This blog short article focuses largely on obtaining envelopes v the United claims Postal Service. If you carry out not live in the joined States, i apologize in development for not being able come speak knowledgeably around the postal regulation in her country! However, even if it is you space US-based or not, I deserve to guarantee that you will uncover some really neat letter art incentive in this post … and every single envelope pictured has actually been successfully delivered via USPS. That time to pull the end your envelopes (or DIY some!) and also get creative!


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I have been hesitant to write this blog write-up for years since I am no a postal worker, and I always get blended feedback from postal workers as soon as I asking questions about mail art. So, keep that in psychic while you’re reading! despite my non-post office employed staff history, this blog post needs come happen due to the fact that I obtain asked all the time if the envelopes I post on society media endure the postal device (and the answer is yes!!). What ns am writing this day is solely based upon my personal experience v the joined States post Office; it’s absolutely not gospel and was no endorsed by USPS.When you spend a the majority of time on a item of mail art, of course you want to make sure it it s okay to wherein it needs to be! There space a couple of steps I require to ensure my envelopes’ for sure arrival:

1. Make certain you put adequate postage on your non-machinable envelope.

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The US short article office (and, as much as ns know, many post offices throughout the world) procedure letters utilizing machines. However, these makers will only procedure your letter if:

Your envelope is a standard size.Both the contents and the exterior of your envelope room flat and also even.The envelope is not made out of a reflective material.The address on the envelope is legible (especially the zip code/country code).

If any that those criteria room not met, your envelope is “non-machinable” — meaning it cannot be processed by a USPS an equipment — and you should include extra postage. Because that example, if your envelope is one irregular shape (e.g. A square, favor the Janet Style floral envelope pictured below), you’ll need to add a couple more stamps.

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As that November of 2015, the extra fee is $0.22 because that a non-machinable piece, but if you want to examine up on existing USPS rates, the website Postage prices by Jerry Nelson is a an excellent resource. Nelson’s website not only explains present US postal rates, but also helps you to number out what “standard sizes” that envelopes actually are.

2. Sometimes, friend should add extra postage “just to it is in safe”.

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The USPS standard stamp location is in the upper right corner of an envelope. However, you have the right to make a fun variation of mail arts by placing stamps in unconventional spots. If you look in ~ the Kaitlin layout envelope above, because that example, you’ll watch that i’ve lined the stamps up diagonally. It is not conventional USPS placement, for this reason I added a few extra come account because that the fact that a person — and also probably no a device — will need to handle the handling of this piece.

Similarly, if you’re sending out an envelope the you’re no 100% sure on as far as the policy goes (like the clear envelope listed below featuring Sans Serif lettering), the a great idea to add extra stamps.

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If in doubt, it’s never ever a bad idea to check with the write-up office. I have a difficult time getting someone on the phone if I speak to the Boulder short article office, and also the line is always too long for me to justify standing in it just to questioning questions; so I like to communicate with USPS over Reddit. The was with Reddit that I found out that clear envelopes prefer the one over should have actually extra postage, together they space non-machinable. If you on Twitter, girlfriend can also tweet
USPSHelp.

3. Make certain the deal with is legible.

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A legible deal with is a soft prerequisite because that delivery. I say “soft” because sometimes the write-up office delivers envelopes to mine mailbox that ns am shocked anyone could decipher (you need to see my mother’s handwriting; oy vey), for this reason it appears to depend on just how much patience postal employees have actually on any given day. To see just how subjective the legibility of any type of given mail arts envelope have the right to be, check out Schin Loong’s annoy a mail carrier project. Despite the title, the goal is no to stroked nerves postal workers, but to check the boundaries of mail art. It’s remarkable to see which of Schin’s envelopes were delivered, and also which to be not!

Sometimes, the crazy creative artist side of you might take over, leaving you through a beautiful yet perhaps impractical envelope, choose the Halloween-themed piece below …

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In cases like that, I not only add extra postage, yet I additionally put a sticky note on the envelope. I have no idea even if it is the note helps or no — for all i know, perhaps it ended up falling off of this certain mail art piece — however I will say this: the skull envelope finished up at its intended destination within 2 days. And also it make its debut sans sticky note!

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When creating mail art, i always shot to make sure the zip password is prominent and legible. That way, also if yes sir a the majority of stuff going on in her mail arts (like all the swirls, lettering, and illustrations in the envelope below), the postal workers will be able to easily determine which direction your envelope needs to head.

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4. Accept the chance that your envelope might not be delivered.

