8 Things You Didn't Know About Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is a staple shipping product in any package you send. Everything from fine china to industrial equipment probably encounters bubble wrap at some point in its journey. And if you have to move an entire office or ship large, heavy objects, you’ll likely see a lot of bubble wrap before you’re done. But have you ever thought about where bubble wrap comes from, and what makes it such a good shipping material? While you deal with a stressful move, take a moment to relax with some interesting facts about everyone’s favorite packing product.

1) Originally Designed as Wallpaper

Bubble wrap’s inventors first got the idea when they sealed two plastic shower curtains together and created small pockets of air. They thought this new invention would sell well as fashion-forward, easy-to-clean wallpaper. However, bubble wrap never took off on the home décor market. Despite its low-maintenance appeal, its aesthetic left something to be desired as a wall covering.

In more recent years, some people have taken bubble wrap back to its original design by integrating it into their interior design schemes.

2) Popular as a Stress Reliever
If you’ve ever popped bubble wrap just for fun, you might already be familiar with its stress-relieving properties. The Sealed Air Corporation, which produces bubble wrap for shipping, even issued survey results that show one minute spent popping bubble wrap can make you feel just as relaxed as a 30-minute massage.

Some smartphone apps and toy companies have already taken advantage of this information and made bubble wrap simulators to produce the same effect.

3) First Used to Ship IBM Products
After its initial failed marketing attempt, bubble wrap found a new purpose in packing materials. But before it became popular for shipping everything from fruit to statues, IBM used it to ship computers.

Some of the very first computers relied on bubble wrap to protect them from bumps and jostles during shipment, and the plastic product proved even more effective because it didn’t produce static electricity. Since static buildup can damage electronics, plastic’s anti-static qualities made it safe for IBM to use.

4) Effective as an Insulator
After bubble wrap’s lack of success as wallpaper and before its accomplishments as a computer protector, bubble wrap’s inventors tried to market it as a greenhouse insulator. This worked about as well as their wallpaper scheme. However, bubble wrap really can serve as an effective insulator. If you wrap it around your outdoor plants in the winter or line the inside of your freezer with it, it will help keep things warm or cool as needed.

5) Used in Fashion and Art Designs
Modern designers and artists have used bubble wrap for its aesthetic principles in their creations. Some companies market bubble wrap suits for comfort, fashion, and (allegedly) even safety. However, you’re more likely to see bubble wrap used to accent other materials. Some designers have even used bubble wrap to create unique headpieces.

Even if you’re not an artist, you can use bubble wrap to create unique pieces of art. Many parents have wrapped bubble wrap around rolling pins or fashioned bubble wrap boots, then dipped them in paint and let their kids go wild on paper.

6) Has a Holiday
Bubble wrap is so beloved, it even has a day of recognition. In 2001, a radio station in Bloomington, Indiana declared the last Monday in January Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. The holiday arose after the station received a new shipment of microphones that came wrapped in bubble wrap.

Aside from its holiday, bubble wrap has also inspired invention competitions, “stress relief boxes,” and a number of social media fan pages.

7) Useful for Fresh Produce
Along with cushioning fresh produce during transit, bubble wrap can protect fresh produce at home. Many people line the produce drawers in their fridge with bubble wrap, or put a layer of the product at the bottom of their fruit baskets. The bubbles suspend the fruits and vegetables and protect them from unappetizing bruises and cuts.

Bruise-prevention for your produce can also help it stay fresh longer. And a bubble wrap liner in your fridge makes cleanup a breeze.

8) Fit for Car Rides
Bubble wrap has a variety of uses for cars as well as homes. You can use bubble wrap to insulate your windows, line your seats, and protect food on long car trips. Since it works well as an insulator, you can also use bubble wrap to wrap around hot or cold foods to keep them at the right temperatures until you reach your destination.

If you have leftover bubble wrap after your move, use this information to repurpose it into some useful projects. Or just share the interesting facts you’ve learned with your coworkers to add some interest to your relocation.

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