This is my first instructable. I invite feedback, coaching, and correction.

My wife finally started selling stuff on the internet. One of the big things that distinguishes sellers is shipping costs. If what you are selling (in our case used boutique baby clothes) is heavier that 13oz. you have a lot of options* of how to ship. The same package could cost you $8.60, $10.95, or $4.75 depending how smart you pack it. I was able to package 2 shipments by hand in about 40 minutes. Once I made the jig I could do it in 3 minutes flat.

* Technically you have one les option, since the cut-off for the cheaper first class mail is 13oz.  If you can ship first class, you should. It's the best value. So, for packages 13ox and under, I think there is really only 1 choice.

Step 1: The supplies

Here is what you need.

1. A 12 1/2in x 9 1/2in Flat Rate shipping envelope, price $0.00
2. A strip of plywood* ripped down to a width equal to the shortest dimension of your box, price $2.00 or free (scrap)
3. 8 wood screws 1 1/4in length or longer, price $1.79 or free (scrap)

Table Saw for ripping the plywood (not needed if using a 2x4)
Miter Saw for cutting the sides to length
Philips P2 bit (or T20 if using DeckMate, the only wood screws I use)
Counter sink bit (recess the screw heads, it's prettier)
Forstner bit , Wood Spade , or Auger

* You can opt for a simple 2x4 if you don't have a means of ripping the plywood, but it won't be very useful for stuffing.
<p><em>It still feels like we're taking it up the tailpipe</em></p>
<p>Hello Non flatrate shoebox by USPS. How much might you cost if you're just three pounds? Huh? Seems I have to go wait in line to get this thing priced no matter the paypal postage service or the Ebay paypal service. </p>
<p>Most post office have automated mailing stations in front by the mail boxes. </p>
<p>Thank you. This is very useful</p>
<p>As long as you didn't modify the box AND it shuts properly without additional tape it SHOULD work however many Post Office workers are on the lookout for these things and they may not accept it. Also the cutoff on 1st class mail is 16 oz, not 13 so it still may be cheaper to use 1st class mail depending on your item. My best tip is to use a site like http://www.ShippingSidekick.com which offers discounted postage rates which are cheaper than the Post Office directly.</p>
<p>First class mail weighing over 13 oz. not bearing a metered label, MUST be taken to the post office!</p>
<p>Priority Mail padded flat rate envelopes are also free and a cost effective shipping packaging. The current USPS rates also make the Priority Mail legal flat rate envelope the same price as the standard envelope.</p>
<p>I showed this to my husband, and he made it for me. I just can't seem to follow the instructions for making the folds, esp. the first one. When I tried it, the box ended up longer than the jig, not a tight fit at all. Could you add a video or more pictures with details of using the jig in the envelope? </p>
<p>This sounds useful if you need a box a little larger/deeper than the small flat rate box ($5.95) but do not want to bump up to the Medium flat rate box ($11.30).</p><p>It looks like the small flat rate envelope price increased since you posted this four years ago.</p>
<p>So what we have now is sellers stuffing Flat Rate Boxes inside the Flat Rate envelope to save a lousy 25 cents, how smart is that.</p>
Where are you coming up with 25 cents?
<p>Current USPS Retail Prices:</p><p>$5.75 Priority Mail&trade; Small Flat Rate Envelope</p><p>$5.95 Priority Mail&trade; Small Flat Rate Box</p><p>Sorry you are right it's not 25 cents, it's 20 cents, 20 lousy cents!</p>
Ok the priority flat rate boxes do have to stay in the shape as it is with no buldging showing. Flat rate envolopes can be stuffed but as long as it closes with no tape then ya should be good... If it is taped shut and the end of envolope is t shut all the way there is a chance ya will het it returned.
<p>This is prohibited per the Postal Domestic Mail Manual (Eg, postal regulations) If you use flat rate priority packaging, you are not allowed to modify the package shape. It must remain the same shape and size as when you got it - doing this is a great way to have your package get damaged on the sorting machines at the post office and/or have it RETURNED for standard postage (or delivered postage-due)</p><p>If you want to make custom-shaped boxes, you can use the NON flat rate packaging materials, and then pay proper postage based on weight/etc.</p><p>USPS shipping is far cheaper than UPS or Fedex, why do you feel the need to cheat them out of a couple bucks?</p>
<p>The prohibition is that you are not allowed to change the packaging by cutting it, and you must be able to close the package with the seal that is there--simply folding the corners is legal. </p>
