I love creating my own handmade postcards. They go together quickly, and are inexpensive to send. What’s not to like?

In the US, the Post Office has a few basic rules for postcards, if you want them to be eligible for the special reduced postage rates.

Postcards must be:

  • Rectangular. Not square, and not any other shape, and no rounded corners.
  • At least 3.5″ tall, 5″ long, and .007 thick.
  • No more than 4.25″ tall, 6″ long, and .016 thick.
My usual postcard layout.
My usual postcard layout.

In addition, there are rules about the back side:

  • The bottom .75″ must be left free of images or text.
  • A 1.18″ square in the upper right corner must be free of images, to hold a stamp.
  • The address of the recipient must be on the right side of the back, no more than 2.25″ from the right edge.

My Favorite Bases

postcard-basicsBIndex cards make great postcard bases, because they’re already cut to a size the Post Office will accept. I use three blank, white, 4″ x 6″ cards to construct my handmade postcards: two, glued together, to hold the artwork; and a third, with lines drawn on it, to attach to the back at the end, covering up all the uglies left behind by gluing or painting.

postcard-basicsCWatercolor paper. I buy house-brand, 4″ x 6″ watercolor pads at Hobby Lobby. At 12 sheets for $1.99 (or $1.19 if I use a 40% off coupon), they’re a steal. Other companies sell postcard-sized art papers, but they’re often insanely expensive.

I know some people like to make their postcards from old cereal boxes, but honestly, I can’t be bothered with all the cutting and prep. I’d rather grab a pack of index cards at the dollar store, and let a machine do the perfectly rectangular cutting.