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The Underrated Bubble Envelope

Updated on July 2, 2015

The costs of running a business can sneak up on you. As a former office clerical guru, I can vouch for the fact that bubble envelopes are the unsung heroes of the office supply cabinet and make ideal small merchandise mailers for most businesses. Bubble mailers are made either of heavy-duty kraft paper or plastic surrounding a cushioned lining of plastic bubble wrap. The bubbles add cushioning for mailing objects that you'd rather not bend or break without adding too much bulk or weight. Quick, convenient and versatile, air-padded bubble envelopes allow you to pop in fragile or breakable merchandise, seal with a built-in adhesive strip, and either write the addresses directly on the envelopes or use mailing labels. Bubble envelopes are sturdy enough for most overseas shipments as well as domestic mailings.

They're Even (Sometimes) Recyclable and Other Good Things

Some additional advantages of bubble mailers over other types of mailers (such as plain padded mailers) include:

  • They are the lightest cushioned padding-and-envelope combo and thus cheap to mail.
  • Unlike fiber-filled padded envelopes, bubble envelopes don't explode with fibrous residue if cut or torn open.
  • The bubble layer not only cushions against impact damage, but also protects against cuts and scrapes that might penetrate the paper layer. (Poly bubble mailers--those with plastic outer cover--are not prone to ripping at all.)
  • The plastic bubble layer is water-resistant.
  • Mailers are easy for your customers to open and don't require the removal of several layers of packing materials or tape.
  • Some mailers are even recyclable--and if they're not, there's still a good chance that they're the product of recycled materials in the first place. Otherwise, do the green thing and re-use the envelope rather than discard it by using it as packing material.

Bubble mailers can be custom printed and custom sized. Purchased out of the box, they come in a range of convenient standard sizes, some of which are listed below in inches:

  • 000 (4" x 7")
  • 00 (5" x 9-3/8")
  • 0 (6" x 9-3/8")
  • 1 (7-1/4" x 11-3/8")
  • 2 (8-1/2" x 11")
  • 3 (8-1/2" x 13")
  • 4 (9-1/2" x 13-7/8")
  • 5 (10-1/2" x 15-3/8")
  • 6 (12-1/2" x 18-3/8")
  • 7 (14-1/4" x 19-3/8")
  • 6-3/4 x 6-3/4 inches (specially sized for individual CD and DVD shipments)

More About Bubble Mailers

Tips for using bubble envelopes:

  • Use the size that's just large enough to surround the merchandise inside and still seal completely. This assures the tightest and most effective padded fit for the object you're mailing.
  • For a very tight-fitting bubble envelope, reinforce the seal with packing tape.
  • For items that may bend, like photos or thin comic books, back them with cardboard before placing them in the bubble envelope.
  • Mail items needing light cushioning only. Fragile glass objects or irregular items with many parts are better mailed using boxes, packing peanuts and close-fitting cushioning.

What can you mail in bubble envelopes?

  • Books, magazines and other literature
  • Photographs and film
  • Video tape cassettes
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Plastic bottles
  • Any heavy merchandise needing light padding when you want to keep your mailing costs down
  • Any slender or small objects needing cushioning that might bend in transit (tip: reinforce first with cardboard)

Tips for buying bubble envelopes:

  • Purchase bubble mailers in bulk by the case at wholesale envelope suppliers or through large office supply stores such as Office Depot or OfficeMax. Bought individually or in lots of smaller than 12, their price isn't nearly as cost-effective.
  • Buy a range of sizes. Otherwise, you'll end up using envelopes too large for your purposes, which isn't cost-efficient.
  • Make sure you purchase bubble mailers that already have the adhesive strip built in--called "self-seal." While slightly more expensive, they're much more convenient.
  • Buy custom-printed bubble mailers for special custom sizes or when you don't want the standard white, manila or gray colors and you'd like your logo on the mailers.


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