Tips for mailing quilt squares.

kay_in_paMarch 30, 2011

I was recently asked by a lotto participant about the best way to send squares through the mail.

Theresa, thanks so much for the question. As I've opened the lotto packages, I've been intending to make a note of this, but forgot whenever I logged on.

The primary thing is to make sure your block is inside something waterproof. Especially in inclement weather, envelopes do manage to get wet, even from just a corner. This can cause water stains if the moisture gets to the fabric.

There are several ways to accomplish the dryness goal:

  1. Put your square in a plastic bag, and then in a mailing envelope.

  2. Use a plastic or bubble wrap lined envelope.

  3. Wrap your squares with multiple wraps of plastic wrap and then tape to seal.

  4. One lady shrink wraps hers.

From the receiving end, I'd like to make a few suggestions.

If you use the plastic bag inside an envelope, you do not need to use a zip lock bag unless it's just easier for you. Before I mail them out, I end up cutting off the zip seals and then seal with tape to reduce bulk.

If you don't trust the seal on your outer envelope and want to tape it, PLEASE don't run the tape over the whole end of the envelope. When the tape completely seals the flap, I can't get to the little slot in the corner very easily without using scissors. I worry so much that the square is up against that end and I'll cut it by mistake. This is especially true of the bubble wrap lined envelopes, as I can't shake the square to the bottom in them, and I can't feel through the bubble wrap how close the square is to the opening.

If you use plastic wrap, please remember to seal the edges with some tape for water-proofing.

As for the US Post Office rules (don't know about Canada or Australia, maybe some GW members from there could add advice), here are the size classes:

A first class letter can be in an envelope up to 6-1/8" high and 11-1/2" long, but no more than 1/4" thick and not over 1 ounce without an additional fee. If you're only sending one square it's possible to use this. Current mailing rate $.44 US.

A first class Large Letter can be up to 12" x 15" and 3/4" thick up to 1 ounce is $.88 US. Additional weight incurs a surcharge.

NOTE THAT THERE IS A SURCHARGE FOR USING ENVELOPES THAT HAVE A CLASP ON THEM. I still have some of these, so I just remove the clasp and close with packing tape.

I try to post a message with 3 days of receipt of any squares, though life sometimes gets in the way of that. If you have any question as to whether I've received your squares or not, please feel free to email me & ask.

So far, while I've been doing the lotto moderating, we haven't had any squares lost in the mail. I do send the squares out to the recipient using flat rate boxes with a delivery confirmation.

For international lotto participants, please contact me if you'd prefer to cover the $1 participation/mailing to winner fee in some way other than US dollars. I'd be happy to work with you on an easier solution, such as sending along a fabric 1/8 or something similar and I'll submit your $1. I'd really like to see more international participants in the lottos. Fabric availability varies from country to country and it's always so interesting to see pictures of projects from quilters in other countries.

Again, Theresa, thanks for jogging my memory about posting this!

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Thanks Kay! GREAT advice!! I especially like your tip on not putting the tape all the way around the end of the envelope:) Yes, I too have worried that I'm cutting into the fabric,not just the envelope.
May I add,that on another forum where I get a lot of blocks/fabrics mailed, it's been popular lately to use Press 'N Seal to wrap the block in. IMHO, BAD idea! It leaves a sticky residue on the fabric - yuck! Not to mention the time it takes to finally find the open end to be able to peel it off in the first place!:( Regular plastic wrap works great & is a whole lot cheaper!
I really liked your comment also on the zip bags. The zip makes it slightly heavier & bulky, & it's harder to squeeze out all the air to make the envie as flat as possible. I've paid the extra postage for bulk more often than weight -- & it's mostly air! :(

Again, thanks Kay for the great tips!


    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 11:46AM
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My postal lady suggested that I always bring my package in, even if it's pretty much flat. That way it won't be going through the machine. It's more time consuming, but I send a few at a time and it isn't so bad.

To get flatter envelopes: Fold the blocks with seams off set if you can. Before sealing envelope, stack some books or heavy objects on it overnight to help flatten.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 12:54PM
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The cheapest rate I have ever had for sending a block by mail from Australia to the US has been $2.40.

Kristene (tinyteena)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 9:01AM
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These are good tips and I am sheepishly admitting I have not been following them. So thanks for the reminder. I'm so sorry if anyone has received a block from me that was soiled or damaged! I usually enclose mine in folded cardstock to protect the block but I haven't been wrapping in plastic.
(blushing with embarrassment)

I promise to do better!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 1:05PM
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