Friday, 13 April 2012

How to ship / post cake pops (the Cake Pop Princess way)

I get asked how to ship cake pops regularly, and I thought - rather than typing it out every time, why not create the most detailed tutorial possible? So here it is - if you have anything to add, please feel free to leave in the comments and I'll add to the post. This is my method - it's the only way I know and it works for me. In the last 18 months of poppery, and almost a thousand parcels,  I've only had three breakages in the mail - one where the box was crushed on one corner (2 pops out of 20 were damaged) which I assume was from being dropped onto a corner, and two where the pops had things that overlapped the edges - fondant in both cases. A pretty good track record, I think :)

A bit of background before I start: I live in the UK. I ship my cake pops all over the UK, and often Europe. Occasionally they've been as far as Brazil, Japan, or America (including Arizona and Florida). When it's hot the pops aren't particularly happy. My pops have made it in 35 C heat at my end, but it was a close one. If you live in a particularly hot place, you might want to consider only taking your pops to the post office just before closing, and using an overnight or expedited service.

Firstly, if you're going to post your pops you need to make sure they're as sturdy as possible. Try not to add lots of things (eg. ears) on top of the candy coating - I always put mine underneath. If you're using fragile fondant - perhaps for wings, then don't let them overlap the edge - stick everything down firmly. Means less things to ping off or break in the mail.

Let's start with the boxes. I use 9x6x6 inch and 9x6x3 inch single wall cardboard boxes. I buy mine on eBay (about £17 for 100). I could buy larger quantities but space is an issue here and I get told off by the hubby if I have too many boxes lying around (he's not happy about the 5 massive rolls of bubblewrap for about £30 I buy at a time either, but that's a different story!). 9 inch boxes are brilliant for 6 inch cake pop sticks, but will fit 7.5 inch sticks too. If you use longer sticks, you're going to need bigger boxes. 

I line my boxes with tissue paper. Not just because it's pretty, but because it helps to hold the pops in place. If the contents do settle during transit, the paper will keep them moving as one entity rather than bashing into each other. But mostly because it's pretty and I'm a sucker for pretty. 


After you've lined your box, you're going to need some bubblewrap to cushion your precious cargo. Remember than once your box is in the postage system, they won't be keeping it upright. More likely dropkicking it around the sorting office, so protect your babies at all costs!



If you're just sending plain pops without any fragile embellishments, then you don't need to individually wrap. If you're using 6 inch sticks, you can get 8 pops per layer, but 7.5 inch sticks will be limited to 6. Make sure you tuck all of your sticks under and to the side of the other pops - the last thing you want is a stick resting on the face of your pop in case they're crushed in transit. At least then the back is damaged but the face is okay. Don't ruin their pretty faces!


Separate each layer with a double layer of bubblewrap. 

You may have more fragile pops to send. I have varying degrees of bubblewrapping for such instances (yes, this is the exciting life I lead). This butterfly has a candy clay body that might get squished, so I give it a double layer of bubblewrap. 


Double it over, leaving a little room at the top. 

Now it's ready to box! 


Layer two has some bigger pops - there are only 6 pops on this layer. The amount of pops per layer is completely and utterly dependent on what you're sending. If you're worried, less is more!



This little guy has things that stick out of his head. The last thing I want is for those things to be touching the side of the box during transit, so I'm going to give him plenty of overlap when I wrap him. 



Layer Three has 8 pops again, but they're a bit fragile because they have mexican paste wings. Just in case I'm going to wrap them in a single layer of bubblewrap. Another double layer of bubblewrap between this and the next layer.

Then secure your tissue paper with tape, or a sticker. Isn't my sticker cute? No, really, isn't it? :)


Close the box. Give it a shake. Can you hear movement? If you can, you're going to need more bubblewrap (or packing peanuts, or shredded paper). MOVEMENT IS YOUR ENEMY!!!!! Sometimes I put a wad of cardboard hidden underneath the tissue paper at the bottom, to save costs as my courier doesn't weigh their parcels. Assuming I have cardboard to hand (I usually do; I'm a hoarder of cardboard).

Once it's all quiet on the Western Front, you can finish taping up your box.  And because you've gone to all that trouble inside, you'd best signify which way is up so the recipient gets the benefit when they open the box. You can do this with an address label, or another sticker, like I do. I do love my little stickers. Perhaps too much. I did mention earlier that I don't get out much, didn't I?


You're now ready to send! 


A few points to note: 

Are you sending in hot weather, or to a hot place? 
If it's hot where you are, then wrap each pop in bubblewrap, regardless of fragility, and refrigerate your box before you send for as long as possible (or keep your wrapped pops in the fridge until you box them - remember not to store unwrapped pops in the fridge as they'll sweat). Air is the best insulation. Those freezer bags at the grocery store? They're bubblewrap inside a shiny layer to look pretty. 