<p>I use a similar method, often. The envelope will hold more than twice as much as the small box, for the same price. Since it is priority - if the items you're shipping are heavy and/or small - the priority tape is at your disposal; use it liberally. This will keep prying eyes and hands out of the envelope and avoid it &quot;accidentally&quot; breaking open. I mummify my shipping packages at USPS, since I've had bad experiences with them &quot;losing&quot; much of the contents in a USPS facility. Use the electronic kiosk to avoid hassle from nosy USPS employees and speed the process of shipping. I use my phone to shoot a picture of the label before shipping for easy tracking and to send to the recipient.</p>
Super Smart!!!!!!
Great Instructable! Well photographed, tagged and documented!
I love the ingenuity and will give this a try.<br> According to USPS.com's flat rate priority mail page:<br> &quot;Shipping shouldn&rsquo;t take a lot of time and guesswork. With Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes,<strong> if it fits, it ships&reg;</strong> anywhere in the U.S.* for a low Flat Rate. And no need for those zone maps.&quot;<br> <br> <br>
If you have any problems with USPS, please feel free to contact us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Zs-Boutique/147885465279821 and post on our wall. We will answer back within 24 hours.<br><br>Also,<br><br>You may submit complaints to grievance through the USPS site. It WORKS! Your local USPS will NOT like this. =D Make sure you leave your actual information when filing a complaint so when your local post office calls you to discuss any matters, you can actually go in and let them see your face. Next time, they will know better than to mess with you!
Right? That's what I thought. Flat rate does mean &quot;flat&quot; shipping rate!!!! This lady from my post office said flat rate means the envelope has to be flat.<br><br>However, this link says differently. BRING THIS TO THE POST OFFICE, NEXT TIME THEY SAY SOMETHING.<br><br>http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/123.htm<br><br>
My local PO wont accept this, They make you put it into a box. But they arent very nice ever. My buddy calls her the U.S.P.S. Under Sexed Postal Slu!
If you get something non-hazardous weighing less than 70 lbs (Keep in mind that a solid block of lead would only be 77 lbs) to fit into an intact USPS Flat Rate shipping container and seal it with an approved means, they will ship it. Your local PO is a stickler for policy. They are very unforgiving about it and that's why they seem like such jerks. (Mine is the same way.) Their policy states that my first sentence in this comment is true. They will follow their policy to the letter. If you doubt it, try it. If you have a problem, take down names.
Thanks! I've been receiving mostly negative feedback based on people's bad experiences with their post offices. I suspect those experiences are unrelated to flat rate shipping packages also.<br><br>The fact of the matter is this:<br>This method works for stuffing the maximum content into the cheapest container.<br>If your contents fit and weight less than 70lbs, they will ship it in these flat rate packages.<br><br>I'm glad someone appreciates the idea.
I don't know about your post office, but here in NYC, you will be subject to the 20-question barrage &quot;Is there anything hazardous, perishible, liquid, flammable....Insurance, confirmation....Would you like a book a stamps?&quot; to include getting a speech on those are flat, meaning flat document, flat-rate mailers, you must repackage that to mail at the regular rate because you can't use an official flat rate mailing box to ship anything other than flat flat-rate. Now get back in the line after you repackage that to be subject to the same line of questioning again. I guess don't try to send anything fragile as it will get it hung up in the high-speed processing machines and your package will get there when it gets there.
&quot;Flat rate&quot; means that you only pay one price no matter what the package weighs.
true, but here you get hassled for trying to ship something like an overstuffed burrito, I'd rather not see them go postal.
I buy postage online. It's built right into PayPal, so you don't even have to copy the shipping address. I can leave it in my mailbox with the flag up or drop it in the box at the PO downtown when I go to work and that shaves a day off the ETA. Honestly I don't care how long it takes. I'm not the recipient. It's cheap and it's easy. No need for negativity. It's really a pretty pleasant experience.

About This Instructable




More by RichardBronosky:Make $4.75 USPS Flat Rate shipping box Keep a stack of papers in order without numbering them 
Add instructable to: