Shipping Action Figures on eBay

A little over one year ago, I took a long look at the excessive piles of stuff that plagued my apartment and my parent's house, and finally did something about it. I bought an eBay store, and started listing VHS tapes, DVDs, Video Games, Music, Action Figures, and other things on Half.com and eBay. Throughout the following months, it was incredibly successful. There were weeks when I'd have as much as 5 packages to send out each day. Things eventually died down, but there have been restock days every now and then.

Action figures have been the most annoying items to send because there really isn't a standard issue box to accomodate the variety of dimensions. Some are taller, some are fatter, some are heavy, some are fragile. Eventually, I came across a pretty effecient way to box them, and I'd like to share that with you.

How I box an action figure

For every action figure I sell, I create a completely custom box to ship it in. In order to create a box from nothing, I needed some cardboard. Cardboard is VERY easy to come by if you live in an apartment building that frequenty changes residents. One day I found two HUGE U-haul boxes in the recycling bin, which have served me incredibly well. I dragged those back to my apartment and stuffed them in our extra closet. I've found some more boxes over the months, so they've begun to pile up...

Cutting

With the largest chunk of cardboard, I begin measuring the dimensions of the action figure on the box. Though, usually, I just begin cutting with a box cutter. The dimensions don't have to be exact because cardboard bends and shape very easily. It's a great medium for builing sculptures. ^_^

There's one piece cut. Now to cut another piece of the same dimensions, and 4 others pieces to complete the other sides of the box...

Assemble

When putting the box together, I start at the bottom.

Each side has a strip of tape the extends the entire length of the edge. I make sure the edges are as flush as possible and that the tape has adhered as strong as possible.

With each side of the box, I tape those together where the ends meet...

When every edge has been met, I'll tape the edges to the base on the outside to ensure the bond is as tight as possible.

Now we have almost a full box, except for the top. But, we need to place the figure inside. I'll grab some bubble wrap from my box closet and place that into the box before the figure, so it has a nice little bed to rest on while inside.

I smother the rest of the figure with bubblewrap as well, so once the box is completely covered, there's no wiggle room.

With the figure completely submerged in bubblewrap, I place the 6th and final side of the box on top, and seal the figure inside.

Overall, to free the figure from its cardboard coffin, the recipient will have to do a little cutting...

Postal Wrap

But, we're not done yet. That box is really ugly, and looks somewhat fragile too. After assembling and sealing the box, I wrap it, too!

taadaa~. That looks a whole lot better than some cheap makeshift box.

Shipping

When shipping items through eBay, Paypal and USPS make it incredibly easy to print out your own postal and just drop the package off at the Post Office. You don't need to wait in lines, or pay anything there. Everything is done online, and the price your pay is mostly taken out of the money you've made from the sale.

The only input you really need is the weight...

I don't have a printer at home, so I print off the actual postal elsewhere. I also record the weight descretely in the corners of my package. I doubt the recipient ever notices..

Once I have all my packages packed and weighed, I set them aside until I'm near a printer in order to finish the transaction.

Printing

To print the labels, you just follow the instructions in your account pages.. it's pretty simple. You also need to know the dimensions of your package if the weight is over 13 ounces, forcing you to ship Priority instead of First Class. If I were shipping a bunch of CDs or movies, I could use Media Mail instead and save about $4.

The labels have been entered and printed, and now to affix them to the box...

I usually leave feedback right away, even though this isn't the preferred ediquette for eBay feedback. In general, sellers should wait for the buyer to receive the package and give their feedback, before giving their own. I don't really care, though... I buy almost as much as I sell, so I like it when my feedback screen is completely blank.

Post Office

And so, we've come to the final point of the story. The package has been packed, weighed, labeled, and finally ready to go off on its journey to the buyer.




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