Postage For 5.5 x 8.5 Envelopes

A 5.5 x 8.5 inch envelope is a common size for sending cards, invitations, letters, documents, and other flat items through the mail. But knowing the exact dimensions, templates, postage requirements, and tips for using 5.5 x 8.5 envelopes can be confusing. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about 5.5 x 8.5 envelopes to mail your items quickly, easily, and cost-effectively.

What Are The Dimensions Of A 5.5 x 8.5 Envelope?

As the name suggests, a 5.5 x 8.5 inch envelope has dimensions of 5.5 inches wide x 8.5 inches high. The sizing refers to the exterior of the envelope itself. When folded, the envelope forms a pocket that is slightly smaller but still large enough to fit common paper sizes:

  • 5 x 7 inch cards or photos
  • 5.5 x 8.5 inch sheets of paper or cardstock
  • A4 sheets (8.3 x 11.7 inches) folded in half

The interior dimensions of a 5.5 x 8.5 inch envelope are approximately 5.25 x 8.25 inches. This allows space for the thickness of the paper contents. The flap overlaps one end, taking up about 0.25 inches.

Common Uses For 5.5 x 8.5 Envelopes

The versatile 5.5 x 8.5 inch size makes this envelope useful for mailing:

  • Greeting cards for birthdays, holidays, etc.
  • Wedding invitations and RSVP cards
  • Personal stationery
  • Photos and photo cards
  • Certificates or awards
  • Legal documents
  • Brochures and catalogs
  • Zines, mini magazines, or booklets

Crafters may also utilize 5.5 x 8.5 envelopes for:

  • DIY paper crafts
  • Scrapbooking
  • Making envelopes from scratch

Businesses use these envelope sizes for needs like:

  • Direct mail advertising
  • Sending contracts, reports, or paperwork
  • Paycheck distribution

Where To Find 5.5 x 8.5 Envelopes

You can purchase 5.5 x 8.5 envelopes from a variety of sources:

  • Office supply stores – Stock plain white envelopes or envelopes with decorative patterns/textures.
  • Big box retailers – Have budget packs of blank envelopes or themed envelopes for holidays.
  • Stationery stores – Offer high-end, heavyweight envelopes in many colors and patterns.
  • Online retailers like Amazon – Sell envelopes in bulk for cheap.
  • Paper companies – Provide pre-printed envelopes that match letterhead.
  • Print shops – Can custom print envelopes with company logos, return addresses, etc.

Look for packs labeled “A7 envelopes” as this is the European paper size equivalent to 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Or search by the specific dimensions. Plain white envelopes are the most affordable option. For a more stylized look, choose envelopes with texture, patterns, colors, or foil/metallic accents. Printed return addresses and artwork also create visual interest. Buy envelopes in bulk packs to get the lowest cost per envelope. This is ideal if you mail frequently. Or purchase smaller packs of high-end envelopes for occasional personal mailings.

How To Make A 5.5 x 8.5 Envelope

If you want envelopes that perfectly match your card or paper size, make DIY envelopes from scratch. Here’s how: 

1. Cut paper. Use cardstock or heavy paper cut to 8.5 x 11 inches. This forms each envelope. 

2. Score and fold. On the 8.5″ width, score lines at 5.5 inches and 5.75 inches. Fold on the score lines to create the envelope shape. 

3. Create the flap. On the 5.5″ side, score at .25 inches and 1 inch to form the angled flap shape. 

4. Adhere the flap. Apply glue or double-sided tape to attach the flap down. 

5. Trim edges. For straight sides, trim any uneven edges with a craft knife and metal ruler. Make a template with these measurements to create envelopes assembly-line style. Use decorative paper, or print addresses and artwork directly onto your envelopes.

Printing On 5.5 x 8.5 Envelopes

To professionally print on envelopes at home:

  • Design the envelope artwork or text in a program like Word.
  • Ensure correct sizing by using a pre-made template.
  • Print a test run on plain paper first to confirm layout.
  • Load envelopes in the printer tray, flap side down and bottom edge first.
  • Select envelope size or use custom settings for 5.5×8.5 inches.
  • Print the designs onto envelopes using high quality settings.

