What is Packing Paper?

Adam Hill
Adam Hill
Stemware should be wrapped in packing paper for moving.
Stemware should be wrapped in packing paper for moving.

There are numerous types of moving supplies used to protect and organize a mover’s belongings. Delicate items such as dishes and glasses require extra care to ensure that they will make the move safely. Packing paper is one of the supplies that is best suited to protecting fragile possessions. It has essentially the same thickness and texture as newsprint, but without any ink.

Newspaper is not recommended for use as packing material.
Newspaper is not recommended for use as packing material.

Most items that will be wrapped in packing paper need surface protection, insulation from vibration and shock, as well as needing to be kept still as much as possible. Packing paper meets all three of these needs exceptionally well. It usually comes in sheets of 18 by 36 inches (45 by 91 cm) and is packed by weight, since the average mover will use a large amount of it for one move. It is a highly economical way to protect breakables, and therefore is used almost universally.

Packing paper protects fragile items.
Packing paper protects fragile items.

Packing paper is most commonly used to protect plates and other dishware. Most experts recommend wrapping three plates at a time. This is done by first centering one plate on a stack of packing paper on a table. Several sheets of paper should then be grasped by the corner and pulled over the plate until it is covered. After this, a second plate can be stacked and a second corner pulled over the plate to cover it.

Next, a third plate is added, and the two remaining corners of packing paper are folded over the plate. Some prefer at this point to then re-wrap the bundle of plates as one, and then seal it using packing tape. Bubble wrap can also be placed around the bundle for extra protection. For breakable cups, the best method is to wrap each one individually and then stack them in the container they will be transported in. The mover may wish to place crumpled paper inside the cups as well, if they are especially delicate.

Stemware and other glasses should usually be stuffed with paper and rolled in two or three sheets for optimum protection. If there is not a specialized carton for transporting these items, the paper can be used to fill the empty space around them to keep them from moving or shifting suddenly. Rather than purchasing packing paper, many people use newspaper as a substitute. Newspaper is not recommended, though, because the ink can easily transfer onto hard surfaces. Whether the item is for decoration or culinary use, packing paper is generally the better option.

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Discussion Comments


@giddion – That depends on what you are packing. If you are packing boxes of items that aren't likely to break but that you don't want knocking around inside the boxes or rubbing against other items, then sure.

However, if you are going to be packing breakable figurines, you need to use the thicker packing paper. This stuff is thick enough to push back against pressure, but regular old tissue paper will cave.

I might use tissue paper between my books and CDs to keep them in a neatly organized stack. I would use regular packing paper around my collection of Christmas ornaments, though.


Can you use that tissue packing paper that is made for wrapping gifts for moving purposes, too? I have a lot of this stuff lying around, and it seems like it would be a good filler for empty gaps in moving boxes.


My local newspaper sells their scraps of newsprint as packing paper rolls. It takes a certain amount of newsprint to run the press for a day, and if the amount left on a roll isn't enough for a press run, they toss it and sell it as scrap.

They charge by the weight of the roll. On any given day, they may be selling short, thinner $5 rolls right next to $20 rolls that are much longer and heavier.

You can use this paper for things other than moving, too. You can potty train your puppy with it, or you can let your kids draw on it to keep themselves entertained.


Wow, it seems like it could get expensive to use that much packing paper for moving dishes! I would think that as long as the box were stuffed full of items, the more sturdy things like plates and coffee mugs would be rather safe.

I understand wrapping and filling glasses with packing paper. They are super breakable and need plenty of cushioning and support.

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    • Stemware should be wrapped in packing paper for moving.
      By: Elenathewise
      Stemware should be wrapped in packing paper for moving.
    • Newspaper is not recommended for use as packing material.
      By: by-studio
      Newspaper is not recommended for use as packing material.
    • Packing paper protects fragile items.
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      Packing paper protects fragile items.