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How to Pack Your Cello for Shipping



This article is for cellists who have received a cello from me and still have the original box and need to ship it for some reason.

What you will need:

  • Roll of stretch wrap. (This is not tape that is not sticky. It sticks to itself, like plastic wrap.)
  • Roll of packing tape for sealing box
  • Original packing box
  • A hard cello case

Before you start a note about shipping sizes and rates: Due to FedEx switching from actual weight to 'dimensional' weight calculations, shipping a cello has become quite expensive. The box that you received your cello in will be measured by FedEx as 15" x 23" x 57", putting it into a large box category that really skews the prices high. Before you consider taking a cello out on trial, be forewarned: you will pay the return shipping, via FedEx, in the box and packing material that I sent it to you in. Your price for shipping it back may be more than I charged you when I shipped it to you. You will need to look into this on your own. Cello in box weights around 32 pounds. You can go to FedEx.com, put in those dimensions and weight and see what your shipping charges will be.

Wrapping Your Bow - Wrap your bow at both ends with stretch wrap and place the bow frog down into your case. The frog should rest in the bottom pocket because is heavy and can open the top Velcro holder in transit. You do not want your bow coming loose during shipment and rattling around in the case. It can damage your cello. Wrapping your bow also prevents varnish damage if the bow comes loose during travel.

Wrap the tailpiece, bridge and fingerboard with stretch wrap (Saran Wrap). This helps to secure and cushion them in case the pegs release tension during shipping.

Wrap your pegs tightly with stretch wrap to secure and hold them from slipping, also place a foam pad above the scroll in case the cello box is dropped upside down during handling.

Now you are ready to close the case and pack it in a box. Make sure the edges of the case line up and close properly and don't overlap.

Start with latches on either side of the handle checking that the edge seats properly as you latch the rest of the eight latches.

Cover your case in the plastic bag that came with it, taping the bottom of the bag closed.

Slide the shaped foam collar over the top of your case.

Prepare the box by placing the cardboard spacer at top of box to support the case at the top end.

Make sure the bottom supporting foam shape is in place in the box bottom.


Make sure there is a sheet of styrofoam placed at the back of the box but remember to leave room for the foam collar on the neck of the case to fit between cardboard spacer and styrofoam sheet.

Fit bottom of the case into bottom shaped foam pad to support and suspend the Cello case.

Make sure the cardboard spacer is between collar and top of box. You may need to reach inside and pull the cardboard spacer up and push the foam collar below it.

Next place a styrofoam sheet between the front of the case (bridge area) and cardboard box.

Then place foam blocks at the upper and lower back where the cello is strong, nothing in the center back where impact or pressure can transfer to the back center of the cello body. The cello is very vulnerable at that spot. The foam blocks may be there already if I packed the cello and shipped it to you.

There should also be foam above the top of the case in case the box gets turned upside down in shipping.

Lastly fit the second cardboard spacer between box top and collar. This keeps the collar positioned and case suspended in case of the box getting moved in an upside down position. Shippers don't pay attention to arrows or this side up stickers.

Add the final sheet of styrofoam and close up the box and tape it well.

Ready for shipping!

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