6 inches by 4 inches is called postcard size in most photofinishing price lists – and it is what you get when you turn in the average colour negative film in a 35mm cartridge for processing. You might not have done this recently yourself but rest assured that there are still plenty of people who do. They get back their prints and then either treasure them in carefully-filled albums or trash them by letting them mould away in old shoeboxes in damp sheds.
Either way, very few of them are ever sent as postcards – and this is a pity. Because postcards are a very good way to entertain the staff in the lost office and on the delivery route while horrifying the recipient. You see, postcards are not a private message – like a postin on Fussbook they are out there for all to see and once committed to the red box at the corner are protected from loss by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I do not know whether Her Majesty reads all of them before they are delivered but she does guarantee that you cannot cannot suppress them before they hit their target.
Now that we have inkjet printers that can produce fine results and computer programs that allow us to be our own designers and publishers it is a fun exercise to make up our own set of seaside or scenic mountain views and send them to our friends. We need not have scenery or style in them – collectors of postcards will testify to the drab subjects and grotesque taste of many cards that hit the open market in the last 100 years. We can do no worse than the giant vegetables and circus freak cards or the views of famous department stores.
The front of the card can be gloss or matte 6 x 4 paper but the back should be matte to facilitate writing on it. You’ll need to make up a template for this that follows postal regulations as to placement of address and stamp – and of course you will want to leave a space for a suitable holiday greeting. The best model for this is any standard card available on a tourist rack – just copy the layout and all should be well. It is a good idea to make your printing on the back as small and light as possible.
Once you have printed your front and back glue them together with either white PVA glue or Henzo paste. let the card dry for a suitable length of time and then write a greeting and address it to your friend. You may wish to use someone else’s name as sender if it is a particularly bad card.
Expect that it will get read widely and beaten up a little in the passage through the post. This just contributes to the authenticity when it is received at the other end. You’ll know you have succeeded when the postman winks at the recipient…