QUESTION: How do you ship a built Lego set? Will it fall apart?
We ship Lego everyday and we receive Lego in the mail everyday from customers filling out our Selling/Trading form on our website and we have learned a great deal about what works, and doesn't work. We have thousands of already built Lego sets on display and for sale in our store, however, we do not list them online for sale because we sell the built sets as is, usually without minifigures and they could be missing a couple of pieces. We also do not sell the built sets on our website because they can fall apart during the shipping transit. However, we will sell built sets over the phone and ship them to you because this gives us an opportunity to let the buyer know the perils of buying and shipping an already built Lego set. So if you ever want to buy one of our already built Lego sets, just give us a call at 470-414-2208 and will ship it to you, just know that you are buying it as is and it could become disassembled in transit. Our already built sets are usually priced to sell so the price does reflect the fact that it is a used set and could be missing pieces, however, we would not put an already built set out for sale if it didn't look good and mostly complete.
This is the best way we have learned to ship a built or already assembled Lego set with the best chances of it staying all together in one piece. First, we like to wrap the set in a bag, plastic wrap or bubble wrap so that if a piece does fall off, it will still all be contained within the wrap and not get mixed up or lost in the shipping box. This also waterproofs the set in case the mail carrier leaves your package outside. If wrapping in a bag, we usually use a Walmart style plastic bag or trash bag depending on the size of the set. You then want to tie the bag shut. After you have the set contained in some type of wrap, you then want to tape it tight with tape, preferably shipping tape, from all important sides/angles. The tight tape will keep the Lego pieces together and hopefully prevent them from coming apart. You may need to partially disassemble the set depending on the type of set. If it is a set with different sections such as a spaceship with large wings or a building with multiple buildings or a pirate ship with a big mast, you may want to detach those sections off of the main build/set and wrap them separately. Also anything like a tree, or a separate vehicle that goes to the set or loose minifigures should all be packaged separately. You do not want anything jiggling around that can bang against the rest of the Lego in the package. Once you have the set wrapped with tape, you can pack it in a shipping box. You want it to be packed tightly in the box to prevent it from moving around, i.e. no empty space in the box. It is important to cushion the set from other sets/objects in the box and from the sides of the box. When you have the box all sealed up and ready to ship, it would be best if you did not hear anything moving around when you shake the box. For cushioning, bubble wrap is certainly the best but you can also reuse styrofoam, packing peanuts, crumpled up newspapers, crumpled up shopping bags, etc. Just be sure if you are reusing packing supplies or a box that it does not have any wet or sticky substances on it or any type of odor that may cling to the Lego set. Once you have your box all packaged up, it is important to check the bottom of the box to make sure it is properly taped. When reusing boxes we have found that it was not always fully taped on the bottom from whoever prepared it last.
We like attaching shipping labels to the top of the box with clear packaging tape which you can get most anywhere. The clear packaging tape makes the label waterproof. Just be sure not to have any wrinkles in the tape that may affect the visibility of the shipping address or barcode scan. If shipping UPS, you can get a free, clear shipping label pouch from any UPS store. You can also print labels out on sticky label paper.
If selling or trading us your Lego through our online form we usually offer to pay for shipping by sending you a pre-paid shipping label from either UPS or USPS because we get a decent discount with them because of all the shipping we do. However, if you are buying your own shipping label, just be sure to get the proper amount of insurance for your package. USPS Priority mail shipments come with $50 in free insurance as of the writing of this post, however, you may choose to buy more.
I hope this article was informative and maybe helpful to you whether you are looking to ship a built Lego set or wanted to know how someone should ship you a built Lego set. Just keep in mind, there is a good probability that the set will become partially disassembled during shipment even if it is packaged well. You'll just have to put it back together when you receive it!
If you are shipping us your Lego to sell or trade, we do prefer a set remain built if possible.
Check out Joe's video below to get a more visual idea of how we ship Lego.
Written by Chris Cott, CEO of Atlanta Brick Co, April 8th, 2022