This handmade quilted postcard tutorial is not only unique, it's a TON of fun! These postcards are fast to make, utterly adorable to send and you don't even need to wrap them because they are mailable all on their own! Yes, you heard that right. You can actually stick on a stamp and send a quilted postcard through the mail. I tested this with success using USPS just to make sure.
Quilted postcards are like tiny quilts. You can send them along with a sweet little message to anyone you love and appreciate! They’re easy to make (just scroll down to see), so you really can make one for everyone on your holiday craft list. This is also a great project for using scraps, which if you know me, you know is my favorite thing.
Since they are so small (just 4" x 6") quilted postcards are easy to personalize for the recipient, or for any holiday! They’re basically the perfect mashup of a handmade quilt and a holiday card, and they make a wonderful keepsake.
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Can A Quilted Postcard Be Mailed?
Sure, quilted postcards are cute. But can you mail them? Yes! Before we get started, here are your mailing options.
- Mail it like a postcard: According to USPS, postcards cannot be larger than 4" x 6" and no thicker than 1/4". If you choose to mail your quilted postcard like a traditional postcard, you will have to use a standard letter stamp rather than a postcard stamp. You will also need to finish your postcard edges with a satin stitch rather than binding. (You can see both finishing options in these example photos)
- Pop it in an envelope: I lean towards this method of shipping for a couple of reasons. The envelope offers extra protection for your tiny quilt masterpiece. The envelope also makes it easier for the postal service to process your card, which is particularly important during the holiday season. Sending it in an envelope means you can add a binding to your postcard, making it look just like a little quilt! As long as your envelope weighs less than one ounce you can still use a standard letter stamp. If it weighs more than one ounce, just add a second stamp!
Quilted Postcard Materials
- Postcard top fabric: Enough to make a 4.5" x 6.5" top. The holiday prints I used for my postcards are all from the Winter Frost collection, by Boccaccini Meadows for Figo Fabrics. The solids are all scraps from my stash.
- Batting: One 4.5" x 6.5" piece of any batting.
- Fusible stabilizer: One 4.5" x 6.5" piece. My two favorite stabilizers for quilted postcards are Pellon Peltex #72F and Pellon Fuse-N-Shape. These are both ultra-firm, double-sided fusible stabilizers. If you can’t get your hands on either of these, any ultra-firm or heavyweight stabilizer will do, just make sure it is fusible, not sew in.
- Postcard backing material: You can use either light-colored fabric or cardstock to back your postcard. In my experience, the cardstock is easier to write on, but the fabric tends to be easier to work with. Another bonus for the fabric is that this can be another opportunity to dip into your scrap pile. Whichever you choose, you need a 4.5" x 6.5" piece.
- Binding fabric (optional): If you choose to add binding to your postcard you will need a 2" x 24" piece of quilting cotton.
- Thread: I use 50wt cotton thread to piece my postcards. For finishing the edges with a satin stitch I like to use a thicker thread, usually 28wt or 12wt, to get a nice full look.
- Shipping materials: Here are the 5" x 7" envelopes I like to use. If you opt to send your postcard without an envelope you just need a stamp!
- Straight pins or binding clips
- Basic quilting supplies
Step 1: Create Your Quilted Postcard Top
Time to get crafty! Create your 4.5" x 6.5" quilted postcard top using any method you want. Since your quilted postcard is so small, this can be a great opportunity to try out some new-to-you quilting techniques. You could experiment with appliqué, do some fussy cutting, or maybe some improv piecing. The options are endless!
Step 2: Baste And Quilt
When your postcard top is finished and pressed, baste it to your 4.5” x 6.5” piece of batting using your preferred method. I like to use basting spray for small projects like this.
Quilt your postcard top and batting together as desired. Make sure you are using a walking foot. Since we aren’t working with any backing fabric at this point, just your postcard top and some batting, the walking foot will help feed everything through nice and evenly.
TIP: If you’re planning to make multiple quilted postcards (of course you are! How can you make just one?) I recommend doing them in batches. For example, do all of your postcard tops first, then baste them all, then quilt them all, and so on. This will help expedite the process a little, leaving you some extra time for other very important holiday activities like eating Christmas cookies.
