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HOW TO MOVE STAINED GLASS ACROSS THE COUNTRY/LONG DISTANCES!

HOW TO MOVE STAINED GLASS ACROSS THE COUNTRY/LONG DISTANCES!


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Hello Friends!!

In the past you may have seen me make mention that writing isn’t first nature to me and in my opinion I have always been somewhat of a disorganized writer but I am putting that insecurity aside temporarily for a great reason! Many of you who follow me on social media saw that I most recently made a big move from Laguna Beach California, back to colorful Boulder, Colorado. I won’t dive into all of the not so fun parts of my move such as flying all the way to Las Vegas just to get a moving truck and spending $2,500 on a truck just to drive it back 1,000 miles to my starting location since so many people like myself were moving out of California :). SO after thinking about packing and moving most my basic house hold stuff, glass was a whole other monster to consider! Of course the first thing I did was head over to google and see if anybody had some great tips on how to seriously move a lot of glass - and well the info was limited thats what I can tell you. Now I should note my collection of glass is rather large - I have HUNDREDS of sheets of glass. I mainly had lots of 12in x 12in sheets or smaller but I also had a big rack of sheets 24in x 24in and even larger. So it wasn’t as simple as putting it into the backseat of my car and throwing a few blankets in. This was going to be a PRODUCTION - and I had so much glass and tools we weren’t sure it could fit all in the largest size moving truck we could find (spoiler it did just barely all fit!).

Nonetheless since there were no good resources and tips for me when moving so I did what I do best and documented it so you could learn from me and have some peace in the future when you might have to move your glass an hour or 20 hours away :). Disclaimer I don’t think this post will help for international moving - in that case you might just need to hire a company to pack and ship for you. This works best if you are in the United States, maybe international moving locally and doing it yourself! So read on for my moving process and for some tips that may help with moving your glass small to large!!

PACKING MATERIALS NEEDED

So because I actively sell and ship quite a lot of glass I had the benefit of having lots of packing materials. Things that I used that will help for you when moving your glass depending on the size is…

  1. Cardboard boxes of all sizes, really 12x12 and larger boxes will be your friends, anything smaller can be used for transporting scrap glass or tools. Go to your local packing center/box store or purchase online. You can often find used boxes on Facebook Marketplace or other secondhand sites like Craigslist folks getting rid of moving boxes (the small Home Depot ones were a favorite of mine for my more medium sized sheets)

  2. Packing tape - Lots and lots of this you will need it!

  3. Packing Paper, stained glass paper - For my sheets I used packing paper to wrap each sheet, there is also this textured paper that you’ve probably seen before when you purchase glass that is used

  4. Towels and Blankets - having these came in handy to have with the big sheets, if you are moving anyways we used a-lot of our towels and rags as extra padding for those big sheets to save cost and keep things protected.

  5. Large pieces of cardboard or large sheets of that stained glass paper - Again I found these super helpful for protecting those large sheets of mine

  6. Costco Plastic Boxes"* - Now I had some long odd sized sheets and I used these boxes to help move some of my glass - they worked well (not for the tall stuff) but I was happy with using them and I could fit a lot of glass in them!

  7. Wood crates - Now this was a must to have for my large sheets, I was lucky enough to have a few glass shops donate these to me but they can be easily made DIY style if you can’t find some laying around!

SMALL TO MEDIUM SHEETS

These were the bulk of my glass moving duties - I have lots and lots of sheets that were smaller than 12x12 which made it mostly easy to transport them in small boxes. When moving glass you have to be mindful of the weight and how the box is positioned. You want to avoid laying a box flat (the weight of the glass on top of each-other makes glass prone to cracking, keeping as little weight as possible on the sheets is ideal) and then loading unprotected glass one on top of the other. Each sheet needs to be slightly insulated with no large amount of weight stressing it. So funny enough I packed most of my boxes sideways. Each sheet large or small, even odd sized was wrapped completely with some of that packing paper, most the time one sheet for special glass that I was extra protective of I wrapped it in 2 sheets of paper. Then I carefully loaded the box slightly tilted, honestly a couple I had to load flatly - again the key is to avoid lots of weight and even consider the weight limits of the boxes as well - load too much glass well you’re going to have a hard time moving the box. So I would estimate I fit about 10 -15 sheets in 12x12inch box. paper sandwiching and protecting each sheet - then right before I closed the box I added extra paper to ensure that there was no space for moving. A big key to shipping glass is allowing for almost no movement in the box. I will add some pictures below to share how I packed the medium sheets. I did not pack by color I really packed based off the sizing of the sheets so sheets that were most similar went into boxes together. I just felt that made for extra safe shipping and of course to use as few boxes as I could. When it came to much smaller glass - thinking more scrap sized pieces 5 inches and smaller well they were already scrap so I put them into color labeled 12x12 boxes transported the scrap with really no extra padding, Now I am certain some of the scrap broke but I was on a limited basis for time (it took me a month to slowly pack all my studio up) so I opted to let the scrap break smaller if it wanted to and it really didn’t and if it did well it didn’t pulverize it so you could have fooled me if it broke a lot, again I really didn’t notice any loss.