Don't put pops on top of pops!
They'll mark or dull each other if they rub against each other, especially if they're dropped from a height. For example, by a postal worker with butterfingers. Separate layers with bubblewrap. ALWAYS individually wrap your pops in cello bags, never leave them naked as they will mark against each other.

Got things to stick on your pop? 
Like eyes, or spots? Do it at the time of dipping rather than after it's dried with a blob of candy melt. Means a more secure attachment. Couldn't attach it before the pop dried? Use a hairdryer on low to get the surface tacky again (it'll go shiny) and pick up your sprinkle with a dampened cotton bud - so much more precise than a finger.


Hope this helps you in your posting endeavours - don't forget to stop by the UK Cake Pop Forum if you need any help with any aspect of cake poppery. We won't even mind if you're from overseas. No really, we love foreigners!


If you'd like to see more of my work, please do come on over to my website - www.cakepopprincess.co.uk
or join the lovely popfans over on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cakepopprincess. Sometimes I witter on about random things on Twitter too - just look for @cakepopprincess .

24 comments:

  1. Interesting and really good tutoroal

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  2. Thank you so much for posting this!!! I have just started shipping my pops here in the US and panic every time. So far I have been lucky but had a few sleepless nights!!

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  3. What a thorough post on packing cake pops! I would have loved to have this advice when I first started mailing cake pops! We currently hoard pink packing peanuts and bubble bags :0)

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  4. Thanks for all your comments - hope it can help you out! xxx

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  5. That was extremely helpful. I have friends out of state that have been asking about shipping my cake pops to them but was not sure how to do it. Thank you so much, now I may just have to try :)

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  6. #1 you saved me, #2 you are HILARIOUS!! LOVE your humor!! Thanks so much for posting!!

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  7. Thank you so much....you saved me.....

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  8. Can i ask which courier/postal service you use? Currently researching postage options for my food business.
    Great tutorial. thanks

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  9. Hi Kate, I use Interlink, but they can be a bit funny about other food options rather than just cake pops :) xx

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  10. Hia, Do you know if you can ship Cupcakes internationally? I'm thinking the flatter fondant style as several people have asked me and I'm wondering about if they come under perishable goods? x

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  11. Not sure that they'd travel particularly well - surely they'd go stale en route? Where are you sending to - some countries have strict rules governing fresh food.

    :)

    Bianca x

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  12. Thanks for the tutorial. I have a large cake pop order I'll be shipping for the 1st time. I noticed you dont ship with dry ice or ice packs. Is there no need?

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  13. Whereabouts are you based, Lindsey, and where are you shipping to? If it's a cold or temperate climate, and the weather isn't particularly hot, then no, there's no need. I'd still recommend using an overnight service. I've never used dry ice or ice packs and only once have I had an issue - shipping Internationally from the UK to Florida, and the parcel was delayed for 2 weeks in Customs.

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  14. Thanks you for this tutorial! I followed your advice last week and posted 12 cake pops just a little way down the country. I was a little worried about how they'd arrive after the lady in the post office was a little rough with them, but your tips on packaging meant they arrived in perfect order!

    Vicky x

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  15. Hello. I wanted to know what's the hottest temperature you've shipped cake pops in? I get asked to ship, but live in Florida and I'm scared.

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  16. Kenya, I really wouldn't, if I were you. The humidity and heat is a real killer! I don't really like to ship over 28 C, and even that is only because the order had been confirmed and paid for well in advance (UK weather is very unpredictable!) xxx

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  17. Ok thanks for the advice.

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  18. This is amazing! You're my hero!

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  19. You are a life-saver - thank you SO MUCH for posting this!! I've been able to start shipping in the US because of your tips. If you don't mind a question.. what exactly has happened when you ship to hot/humid areas? Do the pops crack, or just soften? I find that if I let my pops come to room temp in extreme heat or humidity, they crack unless I had dipped them at VERY close to room temperature to start with. I've been through all the tips on cracking and have otherwise solved this problem. Curious to know more of your experience. Thanks!!

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  20. Hello. I need to ship some from Nevada to Alaska. Do you think freezing the cake pops would make them last longer if I was going to send them priority mail and it takes a few days to get there?

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  21. how/ what do you charge for shipping

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  22. This is so helpful and I love your stickers. Do you buy them or print them?

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  23. Thank you soooo much for the tutorial - you truly are a life saver - well , at least a cake pop savior! (Love love love the stickers!)

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