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SueAnn Past Time Bears
Flower Mound, Texas
Posts: 20,240

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

At least it is for me.  Some of you may have already discovered how useful it is for stuffing, but in case you haven't, I'll let you in on my research.  We've already discussed the hazards of using steel shot/BBs in bears that are shipped to another country.  Customs doesn't look kindly on something that sets off their metal detectors!!  bear_sad  bear_sad  While looking in the crafts dept. at Wal Mart for something entirely different, I came across some decorative gravel chips used in flower arrangements.  It was with the decorative sand (I think some people do use sand occasionally as a stuffing).  It's about the same size as plastic pellets, but is heavier and not nearly as slippery.  Of course, it's not as heavy as steel shot, but could be used as a substitute when shipping to a foreign country.  I have used it in a couple of my bears and, so far, really like the weight and the fact that it 'packs' better than the plastic pellets.  I did a little more looking and discovered that small gravel used for aquariums will be okay, too.  And a big plus is that it's cheaper than the plastic beads.  Just in case you might be interested in trying it.

Shari Nova Scotia,Canada
Posts: 1,712

Great tip Sue Ann,   :hug:  I have never used steel shot because I was worried about customs and since somone posted about their bear being ripped poen, I'm glad I don't  bear_cry I think I would like to try the gravel chips..... remember when people used to use kitty litter , I don't think they do anymore but I'm not sure why.  bear_smile   bear_grin

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Flower Mound, Texas
Posts: 20,240

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

melanie jayne wrote:

Its a bit strange this as I have been thinking about using gravel today as substitute until my new batch of steel shot arrives, however the only problem that may occur through using an organic material like this may arise when shipping to Australia as a collector told me that one of her bears got stopped and taken away in customs as it had been filled with an organic material, I do think it had been weighted with aquarium gravel, anyway because it was an organic substance it was seen as being a foreign body and prohibited. Now this may be an extreme case, but just thought I would let you know.

Oooooops . . . well, there goes my theory that it could be used as a subsitute for the steel!  bear_cry  bear_cry  bear_cry

BootButtonBears BootButtonBears
Adelaide
Posts: 2,837
Website

Australian customs are very strict.  I know that I had to have written proof that a bear I purchased from America actually had little glass balls in it.  When it was x-rayed, the glass came up as an "unknown mineral" and they wouldn't release it until I had proof that is was glass. Apparently glass pellets are OK.  The Customs chap told me that they are strict with fillings, because they don't want things coming in packed with "road fill".  They were his exact words, and so whether gravel would constitute "road fill", I don't know.

I asked the Customs chap what I could do to minimize all this fuss next time, and he said get the artist to just put a note in with the bear, preferably on some letterhead or a business card, stating everything the bear has in it, and then it would probably be passed without any problems.  I don't know if that would apply to crushed gravel.

Any other Aussie girls got any ideas?

rufnut Rufnut Teddy's
Victoria Australia
Posts: 2,725

Christine you are right Aust customs is strict, I have noticed from my own experience with the mail internationally some things will get through ok and others won't just depends on how unlucky you are.

I have just been into one of the customs sites here in Australia, and gifts, ornaments and toys filled with sand or soil are prohibited. So maybe Gravel will fit that, also any stuffing that is wood based would also be prohibited.  If you wish to read more http://www.daff.gov.au/content/output.c … 2DE6759942 here is a good reference site.

pandamac 'EmBears
Northern New York State
Posts: 917
Website

I have used glass beads in some of my animals, haven't sent any over seas, but the glass beads worked very nice as stuffing. There is a company I went to locally and got a gallon paint can size full of the beads.................
pandamac

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
WA
Posts: 5,551

Thankyou Sueann, great tip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll have to checkit out.
Wendy bear_thumb

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

I'm soo stressed, I have bear on his way to Wendy in Aust. Oh boy, I didn't even mention ANYWHERE what was inside, and there is lots of steel shot.

Please send good energy that he makes it to his new home safe.

And now I know, never do that again!  :redface:

Pumpkin & Pickle Bears Pumpkin & Pickle Bears
East Sussex
Posts: 2,047
Website

I sent a bear to Canada a few weeks ago and he has steel pellets/BB's in him. I put on the customs declaration that he has steel inside him, but I also put a note inside the box saying:

NOTE TO CUSTOMS

This bear has steel pellets inside his body and feet for added weight. This is standard for any collectors bear.

Gemma Jeffries (Pumpkin & Pickle Bears)


My customer emailed me to say the bear had arrived safely and that customs HAD opened the box to investigate further but were obviously reassured by my note.

I'll certainly include the same note whenever I send bears overseas again.

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
Website

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Gemma what a great idea to put a note inside to customs about the fillings of your bear!!! 

Sue Ann, here is what I use for weight... glass beads from Harbor Freight.  My hubby uses this for his sand blasting... it's not sand but tiny glass beads.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d … mber=46426
THey have a 50# bottle too
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d … mber=30972

I get the 25# cause the 50# is too heavy for me  :doh:

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Flower Mound, Texas
Posts: 20,240

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

THanks much for the link, Laura . . . I do have some glass beads, but use them up quickly because they're so tiny.  But, that may be the only way to ship a 'weighted' bear to Aussie Land.  25 lbs. might last a little longer!!

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

How totally heartbreaking for everyone to have those bears torn apart!

Does anyone know which countries have particularly stringent customs inspections/requirements?  That might be worth making a list of, somewhere, so bearmakers will be sure to pay special attention to pieces going to those countries.

WildThyme Wild Thyme Originals
Hudson, Ohio
Posts: 3,115

Here's a list by country of prohibited items...... Though when you look at Austrialia, the list doesn't appear to be as comprehensive as the link that was provided above (from Austrialia itself)... if you ask at the US post office.... THIS would be what they would point you to.

http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immctry.html

Aside from the Austrilian link already given... maybe there are other website that are similar for the UK, Germany, etc.....?

Kim Basta
Wild Thyme Originals

rufnut Rufnut Teddy's
Victoria Australia
Posts: 2,725

Great idea to have a list of customs restrictions centrally here, it will be a great reference point for us all.

Like the note with detailed list for customs too.

Heather I think you will be ok with steel shot. Don't worry. 

I always put Gift on the customs declaration and don't seem to have any issues.

Celena Oxford
Posts: 461

This is interesting, I've never thought about Custom's rules on bear stuffings...and I do too, use steel shots and stainless steel balls for my bears...a thought to bear in mind when I need to send a bear out to my relatives and friends oversea..

Oh yes, do you think they might prohibit natural crystal chips?  I was thinking about using crystal chips as weight for bears...as it is quite difficult for me to get steel shots or stainless steel balls in small quantitiy here.

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,645

Sueann, that is what I use to weight my critters! I saw them in the floral arranging dept at AC Moore the one day and that is what I've been using!  I was going to try to find BBs before but they were all coated in copper which could lead to BIG BIG problems if the bear ever got wet!  (the pebbles are much much cheaper too!!!  bear_thumb )

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Flower Mound, Texas
Posts: 20,240

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Great minds, Kim!!!!

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,645
bearhug07 Strange Bears
Sydney
Posts: 444

Hi

I know AUstralia is strict but I also make jewellery and often bring in "rocks" from other countries so I think it depends on the "cleanlines" of the gravel or rock used. I have imported "rough" staight from the mone with no problems at all. So I think it would some back to the artists making a statement about the "gravel" in the bear and also if was encased in something inside the bear as well.

About 6 years ago in Austrlia we did have someone promoting red gravel chips as filling but I think it lost support as a bear got wet and the red golour in the gravel bled colour into the bear. BUt the stuff used in fish tanks sounds interesting.

