Sunday, July 5, 2009


It will soon be the time of year that we will hopefully be shipping our work out for display in competitions, shows and exhibitions. I know many of you are able to fold your work to be packed in boxes for shipping. However, due to the dense machine quilting I generally use on my work, folding the pieces creates creases so I roll my work for storage and shipping.

I use two types of materials for my tubes and both can be purchased at your local "big box" home repair store. The first material is PVC plumbing pipe and caps. This pipe is relatively inexpensive and comes in several diameters and weights. Generally I use the 4" pipe.I buy 8 foot lengths which are easily cut to size with a hack saw. You will need 2 end caps and some PVC adhesive. One end will be sealed permanently and the other end will be tapped shut when you are ready to ship. The tubes have worked well but I did have one case where the tube came home to me with half of one end missing so it had really been slammed into something. I suggest you always wrap your work in plastic which helps protect it but will also create some friction inside the tube and helps to keep your work inside the tube. You can just see in the photograph that I write directions on the outside of the tube as to which end to open and I always enclose directions on repacking.

The above picture shows one of this type tube which has been used several times. Each time I send it out I clean it up. I remove as much of the old labeling and tape as I can and cover the other with black tape.

The second type material I use is the heavy paper tubing used for casting concrete forms. You can just see one of these in the upper left corner of the top picture.

This tube is called a Quik Tube and is 8" x 48". Interestingly they come in nested sizes but they are all listed as being 8". What this means is that there will be several nested inside one another. This allows you to use one for the "container" and a slightly larger one for the "top".
Look again at the first photograph and you can just see the top in place on the larger container.

Using the tubes as a template, I draw and then cut two disk from plywood. I cut them using a small band saw. The disk are then inserted into the ends of the tubes and are attached with screws all around. The outside is then painted with Kilns to cover the text. I make the "top" about 16" long so that I have some flexibility as to the length of the item I can ship. It would be possible to use the entire length of both tubes if you wished. I line the inside of the container with plastic, place the work (which has also been wrapped in plastic) inside, put the "top" on and tape top on. Once again, I write directions on the outside of the tube as to where to open and I enclose directions as to repacking.

These tubes have also proved to be sturdy. I usually ship FED EX and I have had them returned with the footprints of handlers clearly visible on the tube. So far, the tubes have stood up to this treatment.


  1. Great idea! I have had the problem though of some shows not returning items in the same container.....That I don't mind, but I do mind with they smash the living daylights out of pieces, particularly if they are dimensional.

  2. I think these are great ideas. I will definitely look into using the tubes. thanks Terry:)