Etsy Love: shipping tips for etsy sellers

See the updated post about shipping tips & resources.

There are many lessons I have learned over the past year. Some the easy way, some the hard way and some just by pure luck. When I shipped my first order on Etsy, I hand wrote the address, went to the post office and was so proud of myself. I now have a mini-shipping station in my home.

How do I ship my items?

Please see the updated post for the latest tips & resources.  Etsy has now added their own shipping system.

If you are an Etsy seller, you will receive payments through PayPal. This is also where you will print out your shipping labels. You can either print out one shipping label at a time or do a multi-order shipping.

I know what one beach bag order weights, so I can create a preset in PayPal to “remember” the details for one beach bag. If you are shipping a variety of things, it will probably be easier to do order by order.

When I first started, I printed out the labels through my normal ink jet printer. You can cut out the label and tape it to your box or bag. Make sure you do not tape over the bar code.

Once I started shipping more, I invested in a label printer. I LOVE this and it saves me so much time…plus it looks nicer. I found mine on Amazon.

Did you know you can request a carrier pick-up through or through PayPal? Woot, woot!

Stuff you will need:

1. Shipping scale – I use this scale. It retails for $17 .

2. Boxes or Packaging – Did you know priority boxes are FREE from the post office?!?! And they deliver them right to your door! Visit their on-line store to see what sizes are available. If you are looking for poly bags for items like clothing.

3. Label Maker (optional) – I use the DYMO LabelWriter 4XL.

Other Random Shipping Knowledge:

First Class versus Priority Mail:

When to ship first class versus priority mail?  When an item is under 13 oz, you can ship first class.  Anything over 13 oz must be shipped priority mail (for domestic shipments).

*First Class typically takes (3-5) business days.

*Priority Mail typically takes (2-3) business days.

I like to tell my customers what items will ship first class and what items will ship priority mail.  This helps to explain the difference in shipping prices.

Can I drop off a package over 13oz off at a USPS drop box?

Yes!  There is a sign that states you can not put anything in over 13oz, but since you printed out your label at home through PayPal you can drop yours in there.

What if an international package gets lost?

When you ship internationally, no tracking information is provided.  I always keep my receipts from the post office and write the customer’s name on it.  There will be a customs number that the post office can look up to tell you where the package is in the process.  Not an exact method, but at least gives you an idea.


Please share any tips or tricks that you use when shipping.
Or if you have a question.


Lucy Jane



  • Usps drop box | Autoworksbiddi
    July 11, 2011 at 11:50 am

    […] shipping tips for etsy sellers […]

  • Shayna
    July 11, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Nice post, Lucy!

    Another shipping-related tip that I read about recently is to absorb of the shipping cost into the product price. A lot of buyers aren’t willing to spend $10 on shipping a $30 product, but if you mark the product as $35 and charge $5 shipping, there’s no issue. Interesting, no?

    • Lucy Jane
      July 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      I agree! You just have to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Thanks!

  • Nan
    January 17, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    I am a new seller on ETSY and had all the questions you answered. I was fretting about the shipping process as this is new to me. Thank you soooo much! I can’t wait to ship my first order, but nervous all at the same time! Thanks so much for your wisdom!

  • Melanie
    May 31, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Im new at Etsy selling and im getting killed with shipping costs. Is there an easier way? For example I make something that roughly cost me say $5 and may sell for say $10 and its less then a pound and shipping will cost me $10 between box and shipping cost…any cheaper solutions?

    any advice would help me asap! thanks

    • Kim
      June 1, 2015 at 9:46 pm

      Hi Melanie… If you items are less than a pound, I would ship via USPS First Class. Is this an option for your items? Also, are you buying your labels through Etsy? This is usually discounted compared to walking into the post office. I’m getting ready to write an updated post. This post was written before you could buy the labels directly from Etsy.

  • Kelli
    August 3, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    I recently opened an etsy shop, but not getting a lot of views. I haven’t sold anything yet. Any suggestions on how to get my shop “exposed”?


  • Carly
    November 20, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Hi Kim,
    Im new to the shipping scene and finding it quite overwhelming. Your blog post really helped. I am selling my products through an ecommerce site on our website. We are using paypal to pay and usps for shipping. Do you base your shipping cost on weight? If so, what if someone orders multiple items instead of just one item you know the weight of? Right now we have the shipping based on flat rate boxes but we want to move to priority or first class and go by weight instead when we print our labels.

    Im not sure if I am over thinking the shipping or if I just need to get the hang of it. But any advice or tips would we awesome!

    Thanks so much

  • Lauren McKay
    January 17, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    This is a great article! I’ve been looking for some insight on the dymo printer, $200 seems like a lot if you aren’t sold on the product. BUT, I did want to bring something to your attention you might not be aware of… While priority shipping boxes are free, they’re only free because they’re meant to be used for priority shipping. Using these boxes for any other shipping is a federal offense that USPS is pretty strict about. Of course there’s not much of a chance USPS will track you down and stop you, especially when you’re buying the postage from home, but this is a rule you should be aware of. I personally decided to purchase my own shipping boxes (just in case) for a few reasons – I can have whatever size works best for me, and a BLANK SLATE to deck out with branding. I mean a logo with my sticker, and taped up with two layered pieces of duct tape in my colors over the seal. I love that not only my customers are seeing my branding as it heads all over the world! After quite a bit of shopping around, I found that staples had the best prices by far for the sizes I needed – you can get a pack of 50 for $13.99 for the smaller sizes, and an order is shipped to your door for free with a free membership if your purchase is over $15. I got myself two packs and signed up for sms texts to get $5 off $25, and I do like my boxes.

    • Brandi Agnew
      April 1, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      Hi Lauren!
      Loved your comment as I am a new ecommerce business owner and have been agonizing over shipping and which method to use and if I should buy my own blank boxes or just do priority mail flat rate boxes. Which method do you use and would you share your process? Thanks in advance!

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