School Supplies are 13 Ounces or Less


I have a couple things I’d like to admit.

one. I am in total denial that school is going to be starting. Is anyone else feeling this? Summer, oh summer, where did you go?

two. Despite that, when I walked into Target and and was met by all the school supplies last week, and then saw all of this back to school goodness pop up on my google reader, I couldn’t help but get just a little of that back-to-school buzz.

So, even though I am going to spend the last days of summer cramming in all the swimming, snow cones, and late night reading I can, I am kind of getting into the back-to-school thing on the side.

I thought you’d like to see something I mailed off yesterday.

Remember when my friend Sherry and I exchanged bottles of goodies via post? Well, when I came home with a bag full of school supplies, I couldn’t help myself.
I started with colored pencils.
I wrapped up a few other back-to-school goodies in tissue paper and stuffed them in too.
And of course, with all those colored pencils, there had to be something to color. So I rolled up a few coloring pages.
In it all went,
and the lid went on.
On went the stamps. (I checked USPS postage rates, and 5 first class stamps were enough to mail my 5 ounces of goodies.)
And the only thing left to do was drop it in the big blue mailbox.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details



{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

jesser August 11, 2011 at 7:39 am

Great idea and I LOVE that coloring page. Where did it come from?


AmberLee August 11, 2011 at 8:13 am

Hi Jesser! Thanks for the note. I know, the coloring page is so cool. I actually got it from one of those GIANT kindergarten workbooks. I wish it was a printable, b/c its so fun.


Sherry August 11, 2011 at 7:43 am

I had so much fun with our bottle swap. This is a cute idea and I will be making my own to pass along. Fun.


AmberLee August 11, 2011 at 8:25 am

Sherry, me too! Your bottle will always be the ultimate–I have yet to fit in as many goodies in one bottle. but someday!


This Confetti Life August 11, 2011 at 8:06 am

So cute! What type of bottle are you using? Looks like a water bottle with the wrapper removed?


AmberLee August 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

yup, you guessed it. the bottle was leftover from some sparkling water i bought. it was the perfect size. i love it when things are easy.

p.s. speaking of easy, I tried the headband-curls trick I learned from you last weekend and LOVED it


Amanda August 11, 2011 at 8:47 am

I love this. I’m not sure why I’m afraid to try it but my nephews would love it!


Monica August 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I love this series that you do! Soooo fun! Can’t wait to try this one. :)


Monica August 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm

p.s. I’m wondering where summer went too!! ;)


Amanda August 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I love this series. It’s on my list of things to do though I haven’t made it yet. I’m wondering though – I don’t understand how you know what postage to put on. You weigh the item and then?


AmberLee August 15, 2011 at 8:19 am

Hi Amanda! Thanks for the note. The USPS used to have an easy table on their sight, but I can’t find it anymore. but i looked here and found the current rates for parcels and “lumpy” envelopes that are 13 oz or less:
1 oz $1.71
2 ounces $1.71
3 ounces $1.71 and add 17 cents each additional ounce
4 ounces $1.88
5 ounces $2.05
6 ounces $2.22
7 ounces $2.39
8 ounces $2.56
9 ounces $2.73
10 ounces $2.90
11 ounces $3.07
12 ounces $3.24
13 ounces $3.41


T Byrd September 5, 2011 at 4:44 am

This is essentially the info I was scouring your posts for. I kept clicking on the happy mail link and links that said “the series” but it just kept taking me to lists of posts and not info about them :-/ lol

i had some questions about how usps reacts.

is frowned on? do they give you a hard time?

when you send stuff, do you take all your labels off first so there is no other writing save the addresses or do you leave writing on there (like with the ball) and make sure the addresses are clear? or do you only take off scan-able codes( bar codes) and leave writing?

I love this idea and it is soo fun! i just had a sister move off to college and i know this will brighten her trips to the mail box


AmberLee September 6, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Hi T Byrd,
Thanks for the note! So far, the only negative feedback I’ve gotten from a postal worker is when one of them looked a little unhappy when they had to tape down the handle of the bucket to the bucket. Other than that, the postal workers seem pretty happy to see what I’m bringing in next. And I’ve never had anything returned.

And for labels, I try to take off other labels if I can, but the one important detail is to have the main address and return address on the same label. I tried putting a return address on the back once and had to move it.

