After the 'Barefoot in Ethiopia' exhibition came off the walls of the Hill Smith Gallery in Adelaide, I needed to package the framed photographs, ready to be shipped to their next gallery. I rang several suppliers who make bubble-bags with the intention of buying pre-made bubble bags. There were no suppliers I could find who had a ready made product, although many suppliers were happy to make a custom sized pocket. Unfortunately, their minimum order quantity was mostly between 500 - 1000 units required for one order. I only needed 30 smaller bags (85cm x 65cm) and a few larger bags (115cm x 95cm). Although the unit cost for the bags from the suppliers was only between $3-$4 a bag, I simply didn't want 500+ units.
So, I set out to make my own bubble bags...
It was a relatively easy process, with great results, so I thought I would share the 'how to' knowledge for other photographers and artist out there, who may require smaller numbers of bubble bags for protecting art work.
Before I started, I had read several blog posts that suggested using a hot glue gun, which I purchased and tried, but would definitely not recommend as the best method.
I simply used an iron to melt the two edges together, with a layer of baking paper between the iron and the bubble wrap. I have included some photos of the process and will try to summarize in a step-by-step easy guide:
1. Measure artwork, and cut bubble wrap to the size of the artwork width and twice the length, allowing an extra 5cm for the width on the edges, and an extra 10-15cm for a flap at the top of the bag (flap size will vary depending on size of bag)
2. Fold cut bubble wrap over (so it looks like the bag should with flap sticking out at top), and make sure the edges are lined up straight (I suggest putting a sheet of cardboard or paper underneath to mark where the bubble wrap is placed for the first bag if you are making multiple bags the same size, as further bags can then just be placed on the markings)
3. Place baking paper over the edge of the bubble wrap to be sealed
4. Place a ruler/piece of wood/anything with a long straight edge approx 1cm from the edge over the top of the baking paper
5. Heat iron at top heat, then iron against the long straight edge, going back and forth a couple of times over the baking paper
6. Remove baking paper and repeat on other edge