Hobby Horse Tutorial: Parcel Post a Pony

I had thought of calling this Blog Post “How to Snail Mail a Hobby Horse” but instead I have swapped to “Parcel Post a Pony”. But having now mentioned “Snail Mail” maybe an explanation is required…

My understanding is that the term “Snail Mail” has become part of everyday language because of the speed of Internet Mail. For example if you send an email the recipient can read it within minutes or seconds if they are there waiting Online to open the message. Compare this to a regular letter being pushed through a slot into a Mailbox, from where a Postal Worker collects it and adds it to the growing pile in a van which transports it to the Post Office. Next it is sorted and then put into your Post Office Box or heads out on its journey via foot, pushbike, motorcycle or vehicle straight to your Residence Letterbox. Or if the item needs to travel outside of the local area then it might be put into another van or truck then eventually onto a train or plane and later it is resorted at another PO etc etc and thus the process continues! With such a long period of time elapsing from when the letter was started on its journey no wonder it is now considered to be “Snail Mail”! Airmail, Surface Mail…… does anyone remember the days when Mail was routinely sent by Boat? Those days you had to wait up to 6 months to receive a letter or parcel?

The Question is: How do I “Parcel Post a Pony”?

Wrapping such an unusual shape presents difficulties. If only wrapped in paper the paper could potentially be torn or damaged or get wet. If a box is used that is big enough to enclose the entire Hobby Horse it would be a very large box that may entail a more costly Postage Charge than is necessary. If only the Head part of the Hobby Horse is inside the box the stick will still need to be wrapped or protected in some way. A Postage Tube could be used for the Stick but would potentially add further to the cost of purchasing the packaging as well as the charge for the Postage due to the extra size and weight.

So what is the solution? As I wasn’t sure if I would be able to personally post a Birthday Gift Horse that I had made to my Grand Daughter I needed to have the parcel ready to be posted by whoever made the trip to town & the Post Office. I didn’t have a preferred size Australia Post Mailing Box at home but I did have a box that I had at one stage used for storing keepsakes. It had originally contained a Glass Dessert Bowl set but was currently empty. The Box was the perfect size for the Horse’s Head. As it turned out I was able to post the parcel myself. I used the opportunity to look at the preferred size Australia Post Mailing Boxes available for purchase at the Post Office. I was quite pleased to discover that there was a box with very similar dimensions to the one I had used.

My Box was 395 mm long x 300 mm wide x 120 mm deep (conversion)

The Australia Post Mailing Box closest in size to the one I had used was 430 mm x 305 mm x 140 mm (Suits A3 Sized Paper).

Photo of an Australia Post Mailing Box that suits A3

Plus as a comparison I have a photo of the box I used alongside a US Postal Box that is a little smaller. It originally contained Printed Matter. The stated size in inches is 12 x 12 x 5 ½ but it actually measures as 140 mm in depth which is a little more than 5 ½ inches. I am not sure what the dimensions of next bigger sized box are but the one in the photo would probably be too small as the Horse’s ears will get bent!

Postage Boxes with sizes for comparison

The following photos show how I packaged a Hobby Horse.

I collected together the items I needed such as the Hobby Horse, Cardboard Box/Mailing Box, Bubble Wrap, Tissue Paper, Plastic Bag (as an added extra to make sure that the Horse wouldn’t get wet), General purpose Scissors, Craft Knife (with retractable blade), Sticky Tape (wide and narrow), Pencil & Marking Pen.

Notice how the Hobby Horse’s Stick is resting on the upper edge of the box and the Head is leaning into the box. It’ll be a snug fit!

The Hobby Horse’s Stick is resting on the upper edge of the box & the Head is leaning into the box. It’ll be a snug fit!

Having placed the Horses Head in the approximate position I determined the best way of having the Hobby Horse Stick protruding from the side of the box. I decided to cut a slit with the Craft Knife. First I marked the width of the stick and drew one line down the side of the box. I planned to then cut twice at right angles to the first cut so that a flap of Carton Board/Cardboard could be bent out of the way thus cradling the Stick. Notice that I didn’t remove the cardboard which would have left a hole that might have been too large. As it is I was fitting a ‘round stick’ in a ‘square hole’ and I wanted it to be as snug as possible.

A slot cut to allow the Stick to be positioned through the hole

One vertical cut plus two horizontal cuts ensure that the hole is approximately half way down the shortest side of the Box. Rather than cutting and removing a square of cardboard I just folded the cardboard back out of the way.

I now needed a piece of Bubble Wrap that would be able to wrap around the Stick of the Hobby Horse. It needed to be wide enough to overlap itself width-ways and long enough to be a minimum of 8” or 20 cm longer than the length of the Stick that protrudes from the neck of the Horse. I cut a piece of Bubble Wrap and laid the Stick on it. I folded the end up and taped around it so that it wouldn’t come off the (Rubber Chair Tip) end of the stick. Having the Bubble Wrap overlapping I wrapped narrow Sticky Tape around the Bubble Wrap at intervals along the length of the wrapped Stick to make it was secure. Next I used a wider Sticky Tape to cover the join for the entire length of the stick. I could have then simply spread apart the Cardboard of the Box to fit the Stick through the previously made slot and taped the excess Bubble Wrap to the inside of the box but I wanted a more sealed effect. I covered the Head of the Horse with a Plastic Bag first then taped the excess Bubble Wrap to the outside of the plastic Bag. When that was done I added a sheet of tissue paper for the Horse’s Head to lay on and I spread apart the Cardboard of the Box to fit the Stick through the previously made slot as shown in the next Photo.

Horse’s Head in position on the Tissue Paper with the Stick protruding from the side of the Box.

Horse’s Head in position on the Tissue Paper with the Stick protruding from the side of the Box.

Extra items such as a Card (e.g. Birthday or other Occasion Card) plus other Bubble type packaging could be added to fill the space. A “Safety Reminder” is also appropriate to ensure that the plastic bag is disposed of correctly to avoid the possibility of a young child becoming a victim of suffocation.

Tissue Paper folded over the Horse’s Head ready to be tucked down inside the Box.

Tissue Paper folded over the Horse’s Head ready to be tucked down inside the Box.

Extra Tape was added to join the Cardboard of the Box back together at the location of the slit and the packing was nearly complete. Just close the lid and add wide Sticky Tape to the edges of the Box wherever needed.

Hobby Horse in the Box Ready to be mailed/shipped

Remember to Tape across the slit that was made in the side of the Box to prevent it opening up. Tape can be added from the Bubble Wrap of the Stick to the Box also if desired.

Hobby Horse in the Box Ready to be mailed/shipped - another view

Time to add the Recipient’s Name and Address and Senders Details!
There that wasn’t too difficult was it?

Now you know how to ‘Parcel Post a Pony’ too!

Some slight adjustments may need to be made to this method depending on the ‘style’ of Box that is used but the basic idea is the same….a Box for the Horse’s Head with the wrapped Stick poking out the side!

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