Good luck! You have a lucky sister to have someone thinking of her!


Tammy Sobek February 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

Hi. I’m sorry but this is so confusing. I am sending our babysitter that is away in college a box of assorted chocolates. It’s 6.25 oz. and about 10x10x2 inches (but heart shaped). It looks like $3.00 in stamps should cover it. Does that seem right to you?


AmberLee February 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Hi Tammy,
I’m so happy you are trying out some happy mail : ) According to the newest rates, it looks like you will be plenty safe with $3 in stamps (I’ll post them below!) Good luck!!

Post Office rates for first class packages (13 oz or less)
1 oz $1.95
2 oz $1.95
3 oz $1.95
4 oz $2.12
5 oz $2.29
6 oz $2.46
7 oz $2.63
8 oz $2.80
9 oz $2.97
10 oz $3.14
11 oz $3.31
12 oz $3.48
13 oz $3.65


Amanda @ Frills and Frolic August 12, 2011 at 8:34 am

I just learned the other day that you ship anything as a “letter” or a package. Such a great idea! I love having pen pals :)



Amy {The Idea Room} August 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Such a fun idea! Would love to send some to my little sunday school class as a fun surprise for them. Love your site! Hope you are doing well my friend!


Misty August 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I’m loving these ideas! Just bought a Frisbee at the store-can’t wait to send it!


cindy August 15, 2011 at 7:25 am

Great idea. I have 12 grandkids out of state. I’m always trying to think of fun things to mail. Once I sent a small tube of M&M’s, I guess it was still to hot to mail chocolate. 5 year old granddaughter opened the treat and told her mom, ‘I think they died!’.


AmberLee August 15, 2011 at 8:12 am

Cindy, this totally cracked me up. too funny. what a sweet granddaughter you have, and what a good grandma she has!!


giana August 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Hi, I love your site! I saw somewhere in BlogLand that someone had sent a bug jar as an invitation for a birthday party. I can’t remember where I saw it…any idea? Thanks, Giana


AmberLee August 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Hi Giana,
A bug jar sounds like such a fun idea. I haven’t seen it, but I’m sure my kids would go gaga over getting one in the mail!


Colleen August 17, 2011 at 5:14 am

Seriously cute! I have a few nieces and nephews that would love to get some mail. The kids and I will have lots of fun making these for their little cousins!


naomi August 17, 2011 at 8:54 am

I am SOOO trying this, although I have a feeling that the odd packaging won’t fly here with the local post office … but it’s worth a shot!!!


Amy August 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Such a great idea! I think we’re going to try this with our Girl Scout troops :) One question, do you seal/glue the bottle lids on before shipping? Thanks!


AmberLee August 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Hi Amy!
Thanks for your note! That sounds like so much fun for the girls! And I haven’t bothered to ever do more than screw on the lid, and so far everything has arrived complete! If you want to include goodies that are too big to fit through the neck, you can use a craft knife to slit a door in the side of the bottle that you can then cover with a label.

Good Luck!


T Byrd September 8, 2011 at 7:27 am

This was one of my other questions too!

Thanks for responding so quickly to everyone


Kristin August 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Hi AmberLee. I love your thank you notes and post cards. I used your drawing of the hot air balloons (slightly altered) for a journal page, and wanted your permission to post on my blog. I would, of course, acknowledge you as my art source!


Kim September 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Thank you so much for your ideas! You inspired me to try and mail a “craft” pumpkin to a friend. My kids and I took Sharpies, designed the pumpkin with quotes, hearts, etc.., and off we went to the post office. It was one of those carvable, craft pumpkins from Michael’s. It was $1.88 to mail. I cannot wait to hear how our friends love it! Thank you so much for a wonderful, inspirational blog!!!!!!


AmberLee September 22, 2011 at 5:37 am

Kim, That is such an amazing idea! I love it. My kids would go nuts over getting this in the mail.


Catherine at Design Editor September 26, 2011 at 6:09 am

This is seriously cool!


debra October 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

What a great idea…thanks for reminding me! So now we need some holiday themes, Christmas is right around the corner!


