Shipping cake pops can take your baking business from being a local service to a national brand. But cake pops are fragile little treats that must be shipped with extra care so they do not get smushed, smashed or trashed.
There are two basic approaches to shipping cake pops (or any delicate treat for that matter): single box or double box. Each method has its pros & cons – explore each one thoroughly and see which one works best for you.
Single Box Method
The incredibly talented Cake Pop Princess has a fantastic tutorial for the single box method. There’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel on this one… please visit her post to learn more. I really like her suggestions for individually wrapping sculpted pops, and make sure to read her important tips at the bottom of the post.
Double Box Method
When I ship my pops, I prefer this double box method for two main reasons: it offers more protection for your cake pops and it allows more flexibility to be creative with presentation.
Outer Box. I get my outer shipping boxes from The Container Store. The corrugated fiberboard provides a strong, protective armor for your cake pops and its lightweight which helps keep postage costs down. I don’t ship too often, so at $1.19/ea, that price works great for me. If you plan on shipping more frequently, its more cost-effective to buy boxes online in bulk (Uline offers a great variety of boxes).
Inner Box. I also get my inner boxes from The Container Store ($1.49/ea), mostly because I’m already there to get the outer box – I’m a big fan of one stop shopping. But cake boxes (aka bakery boxes) are available at most craft stores in the cake section. They are a thin, yet durable cardboard, with a nice white, glossy exterior.
Line your inner box with tissue paper. Let the edges hang over the edge – these will come into play later. This stage is where its fun to be creative because the outer layer of tissue paper is the first thing the customer will see when you open the box.
I like to theme this layer of tissue paper to match the cake pops I’m shipping. Little personal touches like that show the customer you really are thinking of them.
I saw this really unique tissue paper while I was picking up boxes last week – it looks like vintage catalogue paper, so cool! As I type this, I can’t remember why I didn’t buy it; usually I’m not one to resist an impulse purchase. Its probably the only time I went to a store and only bought what I went in for… that would NEVER happen at Target, lol.
Take two sheets of a plain color tissue paper, crumple them up individually, and lightly pack them into the bottom of the box. This will provide some extra cushion for the cake pops.
Arrange your cake pops in a single layer. If pops are stacked on top of each other, they can rub against themselves – for plain pops this may not be an issue, but if the pops have decorations on them, it will cause sprinkles to fall off or more delicate parts to break.
If you are shipping more cake pops than you can arrange in a single layer, add another layer of crumpled tissue paper between the pops and repeat the process. In cases like this, I like to send two inner boxes inside of a larger outer box, rather than pile too many pops into one inner box and risk them getting crushed.
When all of your pops are loaded in, add a final layer of crumpled tissue paper on top. I find that the crumpled aspect not only provides padding for the cake pops, but it also helps keep them in place. My apologies for not using different colored paper for example purposes. Hindsight is 20/20.
Fold over the edges of the outer layer of tissue paper, tucking it all in, nice and neat. Then close the lid and seal it with a logo sticker or piece of clear tape. If you don’t have a logo sticker, dress up the box with some ribbon, or a pretty decorative sticker. See what I mean about presentation? 🙂
Since you have an outer box protecting this box, don’t go nutso taping all of the edges of the inner box… my dad is famous for taping all the edges of our Christmas presents, and cracks up watching us struggle to find an open edge to tear open the paper, lol. But seriously, the harder the customer has to work to get into the box, the higher the risk there is of them accidentally damaging the cake pops.
Place your inner box inside of your outer shipping box. See that empty perimeter? This is where the extra protection comes into play.
There are several materials you can use to provide some extra cushion. Crinkle-cut paper shreds are a pretty option, but at $3/bag, its not the most cost-effect solution because you need to buy a lot in order to pack it in tight.
I like to use wrapping paper. If you’re like me, you have a lot of rolls that have just a small amount of paper left on them – its the perfect solution. Stick to basic patterns and colors, especially if shipping to a paying customer; I wouldn’t advise using paper with writing or specific holidays on them.
Since its a slightly thicker material, you only need a few crumpled up pieces to provide great shock absorption… this way, even if your package gets tossed around a little by the mail carrier, the inner box is held in place and any banging around won’t directly impact the pops.
If you’re shipping to family or friends, there are a few free options you can use for padding to fill up the inner empty space – newspaper, magazine pages or those annoying circulars that clog up your mailbox all work great… just crumple them up, and line the space between the inner & outer boxes – making sure the inner box is snug in place. For business shipping, I’d suggest using white wrapping paper or kraft paper – something neutral, sturdy and most importantly, professional.
Before you head off to the post office, make sure your package is properly labeled. Cake pops tend to be lighter – and a well packed box of cake pops shouldn’t rattle when shaken. But a postal carrier doesn’t know what’s inside an unmarked box, or whether to treat it with extra care.
I print my own “do not stack” labels so that the postal carrier knows not to put heavy boxes on top of my package – reducing the risk of the cake pops getting smashed.
Free printable sheet of these labels: (PNG file; better resolution) or (PDF File) – both are sized to print on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.
Cut out the image and seal it on the box with clear packing tape – I usually put one label on the top, and one on the side, just to be safe. You can Google “do not stack labels” and choose your own. If you want adhesive labels, Uline has a great variety of shipping warning labels.
Shipping in Warm Weather?
Heat and humidity can present problems when shipping cake pops. Our good friend Anne from Raleigh Cake Pops has this advice:
“We ship every day of the year! Looking for the least expensive? Try Express Mail through USPS (overnight service for around $25). Use a thermal/cooler bag (try Uline) with 2 or 3 ice packs/bricks. Add ice packs to bottom of the bag and cover with excelsior or (not so eco-friendly) styro peanuts. Put your boxed pops in the thermal bag… close up the bag THEN box the bag. Good luck!”
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re thinking of offering shipped cake pops as part of your business, practice your shipping methods on a few friends in different parts of the country. Experiment with various distances and climate destinations, as well as different types of pops (fragile sculpted vs. regular), Find out what works and what doesn’t before sending pops to a paying customer.
Do you ship cake pops? If you have some additional tips, please share them in the comments section. Happy shipping everyone!