Re: How to pack a mandolin without case for shipping
If there is a Walmart near you they have a wide variety of packing boxes that are inexpensive but you will probably have to combine two boxes to make one large enough for the mandolin. I use styrofoam peanuts and I also buy styrofoam strips at Home Depot that are used to insulate garage doors. These are 4 feet long, 1 foot wide and about an inch thick. I use these to bolster the box itself and fill in with peanuts. Make sure the mandolin is in some sort of bag so it doesn't end up full of peanuts. Keep in mind that the mandolin can be diagonal in the box (looking down at it).
"bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"