I don't know about perfect, but I've found an affordable alternative to traditional hatboxes that can be purchased at hat supply houses. I go to a hobby store called Hobby Lobby (USA) and they have huge numbers of boxes. These boxes are intended to be used for storage. They will often have pictures or decorations on them. I can generally find one the perfect size. They are about 1/10 the price of hatboxes. I don't make huge numbers of hats, so at this point it is not inconvenient to buy a box for each hat. I use the crumpled tissue paper to guard the brim.
This weekend I'm going to try to find a hat for a very large saucer hat I am completing. Wish me luck!
i work at bunnings, and we don't use plastic bags anymore, so we have box stands at the front of the store, there is always a ready supply of FREE boxes, i always find nice clean, good shaped ones. also we sell bubble wrap in large rolls for about $25 and that will last for ages!
When I package my hats for mailing I use scrunched tissue paper in the crown and bubble wrap rolled in the brims that I feel need a little extra support. I then place the hat in a clear plastic bag and wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap. I use heavy cardboard boxes to ship the hats. So far, so good. I also pack them similarly to store in my shop until I get an order, and need to ship.
I once send a very big brimmed hat to Italy. I couldn't find a box (or hatbox) to fit it, so made one up using three other boxes and lots of packaging tape. I stuffed the crown with tissue, wrapped the whole thing in plastic wrap and then into a plastic bag. Then, I nested the whole thing in the box, surrounded on all sides with 6" of polystyrene packaging beans. Apparently it survived the trip in excellent condition.
My husband works in the IT industry and also swears by those sealed, air-filled plastic bags. They come in a range of sizes and I think would be good around a brim.
I agree the air-filled bags work well but a cheap alternative is to half fill a white plastic tidy bin liner with air and use several around the hat. I use these all the time and never burst in transit.
I always line box with tissue also but scrunch newspaper to crown shape and place in a white tidy bin liner to put into crown and making sure it goes to depth of droop of brim as too much weightt on brim edge can distort shape especially for a pari hat.
Always use orange Fragile tape on the top as it helps to remind them which is the top and arrows on side showing which way is up. Top Load only is god to add so not weight on top of box . I had one box returned through Australia post and the crown was flattened to the brim!! Thought I would never fix it but amazingly no sinamay was snapped and I just reblocked it.
I use Fastway Couriers mostly and in all these years only lost one hat - it was in Gold Coast Depot not Brisbane Because Her Excellency Ms Bryce needed it the next day they soon delivered it as they have courier cars on the road to sort out such errors- thankfully.
There is no such thing as perfect, but a fragile label usually helps. Just expect that from my experience, many couriers will still toss the boxes around regardless. Securing the hat inside the box with those airbags or scrunched paper helps prevent damage, doesnt guarantee it..
On a similar note, sourcing packaging that doesnt cost as much as the hat itself, is difficult.
The cheapest alternative to cardboard hatboxes I have found so far, are Florist suppliers large posie boxes with lid, for smaller items like fascinators - they are available in many colour combinations.. Basement bargain places for medium gift boxes, sometimes decent hatboxes too. Larger hat-boxes, I'm still looking for a cheaper option.
I've found a supplier (locally!) who makes plastic boxes for cakes (and for other things). The ones I liked are clear polypropelyne, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but some are quite tall. Not very sturdy though - but OK to put inside another box for posting and perfect for storage at their destination. Also, they're relatively cheap, i.e. under $10.00 Australian. The good thing though is that he will make in small quantities. The only problem is that they are not very wide - the largest is 305mm square - so small brims only.
I have another question regarding hat boxes.
How do you determine the size of box you will need for you finished hat or fascinator? I find it difficult to order a few boxes of the same size as many times something like a long feather or other trimmings does not fit properly in the standard size boxes. I ended up making a lot of the boxes myself to make sure the headpiece fits perfectly in the box, but this is extremely time consuming. And ordering a custom made box after you have finished the headpiece is out of the question as this also takes a week or two to get delivered and I don't want my clients to wait that long.
What are your thoughts on this and how do you work around this? Also, does anyone know of a good hatbox supplier and possibly someone that does custom made boxes?
We have a cake supply store that has a wide variety of box sizes. The cool thing is you can buy single boxes.
I also scour bargain shops for pretty gift boxes of various sizes, as I haven't found a cheap enough hat box supplier yet.
When posting hats abroad I use masking tape to attach the elastic headband of the hat to the bottom of the hat box before putting crumpled tissue paper around the sides.
love the idea of the air-filled plastic bags mentioned above, but I don't like the asthetics of them...
Hot box suppliers in Australia. Have just discovered The Feather shop have boxes for sale - black and white striped. They're not tiptop quality, but are priced well. They're cardboard so would have to be put into another box for shipment but not too bad considering. Certainly better value than making your own, and they come in a variety of sizes. Standard delivery was a couple of days to semi-rural South Australia.