How to Mail Bulky Handmade Cards

I recently got this comment from a newsletter subscriber wondering about how to mail bulky handmade cards:

“I send a card each week to my daughter.  Some of my cards have taken longer to arrive or required extra postage because of their bulk, and some envelopes have torn as they were sorted/metered.”

I get questions about this problem frequently.  Our handmade cards are works of art, and need to be protected in transit, and delivered without delays due to insufficient postage.

In 2015 I set out to research and test several options, and then created two videos with my findings and recommendations.

The videos refer to US Postal Service rules and prices.  The first video shows tips for packaging your cards, which will come in handy no matter what country you live in.

Part 2 is specific to the US, and will show you how to figure out the postage you need without going to the Post Office.

Use this link to download the pdf “Sending First Class Mail Without Going to the Post Office.”

I hope these videos and the pdf have given you clear guidelines for how to mail your bulky handmade cards.

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6 Responses to How to Mail Bulky Handmade Cards

  1. sue July 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

    Nine times out of ten any item mailed with bubble wrap is considered a parcel.

    • Sage July 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

      I haven’t run into that problem, Sue. But thanks for the warning.

  2. Debra Knowles July 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    My small town post office is very unreliable when it comes to sending my handmade cards. I have been making and mailing cards for 3 years. I have experimented by taking multiple copies of the EXACT same card on different days of the same week. Sometimes the card went for regular postage, sometimes the extra postage was required AND ONCE my card was returned to me 3 days later for more postage.
    I have found that the larger cities near me are less fussy —even the one across the state line in the adjoining state. My theory is larger post offices are busier and don’t have Time to fuss. If it appears fine, they take it.
    I do have one trick that helps with the weight. When making layers that will only be seen on the edges I cut out the centers using a rectangle die 2 sizes smaller than the layer .(easily done on a big shot).
    I have also had bad postal experiences with colored envelopes. Black envelopes addressed with white ink at Halloween are often returned (but not always). Red or green or silver envelopes during the Christmas season have also occasionally been rejected (but not always). The postmaster claims that the postal machine looks for “contrast” against the envelope. Placing and writing upon a white sticker on the address portion of a colored envelope or addressing with a thin line black sharpie marker upon the colored envelope is supposed to solve the problem. I have used the sharpie marker method and been successful.
    Embossing the flap of the envelope is also a “no-no” because the postal machine reads it as an unevenness as the card goes through. I have reinforced a small embossing on the inside of the envelope flap with cellophane tape and found that to be allowable.
    Finally, I have found the post office will reject cards addressed in fancy script that I addressed with my computer or any stamped decorations on the front side of the envelope, for that matter. I just gave up doing either of those.
    My husband says I should just stop making cards and send emails ( I think he’s joking…..)

    • Sage July 18, 2017 at 10:38 pm #

      I hope he’s joking, Debra. Making cards helps keep us sane!
      Thanks for your input on what you’ve experienced. You’ve covered many things I didn’t, and I think other cardmakers will be glad to learn from your “mistakes.” Even in a mid-sized city like Albuquerque, I’ve received different information from different clerks. I think they can be confused about the rules themselves. That’s why I went to the source and looked at the requirements on usps.com. Other people have said that what they’re charged can depend on which Post Office they go to.
      Since I did the research and made these videos in November of 2015, I haven’t had any trouble with cards being returned. And I’ve only heard from one person who watched the video and had something returned. It was apparently because she had made a box for a card with embellishments, and the box wasn’t flexible so needed extra postage for being non-machineable.

  3. Nancy Peters July 19, 2017 at 7:36 am #

    Hi Sage,

    I love your videos and this one on mailing is great. I have a tip. Most of us don’t have enough chipboard to cover all we mail. Those who have Dollar Tree stores can get white poster board for 50 cents a sheet. I cut mine with a rotary cutter into manageable sizes and then use my paper cutter.

    My post office has a very cranky lady. At first it irritated me, but it has become funny (I may make her a card). She charged me for a package (just to get it back) on the only card that has come back to me. I had put one of SU’s largest pearls on it. I didn’t pad it. I’ve learned.

    Thanks for all your tips.

    • Sage July 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

      Thanks for the tip about chipboard. I bet you pad your embellished cards after that experience! Glad you like my videos. And thanks for the comment, I always appreciate hearing from my followers.

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