Polymer Clay Cane Mailer

TEXT: fast fact

Have you ever wanted to mail polymer clay canes, but weren’t sure how to protect them against damage? Bubble wrap mailers aren’t ideal because canes can easily be mashed and dented. For best results, you need a solution that is rigid, crush-proof, and available in a range of diameters and lengths for canes of all sizes. And if you mail very many canes, you will want a solution that is low cost and readily available. I’ve searched for a polymer clay cane mailer before and came up with suggestions that were quite expensive.

Recently, I received a package from Ed Street that included two pieces of this fantastic swallowtail butterfly cane. I was really surprised to see how he had packaged the canes. Each cane was wrapped in plastic wrap and then inserted into a short length of PVC pipe. Ed said that he uses a pair of pipe-cutting pliers to easily cut each piece to the exact length needed. You can buy PVC pipe in most hardware stores in several diameters. I like that this solution works well for both square and round canes. It’s a low-cost solution as well. At my local Home Depot, a 10ft piece of PVC pipe costs just $2.65. That works out to about 40 little cane mailers, coming to a whopping 6.6 cents each.

Of course it’s a utilitarian solution and has sort of a…well…industrial-tech vibe going on. That might not match your shop’s branding. But Ed points out that you can easily paint the tubes with spray paint. You can also remove the printing with some sandpaper if you’d like. It’s also a great opportunity to apply a label with your shop’s information. But regardless, you have to admit that this is a great, functional solution to finding a polymer clay cane mailer. Thanks to Ed for both the great idea and for the really gorgeous cane pieces.

If you found this tip useful, would you mind sharing this article on your favorite social media? Thank you!

27 thoughts on “Polymer Clay Cane Mailer”

  1. Ginger – I just started to think about selling some of my canes and was wondering how to ship them. And as always Ginger has the answer! Thanks for being such a fount of information (or would you rather be called a great resource?). What was used to cover the ends or were they in a mailer? Liz

  2. First what size is the PVC pipe that you buy….next the plastic pill bottles are they safe for raw polymer clay?

    1. You’d buy whatever size pipe that your canes would fit inside of. Different sized canes would use different sized pipes. And pill bottles are usually made from #5 PP, or polypropylene, which is clay safe. What you want to avoid is #6 PS, or polystyrene.

  3. I am just starting out making clay buttons and would really like to be able to order canes from someone… any help is appreciated.

  4. You know to go a step further it might be neat to also cut pvc pipe to be able to stand canes up right in your storage system to be able to view easily and not fall over one another. I find it hard to get a good systeym for storing the canes. Just a thought.

  5. Shipping a chunk of unbaked cane is an excellent idea and can be useful to so many people. 2016 is a perfect year for it to come up into conversations because everything is so volatile and we need to think in terms of how we can communicate useful information without sparking unnecessary controversy that comes with wealth and big-box store names. We can say hardware stores, vinyl pipes or tubing, and empty pill bottles. Just think of alternative wording that doesn’t raise the hackles on someone’s neck. No more store names! Use imagery that brings us joy. I picture Ginger and she brings me Joy!

    1. Isn’t it interesting how there are so many opinions and viewpoints about everything in this very diverse world! I can’t possibly anticipate everyone’s hackles and I decided long ago to write clear, honest, direct articles with accurate information. There are, after all, many ways to effect positive change in the world. 🙂

  6. Thanks for the tip! Ed and Tony (who made the cane) are recent members of the guild I belong to – the Greater Atlanta Polymer Guild. Tony’s technically expertise is amazing and Ed has lots of other great ideas! We are fortunate to have them in our guild!

    1. Actually, Ed made the cane himself (with Toni’s wise guidance). He’s been busy learning everything he can from Toni. Both are extremely knowledgeable and you’re lucky to have them in your guild!

  7. This is how I mailed a beaded necklace to a friend once. I wasn’t sure how some of the glass beads would hold up in the bubble mailer since several arrived shattered when they came to me despite being in a bubble mailer. Worked like a charm for that too! Love the idea of a business sticker or paint to give it a nicer look for when you sell items. Very smart idea for those who ship canes!

  8. Excellent solution! Plus we can save the PVC bits, stack ’em and glue ’em together side by side to make a pen or tool holder :-))

  9. Excellent tip – I have thought about this as well but one idea I had was to use empty prescription pill bottles. I was hospitalized a year ago and now am on long term medications. I can’t bear to throw away the empty pill bottles to just go in the landfill so I’ve kept a grocery bag full trying to think of some clever craft to do with them or maybe use them somehow by decorating them with polymer clay tho I don’t know if they will stand the low temperature in the oven – haven’t tried yet. When I read this post it popped in my head that they would be good for sending cane’s thru the mail and I have a variety of sizes so most likely people have one or two or more in their medicine cabinet with old pills in them that they could recycle and ask their friends and relatives to save them for you. Cost – FREE and perfect for sending thru the mail in a bubble envelope. Just a thought.. 🙂

    1. Prescription pill bottles are an excellent way to ship canes as well. They’re limited in length, of course, but for most people they’ll work just fine. Sounds like you’ve found your use for all your bottles!

  10. This is a great tip. And then the PVC pipe can be re purposed and used as a rolling pin for polymer clay! 🙂

  11. I am getting a set of these canes from Toni and Ed on Monday! Love this idea for shipping canes. I need to remember this tip.

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