Crating a Phillips 66 Neon Sign

Last year we crated and shipped this Phillips 66 neon sign. It was larger than most signs of its kind measuring over five feet tall and five feet wide. I thought it would make a great example for instructions on how to pack or crate neon.
The most important thing to remember is that repairing neon is difficult at best. In the event of breakage, it’s usually more expensive to repair neon than the original piece cost. And many times repair is not possible. So, be careful and make sure to pack carefully.
We were lucky our customer had this sign hanging in her garage. This allowed us plenty of space to work, which is more important than you may think. Whenever working with hyper fragile items, the more space you have, the better.
  • Rule #1 – This is rule number one for a reason. Never allow any packing material to touch the neon. When we crated this sign we built foam supports in the negative space on which the top rested. This, combined with the foam around the sides, allowed the neon tubing to float in the crate uninterrupted.
  • Rule #2 – Allow at least 2 inches, and preferably 4 to 6 inches on every side of the item. Allow at least 6 inches from the base of the neon to the top of the box or crate. You must provide extra space on the side with neon.
  • Rule #3 – If you use corrugated cardboard make sure to double box. If not, always crate. If you crate, make sure to use plenty of foam sheets (not packing peanuts) to cushion the sign from the hard crate surfaces. If you double box you can use peanuts in the exterior box only. Never use packing peanuts in the interior box.
  • Rule #4 – Pack the sign as tight as possible. It is imperative that the sign doesn’t move within the box.
  • Rule #5 – Label the box GLASS and not fragile. Carriers take better care of packages containing glass because they don’t want to clean it up!

The sign was kept centered by foam around the sides and on the back. On the front of the sign we placed foam in between the neon tubes. These pieces have to be exactly the right size so that they put pressure on the sign and keep it from moving forward when the crate is upright. We built these foam columns in several places along the front of the sign to keep the pressure evenly distributed. The top of the columns were glued to strips of plywood. We used a spray adhesive that is specifically for foam. The two cross beams you see in the picture above are those strips of plywood with the columns of foam below them. The plywood we then anchored on the sidewalls of the crate. Let me know if you have any additional questions.