How to Chain Card – Step-by-Step Instructions

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Chain cards are traveling postcards that collect stamps and postmarks (no messages). Chain card projects are between a set group of 4-6 people. Often they are international, with one participant per country. They are easy and fun, but there are certain rules and protocols to follow. This is my attempt at making chain card projects more understandable. I will try to keep it updated as I receive advise from other chain card addicts 😉.

TO JOIN:

1) Find a Chain Card Project to participate in – using #chaincardproject on Instagram is a good place to start as is looking in the Postcrossing Forums under Round Robins (RR).

2) Choose your stamps.  You will need to have 2 different stamps that follow the theme, times the number of participants (each participant should receive the same stamp or at least stamps from the same series).  To clarify – if there are 4 participants, you will need 4 of stamp A and 4 of stamp B for a total of 8 stamps.  You will apply 1 stamp A + 1 stamp B to each card you receive.

3) Contact the host of the project you would like to join. Include your home country (if it’s international) or state (if it’s domestic) and a photo of the stamps you will use. This is so the host can balance where the postcard will be traveling and to confirm no one else is using the same stamps.

PREPARING YOUR CARD:

1) Post your address in the group chat, or in Postcrossing u2u it to the host.

2) Post the size of your stamps (you can include a photo). Some people like to layout where the stamps will go on their card and to make sure the card is big enough.

3) I recommend covering the photo side of your card with paper to protect it. I usually write the chain card project name and my username on this piece of paper.

4) Add washi tape to the four edges of your postcard. This strengthens the card and prevents tearing when it goes through the post office machinery. (It will also hold the piece of paper on that you may be adding from #3 above).

5) Add your 2 themed stamps to the back side.

6) Add the address of the person you send to on a removable piece of paper (aka, use washi tape to attach it).

– You will always send to the same person.

7) Take a photo and post it in the group chat to let everyone know you sent it.

8) Mail it! 😀

WHEN YOU RECEIVE A CARD:

1) Add a photo on the group chat that you received so-and-so’s card.

2) Carefully remove the address label – be especially careful around the stamps.

3) Add your 2 themed stamps.

– If you have a question or concern about placement, don’t be shy. Post a photos of the options in the group chat and ask which one is preferred.

4) Cover all of the previous stamps (not the stamps you just added) with a piece of paper and washi tape and address it to the person you are sending to.

– You will always send to the same person.

– If you need to add additional postage (this often happens if you are using vintage stamps and sending internationally), add it to this piece of paper.

– Try not to put tape directly onto stamps. Post-It notes can work well for tight spaces because they have a straight sticky edge that does not require tape – put the sticky edge next to the stamp edge.

5) Take a photo and post in the group chat that you are sending the card.

6) Mail it!

Be patient.  It takes a while for chain cards to make the rounds, months.  In fact, the one at the top of this post took a year.  Once they come home though, it is so exciting!  To see more finished chain cards, try searching #chaincard on Instagram, Pinterest or FlickR.
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2 comments

  1. Hernán says:

    Hi! Thanks a lot for your tips!
    One question: Do I have to send out 5 postcards if there are 5 participants? 5 at the same time, so they circulate until they arrive complete to each person? Or does each participant have to supply their own postcard with the same theme? Thanks!

    • Heidi says:

      Hi Hernán! Each participant sends one postcard and it will circulate around to each of the other participants collecting stamps along the way 🙂

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