I hope that you are sharing your cards. Mailing your hand-stamped card shares your joy. Getting a card in the mail is the equivalent of a hug from a friend. I guarantee that the recipient will smile when they open their mailbox and it is not a bill that awaits them. Today’s discussion is on mailing your hand-stamped card. There should be no card hoarding!

The US Post Office (USPS) has standard envelope sizes for postage. I try to avoid paying more than the standard first-class postage rate (currently 55¢ or the non-machinable rate 70¢). Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when creating your masterpiece. Please keep in mind that these are current prices as of this post.

WHAT WILL MAKE YOU PAY MORE POSTAGE?

Who wants to pay more postage than is necessary to mail a card? I want to know how much my creations are going to cost to mail. And maybe I can design my hand-stamped cards with that in mind. Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing your masterpieces that will affect how much it will cost to mail.

Letters (Stamped): 1 ounce 55¢, 2  ounces 70¢,  3 ounces 85¢,  3.5 ounces $1.00
  • Envelopes that are not rectangle in size. Always make sure you address your envelopes horizontally, not vertically, to be considered standard rectangle shape.
  • Envelopes that are square. Any envelope that is not a rectangle costs more – so a square envelope will cost you 15¢ in addition to the postage required for weight and dimension. Most wedding invitations are both square and more than one ounce. For example, a square envelope that is 2 ounces would cost you 85¢ to mail (70¢ + 15¢).
  • Envelopes that are more than 1/4″ thick. Be careful with your ribbon, embellishments and Dimensionals when making your greeting cards. Over 1/4″ moves your envelope to a package rate.
  • Envelopes that don’t bend easily.  Avoid more than 4 layers of cardstock when creating your masterpiece.
  • Envelopes that have claps, strings or other non-standard closures.

The good news is that USPS usually won’t charge you more than once if your card has more than 1 of the above exceptions. You should always check with your local Post Office, just to be safe.

Tips and Tools for Measuring Letters:

Use this guide to measure letters. Once a piece of mail exceeds the maximum length, height, or thickness of one measurement criterion, it automatically gets classified in the next largest category. If letter measures more than 1/4″ it will be classified as a large envelope and subject to a different pricing table.

Minimum size for Postcards and Letters: 5″ long x 3-1/2″ high

Maximum size for Postcards: 6″ long x 4-1/4″ high

Maximum size for Letters: 11-1/2″ long x 6-1/8″ high

Maximum thickness for Letters: 1/4″ thick 

WHAT IS THE STANDARD ENVELOPE SIZE?

I’m glad you asked. Here is a chart for the common greeting card/envelope sizes. The card sizes are based on an 8-1/2″ x 11″ piece of cardstock.

TIP: You will get 2 cards from every sheet of 8-1/2″ x 11″ cardstock for the 4-Bar & A-2 sizes and 1 card for the A-6, A-7 and A-9 sizes.
    • 4-Bar (Notecard)

      Folded Card Size:  3-1/2″ x 5″
      Envelope Size:       3-5/8″ x 5-1/8″
      Cut Your Cardstock at 5″ x 7″, score at 3-1/2″
      You can purchase these already cut & scored from Stampin’ Up!  in both Whisper White and  Very Vanilla.

    • A-2 (standard greeting card)

      Folded Card Size:  4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″
      Envelope Size:       4-3/8″ x 5-3/4″
      Cut Your Cardstock at 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″, score at 4-1/4″ OR cut at 4-1/4″ x 11″ and score at 5-1/2″

    • A-6

      Folded Card Size:  4-1/2″ x 6-1/4″
      Envelope Size:       4-3/4″ x 6-1/2″
      Cut Your Cardstock at 6-1/4″ x 9″, score at 4-1/2″

    • A-7 (common size for Wedding Invitations)

      Folded Card Size:  5″ x 7″
      Envelope Size:       5-1/4″ x 7-1/4″
      Cut Your Cardstock at 7-1/2″ x 10-1/2″, score at 5-1/4″

    • A-9

      Folded Card Size:  5-1/2″ x 8.50″
      Envelope Size:       5-3/4″ x 8-3/4″
      No need to cut cardstock, score at 5-1/2″

    • Square

      Square is defined by equal length and width
      5″ x 5″ is the minimum size envelope that can be mailed
      Square envelopes are odd-sized and are non-machinable
      $0.70 postage is required

WHAT IS A “NON-MACHINABLE” SURCHARGE?

If you have unusually shaped mail pieces – like uneven, stiff, square, or vertical envelopes – and the machine is unable to sort them into the correct pile, or if your mail has extras – like buttons, clasps, or string – it must be hand-cancelled (processed by a human being). These mail items are considered “non-machinable,” and a fee of 15¢ may be applied, even if they weigh less than the standard letter 1 oz.

According to the USPS website: Rectangular envelopes are able to be processed via a sorting machine. The envelope is grabbed by one of its longer sides. The machine then locates the stamp which will be either on the upper right corner or, if the envelope is upside down, on the lower-left corner. The machine will then rearrange the letter (takes up to 2 motions) to read the address and route the envelope properly. With a square envelope, there is no long side for the envelope to automatically land on. The machine would have to take more steps to get it adjusted properly in order for the machine to read it. Since the Post Office sorts so much mail, it is easier for the machine to simply remove the square envelope from the sorter. At that stage, it is necessary for a human to manually enter the address into the system so that it may be routed to the appropriate Post Office. A human dealing with entering an envelope manually costs the Post Office ten times more than what it would cost if the envelope was machinable. Thus, the additional cost for square envelopes. The surcharge for non-machinable envelopes is .20 cents for the first ounce.

CAN I USE A FOREVER STAMP?

You can still use Forever Stamps, regardless of how much you paid for them and when you bought them, to mail First Class letters weighing up to 1 oz. without affixing additional postage to the envelope.

Forever stamps don’t have a dollar amount printed on them. They are worth whatever the first-class postage rate is on any given day. To find out what that amount is, check the USPS website for the current first-class postage rate. This means that you can send a first-class envelope with a Forever Stamp today, tomorrow, next year, five years from now, no matter what the current cost is.

Buy Forever stamps at the current first-class rate and you don’t have to worry about how much sending a standard letter costs. Stick a Forever Stamp on your envelope, drop your letter in the mailbox, and voila, you’re covered.

You can use more than one Forever Stamp if you need to send a package or a letter that weighs more than an ounce. Each stamp is worth the current first-class rate (not what you paid for them). So, if you paid $0.49 and the rate rises to $0.50, you can put two Forever Stamps on a package to get $1.00 worth of postage.

Forever Stamps can be used to send letters internationally. All you’ll need to do is to calculate the rate of your international letter or package and divide that amount by the current first-class postage rate to determine how many Forever Stamps you’ll need to cover the price.

Be aware that you might save money by getting the exact postage you need at the post office or on the USPS website rather than using only Forever Stamps. For example, if a Forever Stamp is currently worth $0.49 and you need $0.55 worth of stamps, you’d lose $0.43 cents if you use two Forever Stamps.

STAMPIN’ UP! AWESOME ENVELOPES AND NOTECARDS

Use these AWESOME products to make your card stand out in a crowd.

I hope this cleared up any questions you may have had on how to mail your hand-stamped card. NOTE: I don’t use any special postal scale to weigh my cards. A digital kitchen scale will do the job. 


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