Customs is hard in Australia but with the right attitude and paperwork nearly everything will get through ......because I have also imported Tagua Nuts and the only problem I had there was someone in America wrote Ivory on it and that caused MAJOR problems....but we resolved that eventually.

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Flower Mound, Texas
Posts: 20,240

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Oh yes . . . I'm using either white or natural gravel.  I certainly didn't want to take the chance of the dyed stuff recoloring the bear.  Hmmmm.  Well, guess I'll have to decide what to do if I ever send a bear to Australia.  Thanks for all the info on mailing to OZ.

melissa Honeythorpe Bears
Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 1,789
Website

I would advise against using gravel, quartz pellets or garnet sand in anything that is going to Australia or New Zealand.  As the others have said, our customs officers in both countries are very strict.  One of the major concerns is that soil/mineral borne diseases and exotic larvae/eggs could be carried by these matters, no matter how much cleaning has gone on. 

While saying your bear is stuffed with "clean" gravel or pellets in our "artist" creations seems perfectly logical or sane to us - please remember that these people are continually dealing with all sorts of wiley customers trying to get all sorts of things in our countries and that soft toys are frequently used as a vessel for all sorts of nasties, and customs officers don't have time to be determining what is an artist creation etc.  Without physically opening the bear, they have no way of determining that your  organic matter attached in a little baggie is excactly what is in the bear.

I know that Mel from New Bearland had issues with a bear that had quartz pellets in it that was going to australia (ironically the quartz had probably been imported into NZ via australia!).  I think they sometimes will offer fumigation as an option but you may not want to subject your bear to that and it is also quite costly.

You are more likely to have success with glass beads and steel shot - customs are better able to determine by their smooth spherical shape that they have been processed in some way...and the newer scanning machines will show that they are not "organic" as in plant or mineral material. I always write that I use galvanised steel chips in my bears on the swing tag - but sometimes I have attached a little baggie of them or a note just inside the package.  If you are writing a note like Melanie Jayne does, then you can attach a small sample of the steel or glass to the note by carefully trapping it under sellotape.

I frequently send bears through to the US, UK and Aussie with no problems  - and have carried bears through australian customs stuffed with glass or steel with no problems.  Mail is frequently opened but I have no problem with that - and bears coming back to me in NZ are opened but they have always got through so far.  I have however had to resign myself to NOT buying bears from certain artists because they always stuff with sand or mineral pellets of some kind. 

Aussie customs did stop us on the way OUT of the country whene we were carrying about 2kg (4 pounds) of the galvanised steel each in our carry-on luggage.  We took it out and showed it to them and they were fine about it - just curious to know what it was and what we used it for.

My policy is always to be as open with customs as possible - after all they are doing a stirling job of keeping our country as safe as they can....and I want to keep New Zealand snake free as long as possible!!

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Flower Mound, Texas
Posts: 20,240

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

My policy is always to be as open with customs as possible - after all they are doing a stirling job of keeping our country as safe as they can....and I want to keep New Zealand snake free as long as possible!!

I shall certainly NOT be stuffing my bears with snakes!!  :crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:

melissa Honeythorpe Bears
Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 1,789
Website

that's good to hear Sue Ann!!  didn't mean it to sound llike I thought snakes could be in the stuffing

A few years ago in one of the Australian bear maga there was an article about a couple who'd bought a fur bear in South America I think.  They put it on display when they got home and one morning the husband thought he saw the bear moving....turns out it had some horrible toxic kind of ant eggs in the stuffing or the fur and they were hatching.  heir house had to be quarantined while their house was sealed off and fumigated and the bear incinerated.  Whatever the ants were they were some huge risk to the US biosecurity.

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Flower Mound, Texas
Posts: 20,240

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Oh my!  The bear had ants in his pants?

Shari Nova Scotia,Canada
Posts: 1,712

bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin  We need a knee slapping smiley and one that rolls around holding his belly  bear_grin  bear_laugh   bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  Good one Sue Ann  bear_wub

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