Setting Up An Etsy Shipping Station On A Budget

Shipping on Etsy does not have to be complicated. Looking back I am amazed at how much I did not know 4 years ago when I started selling on Etsy.

Learning the right way to ship on Etsy can be tricky. You can setup up a shipping station today that delivers. In this article see you will learn how with the right shipping supplies and a great office setup you can keep moving and selling like a boss.

Shipping Boxes

When I started selling antiques on Etsy I was all about using recycling boxes. As my sales grew so did my need for more shipping supplies.

Contacting family and friends for used boxes became a hassle. I decided I needed to look further into buying shipping boxes for my Etsy business.

What are some of the factors you need to consider when purchasing shipping boxes?

  • SALES: How many sales a month do you received and what is your projected sales in the next 3 months?
  • BOX SIZE: Looking back on past orders how big of a shipping box do you need for future orders?
  • STORAGE: Do you have extra storage if you buy boxes in bulk?

These factors all help me understand exactly what shipping boxes I needed to order. I shopped around to some of the well known supplies like Uline, Staples, and even UPS. I found the best rates for the medium size boxes I needed were right on Amazon. I know, Amazon of all places had great prices on shipping supplies and as you know they have next day free delivery with prime. The price was hard to beat.

My favor size box for Antique Shipping is 10x6x4. I try not to ship out items that are too large as this increases the cost of shipping. Find what size works best for your product so you can buy in bulk to save money.

Shipping Scale

Does calculating the right size and weight of your item matter?


Etsy tells us:

Make sure that your item weight and size are accurate. These are used to calculate the type of box that would best fit your item(s), and the weight of the package, the size and weight of the box in which the order will be placed, which will affect your buyers’ postage costs during checkout.”

Etsy article How To Setup Calculated Shipping

When you create your listing in Etsy one the required fields is the package pounds and ounces.

As an Etsy seller you need to get your package weight accurate to calculate shipping properly. My mistake: Early on when I first stated on Etsy I did not calculate my shipping weights properly so that meant I lost money in shipping cost. Calculating your shipping properly will help you avoid any loss in shipping cost.

I used to use a vintage scale. Now for full accuracy I use a shipping scale which clearly calculates the shipping pounds and ounces to the exact amount. I was able to get my sweet scale on Amazon for under $20 which was worth every penny.

How I Save LOTS of money and use Etsy Shipping Labels

I love the built in Etsy feature of printing your shipping labels and letting Etsy calculate the shipping for you. Etsy has negotiated special rates with the post office. In short, If you go with Etsy shipping labels you are going to save money. I save on average $15 a week on my shipping costs using Etsy Shipping.

Lisa Lividoti. Etsy Seller at Homebyliv. (Yes this is a direct quote from me the author.)

Bubble Wrap

There are a lot of bubble wrap options. I like to keep plenty of bubble wrap on had as I use it every day. If you have amazon prime I found the best economical bubble wrap is Duck Brand Bubble Wrap Roll, Original Bubble Cushioning, 12″ x 150′, Perforated Every 12″. It’s great quality and priced right.

Tips on buying bubble wrap are as follows:

  • Buy bubble wrap in bulk for a better discount.
  • It’s easier to use the bubble wrap that has perforated sections.
  • Stock up on bubble wrap in the summer months when it is less expensive. Bubble wrap can be more costly during the christmas season.

I love packing with stretch wrap! To secure your packages use plastic stretch wrap on a hand held roll. These rolls last a very long time. This s a great cost effective way to make sure your breakable stay secure in your package. Be careful not to wrap these too tight in stretch wrap.

I buy the 2 Pack Industrial Strength Mini Hand Stretch Wrap 5″ – 1000 Roll | 80 Gauge Thick Clear Cling Plastic on Amazon.

Thanks you cards and Stickers

Writing a hand written note to each customer can help you stand out from the rest.

Hand written notes is also a great opportunity to strengthen your branding as you can add business cards and logo out out in the world.

