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Tech Tip: How to Design Your Own Postage Stamps

Q. I recently saw a postage stamp that looked like it had a personal photo as the image. How do you get those?

A. The United States Post Office allows you to make custom postage stamps from your own photos, but you must use one of the organization’s approved third-party vendors. As explained on the U.S.P.S. website, custom stamps can be designed and purchased from PhotoStamps, PictureItPostage and Zazzle.

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Zazzle is one of the companies approved by the United States Post Office to create custom postage stamps from personal photos. Credit The New York Times

Pick the vendor you like best, go to the stamp-making page on its website and select the option to create stamps. In most cases, you just upload a photo — usually as a jpg file — in an appropriate size according the site and position it within the stamp template. Once you are satisfied with your custom-stamp preview, proceed to the order page.

You can get your personalized stamps in a variety of sizes and monetary values. Most vendors also offer a collection of stock images you can use for your stamps. You can use your own logos and graphics to create postage, postcards and envelopes as well — which can come in handy for wedding announcements, family reunions and other events.

Custom postage stamps cost more than the standard versions available at the post office. Prices vary by vendor, stamp size and amount. For example, Zazzle charges $ 22.55 for a sheet of 20 2.1-inch by 1.3-inch first-class custom stamps (47 cents for an ounce of mail). The post office charges $ 9.40 for a sheet of 20 Wonder Woman stamps or other standard designs.

Seasonal, collectible and standard stamps can be bought online instead of going to a physical post office. In addition, the U.S.P.S. website has its own tool to create your own customized stamped envelopes and postcards.

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