So it might be quicker, simpler and cheaper to just email a photo to somebody you love in order to show off your photography skills, or to share a memory with someone. Even so, I'm sure there's a few people, old fashioned types like me, that would delight in receiving some actual, physical pictures in the mail as a rare treat. It's the perfect gift to coincide with a letter to your pen pal, in order to show off the area where you live! If you think you might like to send some photos through the mail in the near future, but are cautious about whether or not they'll arrive at their destination safely, follow these instructions to not only keep your photographs protected, but to provide your sender with a delightfully decorated surprise as well.
You Will Need:
- The photos of your choice (any size will do, but nothing too large).
- 8" by 11" sheets of card stock or card board (number depending on the number of photos you plan on sending).
- Paper cutter (one that will allow you to measure your cuts).
- Scotch Tape
- 1 Envelope (at least 1" larger if you're sending smaller pictures, or a manila envelope for larger pictures).
- 1 Note Card + 1 Matching Envelope
- Any Photo or Camera-Themed Decorations (stickers, stamps, washi tape, etc).
#1: Print Off Your Photos
Whether it's from a home printer or you're stopping by your local Photo Lab or Kodac machine, getting physical copies of the pictures is definitely the first step. If you are printing them from home, and you don't have a printer that's specifically made for photos and are using a regular paper printer, you'll be needing some photo paper which you can pick up at most stores, such as Wal-Mart of Target. A pack of photo paper is fairly cheap, and prevented you don't screw up too much (like I tend to XP), a pack should last you a while For the best-looking photos, if you decide to go that route, I recommend getting glossy photo paper over matte - I always like glossy-finish pictures a lot better. Just remember, be careful of your finger placement when handling pictures; hold onto them by the edges when it's necessary to pick them up by hand. If you are printing your photos onto 8" by 11" paper, you're going to want to use your paper cutter to crop the photos to their proper sizes.
You'll need 2 pieces of card stock or card board per batch of photos, not per individual photo. You need to make sure that your photo bundle isn't too thick - no more than 0.5cm thick, including the cards stock, but discounting the thickness of card board. These will not only protect the glossy finish of your photos, but it will also help to keep your photos from bending in the mail. This won't be the only precaution you'll take against your photos being bent, however, so don't begin fretting just yet.
#3: Tape the Card Stock/Card Board Closed With Your Pictures Sandwiched In-Between
BAM, stage 1 of photo protection is complete! If you'd like to write a message on the card stock/card board, you may do so without harm of damaging the photos, just make sure to use a black pen and not any sort of marker. I myself wrote "Remove Tape To Open" on one side of each of my photo bundles, with arrows pointed to both tape edges.
#4: Decorate The Inside of Your Note Card & Write A Message
Of course it's not required that you use camera-themed decorations, but I find that it gives your photo package a little something special. I recently sent out 3 photo packages at once, and decorated the left side of the card with some simple, transparent camera stickers from Recollections Signature - minimalist but classic. Use the entirety of the right side for your personalized message to your sender - maybe let them know about where or when in particular the photos you're giving them were taken, maybe some fun fact about what was going on the day that you snapped those pictures, anything they might find interesting to correspond with what you're sending them.
#5: Get Your Envelopes Ready
For a smaller size of photos, 4" by 6" and 5" by 8" usually, you just need an envelope size that is a little bit bigger than your photos, where you can tuck away both the photos and your note card, which should be sealed in its own envelope. I'll admit that I forget this basic idea more often than not, that it's easier to write on and decorate your envelope before you load it up and seal it. Now, one important thing you're going to want to write on your envelope, on the same side as the sender's and the return address, are three simple words, written in a decent size so your message can be easily seen - Do Not Bend! And underlining it is usually a good idea too. Have that clearly printed on your envelope and the risk of your package getting damaged goes down dramatically.
For me, the finishing touch on any envelope is always to add some washi tape, once the envelope is safely sealed. Along with the stickers and the camera stamp that came as part of another set from Reocllections, I happened to have some washi tape with the same cameras that can be seen on the transparent sticker collection. Now, as for the size of the photos you want to send - you don't just have to stick to 4" by 6" or 5" by 8" photos. One of the packages I send had photos printed on a 8" by 11" page, so I used a manila envelope for that, and 2 full-sized sheets of card stock to protect the photo paper. No additional prep work is necessary to protect your photos.One good thing about sending photos as a gift as opposed to any other small trinkets you may want to send to your pen pal is that you don't have to fill out any customs forms, or pay a lot of extra in postage - so long as there's nothing extra of monetary value in your package, you're in the clear! All you would need for these types of package would be an Oversized Mail stamp, as opposed to a regular National/International stamp, which you can either buy on your own or that you can pay for at your local post office.
And that's all she wrote! If you have any additional tips on sending out a photo package, or if you've attempted your own, I'd love to hear from you, either on my social media or with a post in the comments below.