If ns am being totally honest through you, I have never had a letter evaporate into thin air, also when sending around the world (knock on wood). Additionally, if my letters come back, it’s constantly because i did not compose the correct deal with … well, except for one time, as soon as the article office maker ate mine letter. When that happened, I obtained my letter earlier along with a contrite note of apology, which i actually thought was quite cool. Frankly, if it to be me functioning at the post office, I more than likely would have just thrown the letter away and permit the sender think they will do messed increase in your addressing fairly than admitting the letter and its contents had to be torn up. (I think it’s safe to to speak we are all lucky the I do not job-related at the post office.) Instead, not only did I get confirmation the the letter had actually not arrived, yet the human who discovered the mangled letter tried to tape it all back together again. While post office devices do not frequently eat letters, it’s an excellent to store in psychic that there’s a chance it may happen.

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Similarly, the is essential to remember the the US post office has a 94% distribution rate (as the 2014, at least). Considering the article office sends numerous letters every year, there is a slight chance that her envelope could end up being one the the 6% of letters that perform not get delivered, nevertheless of even if it is you have sent mail arts or a nondescript envelope. So: be all set for that, and also if by some opportunity your envelope is neither ceded to the receiver nor went back to you together the sender, remember that occasionally life happens and things carry out not go together planned!

5. Remember that postal employees are, well, world … and also people have different personalities/tolerance levels.

I to be inclined come agree with plenty of of the clues in mary England’s short article How come Navigate the united state Postal Service — especially the bit where she points the end that various postal workers will certainly respond to mail arts in varying ways. Where one postal worker may tell you, “Oh yeah, this is fine!”, the following worker can say, “No way, José.” The only neutral “postal worker”, one that will accept your letter no matter what, is a repository (e.g. The blue mailboxes scattered throughout the US).

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I have conflicting feelings about recommending staying clear of postal workers and their differing willingness to take it on mail art — the advice seems sneaky and also slimy. However, transparency is mine policy as soon as writing the TPK blog, and also I have to admit that all my letter are sent from a blue crate or my home mailbox. Still, it’s never ever a bad idea to put on part extra postage and make sure your legibility is acceptable, like in the very readable hand-lettered envelope pictured below.

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Remember, too, that no all post offices will certainly react to mail art the very same way. I have actually said this numerous times on social media, and I’ll speak it again here: the Boulder, CO, post office puts up through all my mail nonsense; and for that, they worthy a medal of honor. However, I have actually heard indigenous multiple TPK readers that this is no the instance in their community, and also some mail art endeavors room woefully nipped in the bud. If friend live in one of those communities, there is certain no shame in putting your mail art in a larger, plainly addressed envelope and also sending it! when your recipient opens up the huge envelope, they will still it is in delighted and also surprised.

Fun Mail art Suggestions

While this short article is devoted to help you ensure the your letters room delivered, I also thought it would be nice to touch on cool ways to boost your mail arts experience! below are some ways I favor to add some “va-va-voom” to outgoing envelopes:

1. Make stamp collages.

You deserve to use vintage, uncanceled stamps come collage with, as shown on the Breezy Hand-Lettered envelopes below! simply make sure the total value that the stamps is equal to or exceeds the cost required come send the envelope. You can discover such stamps on eBay or Etsy. Vice versa, you may visit the USPS website and also purchase modern stamps of reduced values for collaging purposes.

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2. Add an illustration.

Putting an illustration on your envelope — specifically if it’s no necessarily integrated with the calligraphy — shouldn’t deteriorate whether the envelope is ceded or not. It likewise does not render the envelope non-machinable (in many cases). You have the right to learn just how to make an envelope with a lace motif prefer the Janet layout piece below in this tutorial.

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3. Get an imaginative with her return addresses.

Return addresses are regularly overlooked through the sender; this blog short article outlines several ways to add some pizazz come the earlier of your envelopes. My favorite is this Kaitlin layout concept!

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4. Include an envelope liner.

Envelope liners space super-quick come whip up and will include beauty + stability to your mail art. You have the right to learn just how to make them in this tutorial!

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5. Do your very own envelopes.

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I love to DIY envelopes! The Kaitlin layout piece listed below was created using a web page from a vintage art magazine. You have the right to learn to make your own envelopes in the Handmade Stationery set Tutorial, and if you want to make different sizes the envelopes, you may enjoy the Letter Writer’s Complete source (which consists of several printable templates).

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Ultimately, every one of my proposal for getting mail art through the post office are subjective. Whether her mail art will certainly arrive in ~ its final destination depends on countless factors that may be the end of your control! However, I execute hope the you will certainly give creating mail art a try. You could be pleasantly surprised in ~ what happens; and certainly her recipient will be thrilled v the final result!