Photo Stamps

A stamp with an image of the University of Kansas Jayhawk and showing $0.44 postage as an example of a photo stamp.

Happy New Year! Ready for something different to do? How about photo stamps? Yes, you know that there are special stamps for invitations to weddings and milestone events. But what about doing some photocrafting with stamps — for fun? Here’s one that a friend sent me, long enough ago that postage was only 44 cents!

Start by thinking about whether you’re making stamps to send to others (e.g. an invitation, a thank you) or to send a sheet of stamps as a gift. Next choose an appropriate photo. You might send a sheet of stamps to a grandparent with their grandchild’s artwork; use vacation photos for stamps you use on your own letters; mail invites to a family reunion with ancestors from that family.

The stamps above come from PhotoStamps, a product of Stamps.com that was first launched in 2004. Each stamp is 1.92” wide by 1.39” high. The maximum image area for each stamp is 1.2” x 1.2″. Creating your stamp is very straight-forward. First click on the Create Now tab to start your personalization:

When you click on the green Get Started button, you will be able to upload your photo. You then have the opportunity to make some changes to the size and rotation. The + and – buttons zoom the picture in or out. The “black” button offers additional color options for the postage number. Using Caesar’s photo from our earlier photo sock design, we first uploaded the original photo and then zoomed in to highlight his face. We also changed the color of the postage rate text.

There are several choices for which postage stamp value you purchase (though Forever Stamps are not available.) Select the postage stamp rate and how many sheets (20 stamps/sheet.) Add to your cart and you’re ready to go! The current PhotoStamp cost is $25.99 per sheet of 20 stamps but the price per sheet decreases if you order more than one. (At $0.55/stamp, a regular 20-stamp sheet would be $11.00.)

Sometimes you will have a photo that is not initially square. The default when you upload a photo is “Fit to Frame” so that the entire photo is visible as shown in the first step below. Click on “Fill Frame” to enlarge the photo so that there’s no extra space inside the frame. You can then use the + / – buttons to enlarge further or simply click on the photo and move it around to get the part of the image you want within the frame.

If you are able to edit photos before uploading them, you can be even more imaginative. For example, add a background to a photo, make a collage of several photos, or add text to the photo.

In addition to PhotoStamps.com, other photocrafting sites also allow you to create photo stamps (that are likely also produced by Stamps.com.) These sites usually offer more photocrafting possibilities but typically at somewhat higher prices than PhotoStamps.com. For example, both Shutterfly.com and Minted.com offer designs that frame, decorate, or add text to your photo. Note that their photo frame is not necessarily square.

Countries other than the U. S. offer photos stamps as well. For example, Australia Post offers MyStamps. For fun, they have nine different shapes for their photo stamps! Canada Post offers both landscape and portrait rectangles with an area for your photo and a small area with different designs (maple leaves in this example.)

Your design could be rejected if it doesn’t meet the content requirements: no celebrity images, political content, obscene or offensive images, photos with copyright, etc. Check out the FAQs on PhotoStamps.

On all of the sites we’ve mentioned, you can purchase already designed themed stamps not available through the postal system directly. But hey, we’re photocrafters and you will want to create your own. Have fun!

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