shaped items, from the UPS website:


  • Apply a wide band of pressure-sensitive tape through the center of the tire and then completely around the body of the tire, so the tape attaches to itself

  • Affix your label to the strip of tape where it covers the tread of the tire

  • Cover your label with clear tape to keep it from getting scratched if the tire rolls

Fabric, wallpaper, rugs, and tapestries

  • Pack your rolled goods in a brand new, corrugated cardboard box

  • If you ship your fabric or wallpaper roll in a plastic bag, be sure to use a bag with a minimum thickness of six millimeters. Make sure to wrap the bag as tight as possible and tape it against the roll to reduce the risk of tearing

  • Tape your label on the flattest surface of the item that you are shipping, and cover the whole label with clear tape

  • Be sure to not use what UPS calls "flying tags" (or tags that hang from the item you're shipping)

  • Place any duplicate labels inside roll cores or between top layers of material

Bundled and strapped boxes (aka pallets of boxes)

  • Only strap same-sized boxes together

  • Use a minimum of four crossed bands with two bands in each direction

  • When strapping boxes together, make sure that each box is strong enough to hold the total weight of the strapped bundle. For example, when you band two boxes that each weigh 40 lbs together into a single package that weighs 80 lbs, both boxes must have a minimum weight capacity of 80 lbs (aka how much weight the box can hold)

  • Write your address information on every box in the bundle

Bare metals

  • Tape corrugated cardboard pieces to all sharp or protruding edges for protection, and cover the other surfaces of the item with cardboard pieces as needed

  • Tape your label on the flattest surface of the item, and cover the entire label with clear tape

  • Don't use any "flying tags"

Large packages

  • Use brand-new corrugated boxes that are strong and haven't been used yet

  • Once it's packed, seal the box with heavy-duty tape (preferably reinforced) by applying three strips to both the top and bottom of the box so the middle and two edge seams are sealed

Pro Tip: If your package is over a certain size, you may need to pay a Large Package Surcharge. This UPS surcharge is $73.50 for commercial destinations, and $81.25 for residential addresses.

UPS subjects Large Packages to a minimum billable weight of 90 pounds, and they apply this surcharge on a per-package basis for both domestic and international services.

For domestic shipments, the Large Package surcharge applies when:

  • The package has a length (longest side of the package) plus girth (2x width + 2x height) exceeding 130 inches

  • The package has a length (longest side of the package) exceeding 96 inches

For international shipments, this applies when:

  • The package has a length (longest side of the package) plus girth (2x width + 2x height) exceeding 130 inches

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