• Vintage Stamp Collages on Envelopes

    Whether it’s a hand-written letter or a beautiful wedding suite, we essentially are wrapping up little gifts every time we seal an envelope. It’s human nature to want to decorate a gift, and vintage stamp collages are a beautiful way to decorate an envelope containing your “gift”.

    Stamp Collages on Envelopes | The Postman's Knock

    Lately, I have been collaborating with a woman on her daughter’s wedding invitation suite. We have been having so much fun going over details and adding last-minute elements like washi tape and sashes. Then, the topic of stamps came up. When I suggested vintage stamp collages on the outer envelopes, she was both intrigued and confused. I found myself trying to explain to her why I love vintage stamp collages, and why they are “in” right now, both for wedding invitations and regular correspondence. I couldn’t quite come up with an answer as to why I like vintage stamp collages {it’s sort of like asking me why I like chocolate — I just do!}, but after some thought, I did form some hypotheses as to why everyone is jumping on the vintage stamp collage bandwagon.

    Stamp Collages on Envelopes | The Postman's Knock

    I am sure you noticed from my white ink calligraphy blog post that I am a fan of vintage stamp collaging. In my opinion, sending out mail is like sending out art. With email so prevalent, “snail mail” is no longer a necessity. We send out snail mail because we want to surprise and delight people — we want to give them something tangible. Whether it’s a hand-written letter or a beautiful wedding suite, we essentially are wrapping up little gifts every time we seal an envelope. It’s human nature to want to decorate a gift, and stamp collaging is a beautiful way to decorate an envelope containing your “gift”.

    Stamp Collages on Envelopes | The Postman's Knock{Via Oh So Beautiful Paper}

    As my client pointed out after patiently reading my manifesto on vintage stamp collages, the stamps can tell a story. She ended up finding a collage on Etsy that was perfect for her daughter and almost-son-in-law. Each stamp meant something and contributed to giving visual clues about the couple’s relationship. This meaning doesn’t just have to apply to wedding invitations, though — regular correspondence is another great chance to add a meaningful vintage stamp collage to your outgoing mail.

    So — how do you arrange the stamps? That depends on two things: your personal preference, and the amount of room you have after writing your address. {As a side note, I always write out addresses before affixing stamps to the envelopes. That way, if there’s a mess-up, I’m not in a tight spot.} A Google or Pinterest search of “vintage stamp collage envelope” or “vintage stamp collage wedding invitation” can give you some great ideas about the arrangement.

    Stamp Collages on Envelopes | The Postman's Knock

    The place I am most comfortable purchasing vintage stamps for collaging is Etsy, but you can also find them on eBay. Simply search either of those websites for “unused vintage stamps” — you’ll have more options than you can imagine!

    Stamp Collages on Envelopes | The Postman's Knock{A pre-affixed collage by Edelweiss Post on Etsy}

    You may notice the stamps that I use in my model photos are pre-used; I purchase canceled stamps for photography purposes. If you sell envelope calligraphy, I would recommend buying canceled vs. unused stamps to use for modeling because they are much cheaper and dually more practical. I utilize my unused vintage stamps for personal correspondence.

    Stamp Collages on Envelopes | The Postman's Knock

    For personal correspondence, you can send out your vintage stamp collaged envelopes via regular mail with no fuss. You have this option with wedding invitation envelopes as well, but I don’t recommend it. Basically, when you send mail, all the envelopes are sorted through a machine. The machine prints over your stamps {sometimes with a message like “HAPPY HOLIDAYS”}.  In some cases, the envelope may be damaged  — for example, your wax seal may partially come off. After all the work you’ve put in to make your invitations beautiful, the ugly printing and damage potential can put a damper on things, so I recommend hand-canceling. Note that having your envelopes canceled by hand only saves them from one machine; there’s no way to not have that printed barcode at the bottom of your envelopes because the post office uses automated sorters. However, I think it’s worth it just to not have an ugly cancel mark on the vintage stamp collage you’ve spent so much time on.

    Hand Canceled Invitation | The Postman's Knock{Two Stamps,  Hand Canceled : Soon to be Fabulous via Society Bride}

    If you’re interested having your envelopes hand-canceled, here’s a good strategy:

    • Go to a suburban or small post office at a slow time. You might call ahead to see when they generally don’t have many people to accommodate.
    • Personally speak to a clerk and explain that it’s important that your invitations be hand-canceled. As a general warning, I had a client try to do this and a disgruntled postage employee was very harsh with her and said they don’t offer that service. The client went to a different post office and got a kinder woman who happily agreed to hand-cancel her invitations. I have read accounts of people who are told by the post office that the hand-canceling service is no longer offered; that is absolutely not true. It just takes time and energy to do, so sometimes it’s unappealing for the workers.
    • Be prepared for an extra charge. Many post offices hand-cancel for free, and others will want an extra 20 cents per envelope. Really, it all seems to depend on the worker and his/her mood that day. Just be as gracious and warm, and your likelihood of them empathizing with you on the appearance of your invitation suite — and wanting to help you — will rise exponentially. The fewer invitations you have brought, the more likely the postal worker is to agree to hand-cancel them; so you might try bringing them in 25 at a time.

    Hopefully this post has served to give you some inspiration and information on vintage stamp collages and also getting them to your recipients looking just as beautiful as when they left your home. My only other piece of advice would be to remember that stamps just went up this year: make sure you check how much your particular envelope weight and size will cost to mail out!

    Until Wednesday!

    XO, Lindsey | The Postman's Knock