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 a general guide to help you mail 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 63¢ or the non-machinable rate 80¢). 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. So that 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.
- Envelopes that are not rectangular in size. Always make sure you address your envelopes horizontally, not vertically, to be considered a standard rectangle shape.
- Envelopes that are square. Any envelope that is not a rectangle costs more – so a square envelope will start at $1.03. Most wedding invitations are both square and more than one ounce.
- 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.
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.
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 envelopes from Stampin’ Up! in both Basic 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″
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″
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 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
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 will require more postage, even if they weigh less than the standard letter 1 oz.
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.
Link to USPS First Class Postage and Package Pricing
ENVELOPES AND NOTECARDS
Use these AWESOME products to make your card stand out in a crowd. Stampin’ Up! has a luxurious feel to its envelopes. The basic envelopes in Basic White, Very Vanilla, and Clear are standard supply items in every catalog. The specialty note card & envelope packages change with each catalog. If you like the specialty pack – get them before they sell out. The new Annual 2023-2024 Stampin’ Up! catalog will be out in May 2023.
Do you want to get the best shipping rates for mailing packages? Check out the FREE mailing program at PirateShip.com. I have saved ALOT of money shipping packages using this service. Just set up an account with your name, address, and charge card. Then enter the shipping label information. You will need to be able to weigh your package. You can choose which shipping service you would like to use (USPS or UPS). Print and affix the label to your package then put it in your mailbox or take it to USPS (if you choose USPS) or UPS drop-off. Your charge card will be charged for shipping (no additional fees). Easy Peasy!
I would love to be your source for Stampin’ Up! products and ideas. Please click on my shop to purchase awesome Stampin’ Up! products and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and here on my Blog.
Great post! This info is so helpful and hard to find in one place. I’ll bookmark this under my favorites. Thanks!
So very glad it’s helpful for you.
great post. really helpful information for those who love to make and send Christmas cards.
Postage can get expensive if you aren’t aware of the guidelines. I am glad that you found the info helpful. I ended up paying $3.74 for a birthday card but it was definitely worth it. LOL