How to Pack Wine Glasses for a Move in 6 Easy Steps

Dawn M. Smith
Written by Dawn M. Smith
Updated November 18, 2021
A couple drinking wine after moving in in their new house
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During a chaotic move, you’ll drink red wine, white wine, it doesn’t matter; you just need unbroken wine glasses

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It's the little things that count while you’re moving. Opening a box of perfectly packed wine glasses at the end of a long move-in day and relaxing with your favorite Cabernet might just be the boost you need to get through the rest of the boxes. Learn how to pack wine glasses so they arrive at your new home without any chips or cracks.

Difficulty: 1/5 Time: One to two hours Tools and materials needed:

  • Boxes with cells (preferred)

  • Removable cell dividers (if needed)

  • Empty boxes (if needed)

  • Tissue paper

  • Printless newspaper (ink transfers to glass)

  • Bubble wrap

  • Cardboard dividers for layering (if you have empty boxes)

  • Packing Tape 

1. Buy or Recycle Boxes With Cells

The key to keeping your glassware intact is using the right moving boxes. You’re looking for boxes with built-in cells (a grid made from cardboard walls) to hold each glass. Stores that sell wine or spirits have these boxes and often share them with movers. If you’d like to save some money, ask if you can take some off their hands. 

If you want to buy new boxes, shop for “dish packs” that measure about 5.2 cubic feet with cells and double-thick walls. Most professional movers use these to pack your kitchen. Sturdy boxes offer the most protection for fragile glassware. You can find them online or in-home improvement and hardware stores for about $6 each.

2. Gather the Right Packing Materials

If the right box is the foundation of your successful glass transfer, the right packing materials ensure your hunt for wine bottle boxes was worth it. 

Here’s what to look for:

  • Tissue paper

  • Printless newspaper (ink transfers to glass)

  • Bubble wrap

  • Cardboard divider sheets for layering (if you have empty boxes)

You don’t have to use each wrapping material on each wine glass, but some are more affordable and easier to find than others. It’s easier to plan what materials to buy after deciding what boxes to use (with or without cells). Think ahead a little—you could use these materials later to wrap and pack holiday dishes that grace your dining room table once a year. 

If your boxes are bare, consider using bubble wrap and a layer of packing paper for each glass. Or, if your boxes have cells, a couple of layers of printless newspaper should do the trick. Don’t worry; you’ll add more packing material when you wrap and stack the glasses later.

3. Wrap the Wine Glasses Burrito Style

A wine glass wrapped in bubble wrap
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Depending on the size of your stemware collection and how careful you want to be, you might roll wine glasses in paper for an hour or two. 

Here’s how to pack wine glasses, burrito style:

  • Gently stuff the wine glass globes with tissue paper. You can’t be too careful with those giant red wine globes.

  • Place a wine glass on the corner of a piece of packing paper or bubble wrap.

  • Start to roll the glass and tuck the sides of the paper in, like wrapping a burrito. 

  • Keep rolling the glass on the paper until you reach the end.

  • Rinse and repeat three to five times until the glass is secure and cushioned.

  • Wrap each glass this way. 

4. Pad, Pack, and Layer the Wine Glasses

If you have an empty box or one with removable cells, line the bottom of the box with layers of packing paper or drop a cardboard divider sheet on the bottom. Lower each wrapped glass stem first into the compartments and add tissue or newspaper print to minimize movement in the cell. 

If you don’t have cells, place the wrapped glasses upright, stem to the rim, in one layer in the box. They’re more secure during the move this way because there’s less pressure on the weak sides of the glasses. 

Next, add a cardboard layer on top and repeat the layering process until the box is nearly full, and then top with a final cardboard layer. 

For both box styles, add balled paper or bubble wrap to fill holes and gaps. You’re trying to prevent any movement that causes damage. You’ve come this far to protect your vintage crystal, don’t skimp now.

5. Close the Box Flaps and Shake Gently

After closing the flaps, give the box a gentle shake. Do you feel movement or hear rattling? If yes, add more packing materials. When the box feels and sounds secure, go ahead and close the box to tape. If you choose a local moving company to pick up and deliver your boxes, they’ll appreciate the extra security.

6. Secure the Box With Packing Tape and Mark as “Fragile”

Secure each seam on the top of the box with a strip of packing tape. If you’re using recycled boxes, check the bottom seams' stability and add tape if needed. After a tiring day, the last thing you want is a cascade of wine glasses and packing paper tumbling out.  

In clear, large letters, write “FRAGILE” and note that wine glasses are inside. Also, add “up” arrows to let everyone know which way to stack the boxes.

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