Lauren October 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

Okay so I’ve just discovered this site and let me just say YOU.ARE.A.GENIUS!!! I had no idea you could mail stuff like that! My family and friends are really in trouble! All I want to do now is find stuff to mail…I don’s even care what it is. I’m eyeing up the tissue box on my desk as we speak ;)

My children, nieces and nephews are getting eggs every easter now, school supplies every September and who the heck knows what else! Gah! I love it!!!


Chris October 6, 2011 at 11:17 am

This is such a fun idea! My son got one in the mail from his kindergarten teacher the month before school started–but I’d forgotten about it until now!

I wonder how a peanut butter jar would work? I have those in ABUNDANCE (my five kids are PB pigs)–and the wide mouth would make for easier jar loading…

I think I’ll have to send one to my Godson for his birthday…on Saturday. Better get going!



Anony Mouse October 10, 2011 at 5:21 am

No one who ever worked for the encoding department of the US Post Office would think this was a good idea! I used to do the data entry to put the “irregular” stuff through by hand, and it’s a really big pain in the butt! Please, for the love of your fellow Americans who work for the post office – don’t do it!


AmberLee October 13, 2011 at 7:01 am

Haha. I can appreciate your struggle! Thanks for the input. But you have to know, i LOVE my post office for doing this for me. They’ve earned a special place in my heart : ) and the hearts of my nieces and nephews too.


kimbowest October 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm
Rissie October 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

I love the coloring page that you showed in the post. Where did you find it?

Thanks for the great idea!


AmberLee October 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Hi Rissie,
Thanks for your note! The coloring page is something I tore out of a big Kindergarten workbook we have. I’m sorry I don’t have somewhere to send you to get it!


denise @ victory rd. November 26, 2011 at 5:30 am

here is another thing you can sen din the mail


Katrina @ The Interrupting Cow March 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Hi!!! I am so inspired by this! I got my first “happy mail” together today to send my bestie for her birthday! Its in a bottle just like this and I included Smarties, deflated balloons, glow sticks, noisemakers and confetti!

Question… Are glow sticks considered hazardous materials? LOL…


Katie June 30, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I noticed that you have some of the cutest stamps- do you get them anywhere special or are they just seasonal stamps from USPS?


Rochelle September 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I loved this idea and put one together for my nephew’s 9th birthday. The local postal worker thought it was a cute idea too but her first comment was, “someone will ‘nab’ it” — sure enough, it never made it to its intended home, two states away :(


AmberLee September 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Oh no, Rochelle! I am so sad to hear that, after the work you put in! (how totally lame that someone would take something from a 9-yr-old!)


Rochelle September 14, 2012 at 8:30 am

UPDATE!! It did arrive after we had all given up on it! It took a full week, when typically first-class packages and letters only take two days. Apparently it was in good condition too. So, yay!


nicole October 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

this is awesome but i wanted to see you mail a pair of flip flops, not school supplies again. can you fix the link?


AmberLee October 8, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Oh no! Thanks for the heads up, Nicole!! It is fixed. I appreciate you taking a moment to leave a note!


Swanwhite December 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I LOVE your ideas! They are so cute! =)
I was wondering if you could send stuff like that out of country?


AmberLee December 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Hi Swanwhite. I have to admit, I have never tried this. I should though! I’m sure it may depend on the final destination, but I may give this a go. If you try I’d love to hear if it works out.


michelle January 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I work in the postal business and seeing stuff like this come through always brightens my day. I sent my son a message in a bottle from work – from a secret Santa – he was thrilled. All it had was titanic facts and a coloring picture. It was his favorite gift


Autumn February 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Hey, just found your site. So cool! But, umm, with the bottle… do you get the stuff out? It looks like it’d be a pain. Or that the recipient would have to cut the top off to get it out.


AmberLee February 4, 2013 at 11:58 am

Hi Autumn, you’ve got it, if you want to stuff some bigger things in, your recipient may need scissors to get them out. I just cut open a door in the side of the bottle when I was putting the package together, and stuck the label right on top. I am not sure what my recipient did, to tell you the truth, but they could also cut along the same line through the label I suppose.


sam March 3, 2013 at 5:46 pm

i know this might sound really weird and dumb…
but how do you send happy mail?


AmberLee March 5, 2013 at 5:49 am

Sam, that is a fantastic question. I actually have some steps and details right here:

If you have any more questions, just let me know!


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