Step 3: Fuse Stabilizer To Postcard
Place your fusible stabilizer between your quilted postcard top and your backing material. Following the instructions on the stabilizers packaging, use your iron to activate the glue in the stabilizer, and adhere all of your postcard parts together.
If you choose to use cardstock to back your postcard, take special care if your stabilizer requires water to activate the glue. Pellon Fuse-N-Shape has instructions specifically for fusing the stabilizer to paper, but I have found that other stabilizers do just as good of a job.
Pellon Peltex 72F does require a wet press cloth to fully fuse the material. In my experience, putting the wet press cloth just on the fabric side of the postcard seems to work well enough to fuse it to the paper.
When in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to conduct a little experiment with some scrap materials!
Step 4: Trim the Tree...I Mean, Postcard!
Using a rotary cutter and quilting ruler, trim your postcard down to 4” x 6”. If you’re using a cardstock baking for your quilted postcard I would recommend using a separate rotary cutter or scissors used for paper for this step. Paper tends to dull blades quickly.
Step 5, Option 1: Finish Your Quilted Postcard With a Satin Stitch
Your quilted postcard is nearly ready to head out on its adventure to your lucky recipient! You just need to finish those pesky raw edges. A quick and simple method for finishing your postcard is to create a satin stitch around the edge using a very short zig zag stitch. This is the finishing method you should choose if you plan to send your postcard the old fashioned way, with just a stamp on the back.
Grab some thread to accent your postcard. I use 28wt or 12wt for this step. Strap your walking foot onto your machine (or an overcasting foot if you have one), and set your machine to do a short, wide zig-zag stitch. Every machine is a little different, but on mine, I usually choose to do a stitch that is 3.5 wide, and .5 long. Run some tests on scrap fabric until you get the desired width and density if you aren’t sure.
Going slowly, and with the cardstock side up if you chose that as your card backing, begin stitching around one side of your postcard, until you reach a corner. At the corner, when your needle has reached the edge of your card and is in the leftmost position, lift your presser foot up just a little bit and pivot your card 90 degrees.
Try to keep your card as close to the needle as possible while you’re pivoting, to avoid any long stray threads. Continue stitching until you reach the beginning of your satin stitch, joining the two ends together.
Voila! You’re done! Head straight to Step 6!
Step 5, Option 2: Finish Your Quilted Postcard with Binding
If you know that you’re sending your quilted postcard on its merry way wrapped securely inside an envelope, binding can be a sweet addition to your card! I love this method because it adds an extra quilty touch, and looks nice and neat.
Press the 2" x 24" piece of fabric in half the long way to create quilt binding. Here’s where quilted postcard binding differs from regular quilt binding—you’ll join the two binding ends together before sewing them to the card. Do this by taking two straight pins and inserting them through the center of the binding 20" apart (the perimeter of your postcard), leaving about 2" extra on each side of the pins.
Take the two pinned spots in your binding strip, and lay them on top of one another, right sides together, so each pin essentially goes through the same hole as the other. With your two ends at 90-degree angles from each other, sew at a 45-degree angle, joining the two ends. Trim the excess off and press the seam open.
In case you aren’t familiar with this method for joining binding together, here’s an excellent video tutorial that walks you through it!
Now that you have your binding loop, sew it to the back of your card just as you would binding to a quilt. Turn your binding to the front of the card, and pin or clip in place. Finish with your preferred method. I opted to finish mine by hand to get a seamless look.
Step 6: Mail Your Masterpiece!
It’s time to spread some holiday cheer! Add a short message to the back for your loved one. If you’re going to ship your postcard without an envelope be sure to add the address on the back as well. Pop your card into an envelope, or just put a stamp on the back, and off it goes!
Holiday crafting can be such a fun way to give something truly unique to your friends and family and show them that you care. These quick and easy quilted postcards are sure to be a hit, and will leave you plenty of time to make one for everyone on your list! Who would you like to send a holiday quilted postcard to? Let us know in the comments!