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Cheap Packing Materials - Bubble Wrap

Updated on September 27, 2012

Shipping with Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is probably the most popular shipping material, as it can be used as a stress reliever, entertainment, and a protective shipping material. Bubble wrap has used and loved since 1957, when Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes designed the material. They wanted to make a plastic wallpaper, but ended up with bubble wrap... Who would have figured this simple idea would have gotten so big?

Now, you can purchase different types of bubble wrap to include:

  • Bubble bags
  • Lightweight/Standard bubble wrap rolls
  • Medium duty bubble wrap rolls
  • Heavy-duty bubble wrap rolls
  • Bubble mailers or Bubble envelopes

The material is lightweight, strong, reusable, and water resistant, which is why it makes such a good shipping material for fragile objects.

Another nice thing about bubble wrap is that it comes in different sizes so that you can best protect your things during shipping or travel. The most common is the standard size bubble wrap, but you can purchase large diameter bubbles, small bubbles, and anti-static bubbles. The newest bubble wrap is the extra-large pillow bubble, that comes at about 4" x 6" and used as filler material so objects don't scramble around the box.

Reuse Bubble Wrap

You can use bubble wrap for so many different things, whether it be some sort of craft or other alternative use. Here are are few options on how you can use and reuse bubble wrap. There are many bubble wrap uses, so if there's something you want to add, leave your suggestion about how to use bubble wrap below.

Insulation (Bubble wrap is a great insulator! Keep that in mind.)

  • Use bubble wrap to prevent toilet condensation. Line the inside of the tank with bubble wrap to keep the outside of the tank from getting cold, which causes condensation when it comes into contact with the warm, moist air. You want to shut off the supply valve to the tank and drain the tank; wipe down the inside walls and dry them; use a silicone sealant to glue the bubble wrap to the major flat surfaces.
  • Protect your patio plants during cold weather. Bubble wrap can be a great insulator to prevent frost damage to your plants. Wrap the container in bubble wrap and use duct tape or string to hold the bubbles in place.
  • Insulate your windows by cutting an appropriate size sheet of bubble wrap, spray the window with water, and apply the flat side to the window.
  • Line the outdoor dog house in bubble wrap, and it's fully insulated for the winter. Just watch out that the dog isn't pulling it off and eating it.
  • Line your pipes and outdoor spigots before the winter freeze sets in so that you can prevent your pipes from bursting or freezing.
  • You can keep your drinks cool on hot days. Just use bubble wrap to wrap your drinks and food that needs to be kept cool before placing them in the cooler.


  • Because bubble wrap can be a great insulator, you can use it on the cold winter nights to keep warm. Put a sheet of bubble wrap between your comforter and top sheet.
  • While camping, you can line your sleeping bag with a sheet or two of bubble wrap, and you'll find the cool, crisp air won't be so bad.
  • Another use while camping, is instead of bringing just one sheet to help keep warm, bring several. Place the sheets of bubble wrap under your sleeping bag, and you've got a nice cushion where you're not sleeping on rocks and twigs.

Games and Crafts

  • Spice up Twister and place a sheet of bubble wrap under the Twister mat, or just under parts of the mat.
  • Use bubble wrap as a paint brush to add spice to a new painting.
  • Use bubble wrap on kids' fingers while finger painting to reduce messy hands, as well as increase artistic feel of creating textured pictures with poppable hand prints.
  • Create bubble ships. Remember bubble wrap floats, so see who can make the most inventive boat.
  • Lay out some bubble wrap and let the kids ride their bikes, scooters, and wagons over the bubble wrap; they'll really get a kick out of it.

Protect Stuff

  • You can line your crisper drawer in the refrigerator to help prevent your fruits and vegetables from getting bruised.
  • Line your toolbox with a sheet of bubble wrap to protect your tools from wear and tear.


  • Instead of buying seat cushions for ball games, bring bubble wrap; it's so much cheaper.
  • Place bubble wrap under the rugs or carpet by the doors of your house, and you've got a cheap burglar alarm.
  • Cover your car windshield with a sheet of bubble wrap during winter, so that when you're ready to go to work the next morning, you don't have to worry about having to scrap off ice. Just remove the bubble wrap and you're ready for work.

Biodegradable Bubble Wrap

Because bubble wrap is used for many different purposes, the biggest being for a shipping material, it's a common product to find. Well, in so many cases, people open the box, unwrap the product, and trash the shipping material inside. That includes throwing away the bubble wrap.

There is a biodegradable bubble wrap that is easy to find and just as cheap. The best part is that it recycles and breaks down easily.

The recyclable bubble wrap is still made of plastic, but it has degradable plastic additives blended into the plastic, which means when the plastic oxidizes and degrades, there are no toxic residues left behind.

Just because this bubble wrap is safe for the environment and is manufactured a little different, that doesn't mean that it serves a different purpose. The biodegradable bubble wrap is just as strong and protective as regular bubble wrap.

Bubble Wrap iPhone App

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    Post Comment

    • Charles K. profile image

      Charles K. 

      8 years ago from United States

      Here I was, thinking bubble wrap was only good for packaging and popping, and you surprise me with all of these other clever uses for it. Thanks for the interesting ideas!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Very well put together and good information. Thank you.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      what an interesting bubble wrap article whitney!! loved it ///thank you for all these ideas!barbara b


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