How do I pack a Dish Pack (China Box, China Barrel)?

February 22 , 2015 / Posted by Irish Moving / Packing Guides / No Comments

How do I pack a Dish Pack (China Box, China Barrel)?

Of all the boxes you will pack, the dish pack is the most daunting by far.  The dish pack is the one box that people tend to avoid or pack improperly.

The dish pack is different from all the other moving boxes:

  • It is the largest regular box at 6.1 cubic feet.
  • It is made from double wall cardboard to make it rigid.
  • Rigidity offers greater protection.
  • It will be the heaviest of all the boxes you pack and is expected to be so by the movers.
  • On average a dish pack is expected to weigh up to 70lbs.
  • It is the most expensive box to buy and the most difficult to pack.
  • As well as the box itself, you will need to buy packing paper (25lb bundles)

Packing paper or “newsprint” as it is known in the industry comes in bundles of 25lbs.  It is expensive.  One bundle of newsprint will be enough to pack 3 dish packs on average, depending on the contents of the box.

Taping the Dish pack

To start with, you need to tape the dish pack to enable it to hold the weight of the breakables you are going to pack into it.   The box should be turned upside down, taped first at the folded flaps and then once again to the left and the right side of the flaps so the second and third taping overlap the first.  At least 5 inches of tape should extend over the rim and onto the side of the box.

Next you need to tape around the circumference of the box while over lapping the tape that extended over the rim.  The purpose for this is; during summer months, when air conditioning is running, the moisture in the air makes the tape come off the box therefore undoing all your hard work.


  • The first step is to scrunch two sheets of paper at a time into balls and put them on the bottom of the box.Continue doing this until you have a t least 3 inches of scrunched up paper creating a cushion to absorb shock.
  • The next step is to wrap the plates:Double up the paper and put a doubled layer between each plate.  Put 5 plates one on top of the other (with a double layer in between each plate.  Triple up the paper and wrap the 5 plates together.  Set the plates in the box on their edge (standing upright) as this is the strongest part of the plate.  Continue and then move on to the next set of plates until the entire bottom of the box is full.
  • Put a lot of paper between each stack to ensure that there is no movement.
  • Create another 3inch cushion for the next set of breakables that you are going to pack.
  • Move on to mugs, cups and small serving pieces.Double wrap each piece individually and layer around the box.  Mugs and cups should be laid flat in the box. Cushion with paper around each piece. When that layer is complete move on to create another 3 inches of cushion on top.
  • The last layer should be reserved for glasses and stemware.Wrap each piece individually and alternate from the stem to the beaker end to minimize volume.  When all glasses and stemware have been alternatively layered, create your last cushion on the top of the box with at least 3 inches of paper cushion.  You have to pack the last cushion so as when the flaps of the box are closed, you cannot press down on the top of the box.
  • Temporarily close the box and shake it.If you hear something moving, check each layer until you find the piece that moves and pack tightly around it.  Repack the remainder again and repeat.
  • Seal the box in the same manner as when you taped the bottom.
  • You can repeat the same steps for jugs, decanters etc.… Heaviest items to the bottom – always!
  • Drink a glass of wine and come to the realization that this is a job that should be left to the movers!!!


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Bob Stevenson
Irish Moving & Storage Llc.
“Guaranteed Prices that will MOVE you” – No Blarney!”