Address text will need to fit within the center area of approximately 4.25 x 1.5 inches. Add return addresses, logos, or decorations around the edges. Use these print techniques for flawless results:

  • Laser printers provide sharp, smudge-free print quality on envelopes.
  • Inkjet printers require envelopes with special coatings to avoid smearing.
  • Feed envelopes one at a time to prevent jams.
  • Use new, high quality envelopes that lay flat.
  • Avoid printed areas within .25 inches of envelope edges.

5.5 x 8.5 Envelope Postage Requirements

The standard U.S. postage rate for a 5.5 x 8.5 inch envelope is $0.55 for Forever First Class stamps. This covers envelopes up to 1 oz. Heavier envelopes with multiple pages may require additional postage. Key postage guidelines:

  • Maximum thickness for first class mail is 0.25 inches.
  • Up to 3 oz. costs $0.75
  • 3-6 oz. costs $1.15
  • Over 6 oz. cannot be sent via first class and must use Priority Mail.

To determine exact postage:

  • Weigh envelope on a small scale.
  • Check weight against the USPS postage rate chart.
  • Add corresponding stamps for the weight.

Heavier envelopes may require extra postage but avoid additional fees. The threshold for “large envelope” status with surcharges over first class rate starts around 6.125 x 11.5 inches.

5.5 x 8.5 Envelope Etiquette Tips

Follow proper etiquette guidelines when addressing and sealing 5.5 x 8.5 envelopes:

  • Use formal titles and full names.
  • Print addresses neatly and clearly.
  • Include return address in the upper left corner.
  • Place address lines parallel to the envelope bottom.
  • Use black or dark blue ink that won’t bleed or smudge.
  • Avoid abbreviations to prevent confusion.
  • Add a stamp that matches the envelope style.

For formal wedding invites, etiquette rules include:

  • Address outer envelopes by hand in calligraphy or nice handwriting.
  • Use first and last names with formal titles like Mr., Ms., Dr.
  • Include spouse/partner’s name on inner envelope only.
  • Don’t use nicknames.
  • Add return address to back flap of inner envelope.
  • Seal outer envelope only, leave inner unsealed.
  • Invite should slide out when envelope is opened.
  • Avoid addressing to “The Jones Family.” List individual first names.
  • Send invites 8-12 weeks before the wedding.

Following proper etiquette for envelopes helps ensure invitees can easily decipher addresses, names are formal, and the overall presentation looks thoughtful.

People Also Ask

What size card fits in a 5.5 x 8.5 envelope?

A 5 x 7 inch card or invitation fits nicely within a 5.5 x 8.5 envelope. The sizing leaves a small border as cushion to prevent card edges from getting damaged.

What is the standard envelope size?

The most common envelope size in the U.S. is 6.5 x 9.5 inches, known as a #10 business envelope. This is large enough for documents folded in thirds. Other standard sizes include #9 (3.875 x 8.875 in) and Monarch (3.875 x 7.5 in).

Can you mail a 5.5 x 8.5 envelope without an envelope?

Yes, you can mail a 5.5 x 8.5 inch sheet of cardstock or paper without an envelope. Simply attach postage stamps to the top right corner. The paper must be lightweight enough that it doesn’t exceed USPS thickness limits. Heavier paper may need an envelope.

Is a 5.5 x 8.5 envelope considered large envelope for shipping?

No. At 5.5 x 8.5 inches, this envelope size meets the dimensions for standard U.S. letter mail, not large envelope. It should qualify for regular first class postage rates up to 1 oz. Oversized rates apply to envelopes exceeding 6.125 x 11.5 inches.

How much postage is needed for a 5.5 x 8.5 inch envelope?

The standard Forever stamp fulfills postage for a 5.5 x 8.5 envelope weighing 1 oz or less. Heavier envelopes may need extra postage, such as 2 Forever stamps up to 2 oz. Use a postal scale to identify exact weight and required postage.

The Bottom Line

Knowing the specifications, postage needs, and etiquette for 5.5 x 8.5 envelopes ensures you can properly package and mail cards, letters, invitations, and other flat items. Follow the dimensions, find quality envelopes that suit your purpose, determine necessary postage, and address envelopes neatly and correctly. With this knowledge, you can utilize 5.5 x 8.5 envelopes for all your mailing needs whether for personal or business correspondence.


JNVSOLAN is an industry veteran with over a decade of experience in Stamps & Postage, Open Close Hours, Restocking & Shipping, EBT and Pay, and General Topics. His expertise and dedication to these fields make him a valuable asset to our team. Trust his insights for all your niche-related queries.

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