How Much Postage Does It Take to Mail a Hand-made Card?

By | April 13, 2014


So, what does it take to mail a stamped card?  Especially if the card isn’t totally flat (because you know how much we love our embellishments!)  And what size is legal?  There are so many questions about postage, I thought I would share some answers with you today.

First, how much?  A first class letter costs $.49 to mail (or a Forever stamp).  That price is for an envelope that is no heavier than 1 ounce, is between 3-1/2″ x 6-1/8″ high, is between 5″ and 11-1/2″ long, is less than 1/4″ thick, and has uniform thickness.  Oh, and the envelope has to be “machinable”, meaning the envelope can go through the sorting machines.  Clear cellophane envelopes are not considered “machinable”.   A second ounce will cost you $.21 more.  I finally found a use for that Weight Watcher scale; dig yours out and start weighing your cards!  Add another $.21 for non-machinable, rigid, square cards,  and “lumpy” envelopes.

By the way, those “lumpy” envelopes still need to be no thicker than 1/4″.  If they are between 1/4″ and 3/4″, they are considered “large” envelopes and the postage is more.  Large envelopes are 6-1/8″ to 12″ high, 11-1/2″ to 15″ long, and no more than 3/4″ thick.  Large envelopes that are rigid, lumpy, etc, will have to be mailed as packages.  Which of course, costs more.  Large envelopes cost $.98 for the first ounce and $.21 for each additional ounce.

Wow, that seems like a lot of rules!  And there are actually more.  For actual prices, guidelines, etc, visit the US Post Office website at

This is what I do:

  1. Put the card in an envelope and address it.  If there is anything sticking out (brad, bow, etc), I put a piece of packing tape over the lump so the envelope won’t rip.
  2. Weigh the envelope.
  3. Go to the Post Office website and enter the appropriate information (“from” zip code, “to” zip code, weight and what I think it is (envelope, large envelope, or package).
  4. Calculate what stamps I will need.  If it is a package and more than a dollar or so, I will go to a website that I found that tells me how many of which stamps I need.  When you go to the site the first time, you tell it which denominations of stamps you have and then it remembers that information for the next time.  Very cool.
  5. Hope I figured right!  Most of the time, I put $.70 on my cards.  They are almost always lumpy or a little heavy… sometimes both.  Please let me know if you get a card from me and have to pay extra postage – I would feel bad!


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