General Instructions for Shipping Dolls
When shipping a doll to me to work on, I prefer the doll be shipped a certain way to prevent any further damage. These instructions can be used for shipping dolls in general, with a few caveats.
- Wrap the doll. Bouncing around a box or rubbing against the inside of the package can cause "shines," or shiny spots in the vinyl. Shines can be time consuming to remove and the vinyl may never look exactly the same even after repairing a shine. To prevent that, make sure you wrap the doll in white tissue, plain bubble wrap, or a white kitchen trash bag. Never wrap the doll in colored tissue, grocery bags with printed designs, or anything else colored, as the color can transfer.
- Drop-proof the doll. Remember that packages get dropped and tossed all the time in transit, and pack accordingly. Vintage hard plastic or composition dolls will require much more padding than American Girl dolls. I like to keep and reuse the biodegradable peanuts American Girl uses in their boxes, but bubble wrap and air pillows work well too.
- Make sure there is no empty space in your box. Your box should be packed tightly enough that you have to lean on it to tape it shut. It will be stacked on a pallet with other boxes and any empty space or loosely packed space inside will make it prone to collapsing under the weight.
- Insure the doll. My general rule of thumb is to insure anything I don't want to have to pay for out of pocket if it's lost or damaged in transit. USPS provides $50 of insurance automatically when sending Priority Mail, so keep that in mind. If you're not sure how much to insure the doll for, ask me.
All dolls shipped to me for repair MUST be insured. I am not responsible for dolls lost or damaged on their way to me, and reserve the right to refuse service on dolls sent without insurance or regard to my instructions.
How to Save Money Shipping Dolls
People sometimes get sticker shock from the price of shipping a doll, but it's almost always inflated by the box being too big. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping your costs down.
- Make sure your box is only as big as it needs to be. For large dolls, this typically means a long, skinny box. Be sure to keep the volume under 1,728 cubic inches (a cubic foot) to avoid being charged dimensional weight. For instance, for an American Girl doll, a box with the dimensions 20" x 10" x 8" would be 1,600 cubic inches, and therefore under the threshold for dimensional weight. Be sure your box size allows at least two inches of packing material on all sides for more fragile dolls.
- Build American Girl doll shipping boxes using two Priority Mail shoeboxes. USPS provides boxes free of charge when shipping Priority Mail, and two shoebox size boxes make an ideal box for an 18"-19" doll. Tape up one end of the first box, leaving the flaps on the other end open. Put your wrapped doll inside. Cut the other shoebox in half and fit one half of it over the open end of the first box, taping it to the appropriate length and taping the top flaps closed.
- For American Girl-style dolls being sent for restringing, shipping in a seated position is fine. Usually you would never ship a doll seated because of the stress it would put on their stringing and their bodies, but if I will be restringing the doll for you anyway, it won't hurt to ship seated and it may save you money on box size. Just be sure to wrap the doll to prevent shines. Never ship a doll you've sold in a seated position unless you have gotten the buyer's approval first!
- For eye, face, or hair work, you may send just the head. If you are only having me work on the head, feel free to mail just the head to save money! All of the other guidelines for packing and insurance still apply.
Is your doll all ready to go? Contact me for my mailing address using the form in the sidebar!