I have been involved in card and scrapbooking swaps for over a decade, and I learned from the best during my time at OzSwapTillYouDrop, founded by Rachel Greig (yes, Darkroom Door Rachel!). Over that time, with much trial, and thankfully not too much error, we developed the most efficient way to pack and post swap items.
A C4 envelope will hold a piece of A4 paper flat.
A C5 envelope will hold a piece of A4 paper folded in half.
Please use C4 envelopes, not C5. Why? I am so glad you asked 😀
C4 and C5 envelopes both cost the same to post. But the larger C4 envelope allows swaps to be packed flatter, as the swap items can be more spread out in the envelope. For example … 6 cards in a C4 envelopes are only 2 cards high … but in a C5 they are 3 cards high … and if some of those cards are bulky, the C5 envelope will not fit through that 2cm slot, and will cost more to post.
So … to save you money … please use C4 envelopes.
If you join every swap this year, you will use 22 envelopes. Some will be C4, others DL or C6 for small, flat swap items. Be sure to read the swap details each month and use the correct envelope size.
Large Snaplock Bag
This large bag does 3 things:
1. Protects precious swap items from getting wet if it is raining on post delivery day.
2. Protects precious swap items from being lost if the envelope is damaged.
3. You can put everything inside and squeeze all the air out of it before locking that snap, for less bulk.
I have seen a lot of different types of card, some protect your work, others do not. Look for something that doesn’t bend easily, but isn’t too bulky. If you are a hard core swapper, have 2 pieces of A4 card, and one piece that fits into a DL or C6 envelope (you know which one you prefer 😉 ). You can re-use your Snaplock bag and stiff card combo over and over and over. I still have 2 that I have been using for over a decade!!
Peel & Seal bags vs small snaplock bags
When it comes to bagging swap items, and keeping postage costs to a minimum, I recommend peel & seal bags over snaplock. The snaplock section adds bulk and weight to your parcel. Even small lunch or freezer bags are suitable. In swaps it’s all about keeping it flat, squeezing out the air and keeping the costs down.
Labelling swap items
You can write your name on the back, or include a slip of paper with your name on it with each swap item. This way people will know who made the item that they love so much 🙂
A DL or C6 envelope under 125g and less than 2cm thick only requires one stamp.
C4 envelopes under 125g and less than 2cm thick require 2 stamps.
If it is thicker or heavier than that, please check with your post office for the correct postage.
It is advisable to place the same number of stamps on the return envelope as you have used sending the swap.
Swaps have been getting through during 2014 with only 2 stamps on a C4 envelope … but the average card swap is just over 125g, and technically requires 3 stamps, especially if you are lodging it at the post officie.
If you follow these tips, it should help keep the cost of swapping to a minimum.