LARGE SHEETS

Now I have done several moves before locally and had no experience on how to pack and ship large sheet glass ever before. While I was in SoCal I bought a big wooden rack and about 100 sheets of glass and moved that via several car loads but that wasn’t an option this time. Large sheet glass is fragile and expensive you really really don’t want it to break/cut it up and it needed some extra care in how it was going to be transported. The first thing I had to think about was finding a physical vehicle to actually hold and protect the glass. I knew glass sheets where shipped to retailers in those giant wooden crates so I went to a couple local glass shops in California (I was spoiled because I lived by many) and asked them if they could donate a crate or two - I ended up with only 4 crates - there were shortages and supply chain issues so not a lot of free crates hanging around. BUT you can make these crates on your own if you go purchase the wood - you will probably need a nail gun to assemble. But totally DIY-able just give it a google. I recommend these crates as they were sturdy - with my packing each held about 20 sheets of glass and protected the sheets nicely in a shaky moving truck.

TOOLS ETC.

Tools tools, the nice thing about these is for the most part you won’t have to worry about them breaking. Similar to how I store then in my glass shop is how I choose to pack them. I.E. pliers all together in a box, chemicals in one box, lead spools. That just kept everything clean and organized for me. I took 12x12x6 boxes and just put my tools in, occasionally I would put in some padding and be mindful of how heavy the box would get but the tools didn’t take much thought to pack!

THE MOVING TRUCK

How did I pack the moving truck? I WISH I would have taken pictures of the inside so sorry about that but I will do my best to describe it. So we first started with loading the moving truck with empty crates. We had a 16 foot moving truck and four large wood crates so we put two on each side with tie downs securing them. Myself and a few helpers loaded the each large sheet one by one. The reasoning we did not have a great way to load the fully loaded glass crates which are several several pounds (like a crew or forlift they were too heavy to lift when full). So we loaded each sheet sandwiching each one with packing paper, bubble wrap, or cardboard. We made sure each sheet was sandwiched between the other so there was not a chance of scratching or having too much pressure in one point and cause a crack. We loaded all 4 of the crates completely full. All of the other glass was loaded in large cardboard boxes and smaller boxes. We loaded them carefully in a similar way to just regular moving boxes. Finally I wheeled my large wooden glass rack to the very back of the moving truck again tied it down and actually put lots of moving boxes in the glass rack to be mindful of space in the truck! All of my glass/tools/work bench etc. went in the moving truck, we had a 14 hour total drive to make.

UNLOADING

Something I silently accepted in my head as I was packing was I had made peace that may of my sheets would likely break - I had never done a move this big and had no guide as to how to pack any of my sheets so I had no idea how it go. I have to say I was amazed, out of hundreds of sheets less than 5 broke as I unpacked everything. I only had one large sheet slightly break and the other losses where smaller/medium sheets. The worst part once we got to our new house was really unpacking and reorganizing it all. I will say just due to the amount of stuff we had to make sure fit into the truck I wasn’t mindful of color coordination when I was packing - space was a big factor to me but if I had known I had more free space I might have tried to color coordinate my small medium sheets a bit better. Overall the fact they made it mostly all safe to the destination was a big win! I am not going to kid you unpacking took me several weeks, it is a daunting task to unpack and reorganize - IT IS A LOT - just give yourself time and grace it will all get done eventually :).

SUMMARY/THOUGHTS

Here are my thoughts over all, if you have a lot of glass like me start packing earlier to save stress - I spent a few hours everyday starting a month before the move and it made it less overwhelming to make sure all my glass got packed in time. Let go of hoping glass won’t break in the move - you may have one or two losses and you just have to accept that, glass is fragile but you will be surprised how resistant it is to all those bumps in the road. Work with your local shop/Craigslist/Facebook marketplace to get those packing materials early, and possibly free or low cost. Because I started early I was able to collect just enough material to pad everything without breaking the bank. Label everything as best you can for organization purposes - you will save yourself lots of time later. And yeah - you can do this - if I made it will all my sheets after that big move you’re going to be okay too! I’m going to drop pictures below so you can see my process from start to finish! I really really hope this blog helps you and gives you some ideas on how to make the big move with all your glass :)!



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