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Thread: Bubble Wrap: Bubbles facing IN or OUT?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    San Rafael, California

    Bubble Wrap: Bubbles facing IN or OUT?

    A gallery I was working at had a very strict "bubbles out" policy. In my experience, bubbles face in unless the piece isn't wrapped in plastic/paper/glassine, and act like little delicate fingers suspending the item in the packaging. Bubbles out also seems like a way to guarantee you'll not be able to reuse the bubble, because the tape will rupture every bubble it comes into contact with upon removal.

    Can you good people give me some closure on this issue?

  2. #2
    I rarely use bubble wrap. It is hard pockets of air, and when they 'POPS', it's just thin plastic with no protection. Microform is a better choice. If you're going to use bubble wrap, double layer it. Lay out twice as much and fold the bubbles in on themselves. This method should fill in the venerable gaps between each bubble and make it more durable.

  3. #3
    Chair of Publications Chris Barber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Boston, MA
    Hi Graham,
    I agree with the dual layer, bubble-to-bubble application. I do not use bubble wrap unless the framed 2D object is first wrapped in one or more films, preferably with something thick & impermeable on the outside like the industry-standard virgin 4mil poly. Then bubble can be applied only to the corners, or to wrapping the whole object. Safety in numbers, so a little more layering at the corners will allow the individual bubbles to support each other by spreading the load of a minor shock. Corner wraps typically put the equivalent of four or six layers at the corners. This avoids the possibility of the object's sharp corners poking out between the air bubbles, or of the cushioning being eliminated by one or two bubbles bursting at a corner. Microfoam can also be used instead of bubble, but I do not use that material either until the object is first wrapped in smooth film. Whenever possible, I avoid both of these cushion wraps for anything likely to be repacked in the same materials, because it can be difficult to control the dimensions of a re-wrapped object to ship in a used cardboard slipcase or other container.

  4. #4
    I also have used the dual layer bubble wrap, bubbles facing in on themselves. I suppose this technically counts as "bubble-out", but we would wrap most artifacts with poly or tissue first. Ours was a high volume collections move project, and unpacking specific pieces could not always occur immediately after transport. There were some conservation concerns about the bubbles leaving imprints on certain types of materials over time, so we wanted to avoid this altogether.

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