How to package Fossils and Organic Collectables
If you are a fan of fossils, feathers, seashells, minerals, and dried plants, then you need to know how to properly package these items. Whether you are shipping, storing, or displaying your collectibles, proper conditions must be met so that the stored item remains intact and pristine. There are a standard set of precautions that you must take no matter what item you are packaging. Let’s go over those now.
A quick way to discolor and damage your delicate collectibles is to place them in direct sunlight. UV radiation is found in both the rays of the sun and in the light emitted by fluorescent lights. Both of these sources can lead to discoloration of colors or darkening of items like paper or leather. To prevent light from altering the look and integrity of your collectible, ensure that the package is stored out of direct sunlight. One way you can do this is by packaging your items in full-color packaging that does not allow light to seep through.
The climate of the room is another consideration. A room that is too warm can increase the rate of degradation. Cool temperatures can also result in a damaged collection if the temperature is so low that it constricts the objects. Typically, if the temperature is low enough to freeze water, it is too cold to store your collection. However, depending on the item being stored, it is safer to have the temperature be lower than higher.
Animal and plant remains that have lasted long enough to become fossils can be delicate. Whether it is just an impression in a stone or a complete bone fragment that has been converted to a fossil after hundreds of years, they are delicate objects. The ideal display case for fossils is a glass case in a museum, but they still need to be transported. This is when fossils are the most at risk for damage. Follow this guide to ensure your old bones are preserved.
- Wrap the fossil in bubble wrap, old clothes/ scraps, newspapers, Styrofoam pellets, plastic baggies, or paper towels. You want to have as much padding as possible. If you can move the item in the box while holding it, it is almost guaranteed to be broken by the time it gets to the destination. Overpacking is the key to keeping your item intact and undamaged.
- For small fossils, not stored in specialty micro-fossil mounts (plugs, slides, stubs, etc), one possible procedure to use when packing is to use two layers of packaging. This can include two sizes of packaging bags. Choose a durable packaging bag like our silver aluminum bags. These pouches come in a range of sizes, so you can pick two which will fit into each other.
- Place the fossil in the smaller bag, seal it, then fill the remainder of the larger bag with some type of padding. Place the smaller bag in the center of the padding, then fill the remainder of the bag. The fossil should be like a pea in the center of a pillow.
Bird feathers come in a range of different sizes and colors depending on the bird from which they come. The location of the feather can also affect the feather. Tail feathers and wing feathers differ greatly in style.
- Feathers should be stored in a PH neutral environment. Our QuickQlick™ packaging bags are an example of PH neutral packaging. Acidity or a basic environment can deteriorate feathers and alter colors.
- Ensure the bag is airtight by heat sealing. If the bag is not airtight, you can store the feathers near mothballs, cedar chips, or dryer sheets. It is imperative to keep the feathers away from moisture, as this can encourage mold growth and pests. Insects and dust mites can ruin your feathers when levels of humidity are high.
- Use flat packaging to prevent the feathers from wrinkling. Our flat QuickQlick™ bags have a compact silhouette and a sturdy composition that will prevent the feathers from being damaged. The pouches will stay flat and pressed when stored in the bags.
Collecting shells is something anyone who has ever gone to the beach has tried to do. The problem is that shells are fragile things and once broken, are worthless. The best shells you can find are the ones perfectly preserved and intact. There is a lot of joy in finding a pristine shell that has survived its journey across the seas unharmed. This joy is equally matched by the disappointment of having this shell break from improper storage. Prevent this from happening by following this guide on how to package seashells for safe transport.
- Sort your shells by type and also by size. Some shells are tougher than others. Keep fragile and larger shells separate.
- Pack shells by type into our QuickQlick™ bags.
- Poke a hole into the top of a large water bottle
- Place the strong shells at the bottom of the container.
- Create a cushion with crumbled newspapers.
- Start laying the QuickQlick™ bags with smaller shells in layers, sandwiched with crumpled newspapers.
- Continue adding layers of shells in bags, and layers of crumpled newspaper.
- Wrap fragile shells in a roll of scrunched newspaper. Leave the last 1/2″ of the bottle empty and fill it with scrunched newspapers.
- With the bottle upright, start wrapping the jar in plastic wrap.
From this guide, you should have a good understanding of how to store organic collectibles like fossils, feathers, and shells. The underlying similarity between all these items is that they are fragile and prone to decomposition when not stored properly. Keep the history alive by ensuring you are storing your collectibles properly. For more information on collectible storage, consult our guide on how to properly store trading cards. Don’t let your valuables lose their worth, pack them with care.