Can You Print Shipping Labels on Regular Paper?

Can You Print Shipping Labels on Regular Paper? More and more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to print shipping labels at home because it is time- and money-saving. However, some people are reluctant to try shipping label printing services because they think they need special equipment and supplies to print shipping labels at home such as self-adhesive labels and a thermal printer. They will be probably glad to hear that you can print shipping labels on regular paper using an inkjet or laser printer.

While thermal label printers and self-adhesive shipping labels are a great solution for large e-commerce businesses that need to streamline the shipping label process, many small online retailers aren’t ready to invest in a shipping label printer. And of course it makes no sense for individuals who only need to ship packages occasionally to buy a special printer and adhesive labels. Why spend money on something expensive you’ll end up using once in a blue moon?

The good news is, you don’t actually need a special printer or label stickers to print shipping labels at home. Most postal and courier companies that allow their customers to print shipping labels at home are okay with labels being printed on regular paper; all that matters for them is that the label is printed legibly, all information on the label is correct, the barcode is scannable, and the label is securely attached to the package.

So if you don’t need to print shipping labels often, regular letter-sized (8.5 in x 11 in) printer paper is your best option because it is widely available and inexpensive. The size of your shipping label may vary depending on the shipping carrier, but a shipping label is typically smaller than a letter-sized sheet of paper, so you will probable need to cut it to size before attaching the label to the your package.

Make sure the label isn’t too big for the package because carriers insist that labels must be fully placed on the address side of the package and not folded over the edge. If your package is small, you can change the scale of the label to make it smaller so it fits (it will save you some ink too). Just make sure you don’t shrink the label too much – it needs to stay legible and scannable.

Before printing your shipping label, make sure that the printer has enough ink/toner and that its settings like print size and orientation are adjusted for optimal label quality. The shipping label must be clear and legible, not blurred or smeared.

You can use either a laser printer or an inkjet printer to print shipping labels on regular paper, whichever you have at your disposal will work just fine. However, if you use an injket printer, you will need to take additional steps to protect the label. Inkjet printers use water-based ink, which is susceptible to smearing when fresh from the printer or when exposed to water. To avoid mishaps, let the label dry before attaching it to the package and take additional steps to protect it from the elements. A waterproof self-adhesive address pouch is your best option; you may be able to get it for free from the carrier.

Once the label is ready, carefully cut it out if it is smaller than a standard paper sheet and attach it to the package. As we’ve already mentioned above, it’s best to put the label in a self-adhesive plastic sleeve to protect it from water and damage. You can also use clear tape to protect the label and affix it securely to the package, but make sure to not put any tape over the barcode because its reflective surface will make the barcode harder to scan.

By the way, you can print a shipping label even if you don’t have a printer at home. Just download it as PDF, store it on a USB drive or in a cloud, and print it at your office, a local public library, a print shop, or anywhere with a printer. You can also email the label to a friend who has a printer and ask them to print the label for you.