I buy my thank you business cards in bulk on Amazon to save money. The cards I buy are Hallmark Thank You Cards (Silver Foil Script, 40 Thank You Notes and Envelopes) which come in a box of 40 count. I also love to add these stickers by Mr. Mug on Amazon: Modern Thank You Stickers, Round Blue Thank You Stickers/ 500 count. The color is a perfect match with my logo and it looks great on the front of my thank you cards.

Shipping Label Printer

I’ve been having fun selling on Etsy for years now. Addressing my packages has evolved over the years as I learned a few tricks of the trade.

1st Year Selling On Etsy: Handwritten Shipping Labels

I hand wrote all of my addresses right on the box with a marker. Placed shipping tape over the address in case it got wet and off to the post office I went with an arm full of shipments.

2nd Year Selling On Etsy: Shipping labels On Etsy

I discovered that buying my shipping labels through Etsy was much cheeper then walking into the post office directly. Etsy offers their sellers a discount on shipping labels with USPS. I would print my shipping labels on my old HP inkjet printer, cut them out and tape them to the box.

3rd year selling on Etsy: Thermal Label Printer

I invested in a thermal label printer. Honestly, one of the best investments I have made in my business. I purchased the DYMO 1755120 LabelWriter 4XL Thermal Label Printer. This printer is a huge time saver. With a few clicks I have my printed label on seconds. I love that it does not waste my ink on the family printer as well. With an adhesive back it goes right to the package and looks very professional. Now I can print the label at home with paid postage, and put my feet up and wait for the postman to come to me. Yes, and that’s all while I’m in my jammies.

Check out our review of this great label printer here:

Shipping Tape and Dispenser

OK, no judgement here but I choose an easy to use tape dispenser for one reason and one reason only: It’s amazingly quiet, I mean almost silent.

I started by investing in a large industrial “Shipping” tape dispenser. I found it was very heavy and very loud as I taped up my orders to be shipped out. It was so loud that I found myself in our basement packing up orders as the sound of the tape moving across the top of my boxes bothered my husband. It was loud.

I switched gears and purchased Scotch Easy Grip Sure Start Tape Dispenser. It is small and compact and as stated above it is amazingly quiet. This dispenser and the replacement rolls are all available on Amazon. I actually have two of these dispensers as they are very inexpensive but sturdy.

Butcher Block Paper

Last and certify not least is my butcher block paper. Honestly, having the paper is not only a time saver but a money saver.

I use butcher shop paper for 3 main reasons.

  • Use As Filler In shipments
  • Create custom wrapping / paper logo stamp wrapping
  • Presentation layer when shipping

Selling breakable antiques can get tricky. I can not begin to tell you how much bubble wrap I plowed through when shipping out my items.

A fellow Etsy seller introduced me to this butcher shop method for a filler solution when shipping. Using butcher shop paper has saved me a lot of money in endless bubble wrap costs ensuring my items arrive safe and sound. You can’t beat the savings here!

When you buy a large roll the paper seems to last forever. If you want to take a peek at what I use here is what I purchased on Amazon:

The paper roll I ordered was the Pratt Multipurpose Kraft Paper Sheet for Packaging Wrap, KPR30241200R, 1200′ Length x 24″ Width, Kraft. The stand that holds the roll is a Kaplan 24″ Paper Roll Dispenser & Cutter.

I realize the butcher block paper set up is a small investment to start but it will quickly pay for itself in time and money. The large roll of paper has lasted me 2 years and 200 plus sales of antiques. I use it for almost every shipment as well as wrapping paper on gift orders.

In conclusion

I hope by sharing these tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years about shipping has help you. (or at the very least inspired you to create your own shipping station).

Shipping out products does not have to be time consuming and expensive. You just need to learn to use all the right tools to make it easier on your wallet and dare I say even fun.

Written by Lisa

Lisa Lividoti Blogger and Owner of Homebyliv Etsy Shop

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