Since the time of their first use in the late 1800s, postcards have been an economical and creative way to send a greeting. Postcards can be made out of just about any thick paper as long as they conform to the United States Postal Services requirements for mail. In order to send a postcard using the inexpensive postcard rate within the United States, the card must be at least 5 inches (12.7 cm) wide, 3.5 inches (8.89 cm) tall and 0.007 inches (.018 cm) thick, but no larger than 0.016 inches (.041 cm) thick, 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) high and 6 inches (15.2 cm) wide.
If a postcard falls outside of these specifications they can still be sent but may require a first class letter stamp in place of a postcard stamp. Postcards sent internationally are subject to the regulations of the country to which they are being sent. These postcards, whether for personal or professional use, can be made using simple, readily available materials.
How to make postcards with items in the home:
Create a template to use as a guide when making postcards. A simple template can be made from an 8.5 by 11 inch (21.59 by 27.94 cm) sheet of paper cut into even fourths will produce four postcard templates that will be 5.5 inches (13.97 cm) wide and 4.25 inches (10.8 cm) tall.
Use the template to make postcards from poster board or card stock paper, both of which are available at craft or office supply stores.
Recycle greeting cards by cutting the front cover of the card off. Greeting cards are often the proper size, thickness and shape for making postcards. Do not use portions of the card that contain writing or any cards that have embellishments that may get caught in postal sorting equipment.
How to make postcards using a computer:
Purchase card stock that is within the specifications the printer being used can accommodate. Check the printer information booklet or contact the manufacture for these specifications.
Using the computer’s word processing program design a postcard that fits the desired dimensions. Many word processing programs include a variety of templates that will make postcards. Free postcard templates can also be downloaded from the Internet by searching for “free postcard templates."
Print the postcard design onto card stock. Follow the printer instructions for printing on both sides of the card stock.
Cut the postcards using a straight edge and a craft razor to give the end product a finished, professional look.
These basics provide a starting point for making low-cost, creative postcards at home. Original, artistic or personal details added to any postcard made at home will make a homemade postcard stand out from the normal bills and junk mail.