Do Shipping Labels Need To Be Stickers? (Explained)

Whenever you order something from Amazon or other online stores, you will notice that the shipping label is attached to the box.

It is normally printed on sticker paper to adhere properly to the packaging.

Do shipping labels need to be stickers? Not necessarily.

Here are the Basic Requirements for Shipping Labels:

In general, you can print shipping labels on sticker paper or regular paper as long as they meet the requirements for size. Shipping labels must be at least 4 x 6 inches, but they can be bigger than that. They do not have to be stickers, and they can even be on 8.5 x 11 size paper.

Do Shipping Labels Have to Be Sticky?

It is common for shipping labels to be stickers, especially when the parcel comes from big businesses. Shipping labels do not have to be sticky.

According to the US Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx, shipping labels do not have to be printed on sticker paper or any adhesive material as long as you find a way for them to stick to the packaging securely.

Another important thing is that, regardless of the paper material, the details, like the shipping address and the barcode, should be clear and easily readable.

So if you have a small business and are just starting, you do not have to buy a sticker printer for shipping labels immediately.

These printers and sticker papers can be pretty expensive – start small, and you can buy a special printer in the future.

Can You Print Shipping Labels on Regular Paper?

While many think they must print shipping labels on sticker paper, this is incorrect.

You can print shipping labels on regular paper.

You do not need any special paper when printing shipping labels. You also do not need any special type of printer. An inkjet printer or laser printer would work just fine.

There are some things that you need to keep in mind when printing shipping labels on any paper. This goes for all shipping companies like USPS, FedEx, and UPS.

The shipping labels must meet the required minimum size of 4 x 6 inches. The labels also have to indicate the shipping address and the receiver.

Instead, you can cut out your shipping label with scissors and securely fasten it to the package you ship. Ensure that the barcode is clear if you tape over it, so there will be no issues when it is scanned.

How Do I Attach a Shipping Label Without the Sticker?

When printed on paper, shipping labels can be attached using clear packaging tape.

All shipping companies would recommend using a packaging time when attaching a shipping label.

Packaging tapes are different from regular tapes as they are often used for packing boxes. Packaging tapes have strong adhesion to ensure that boxes are packed and sealed securely.

By using packaging tape to attach shipping labels, you would be able to ensure that the label stays on the box and does not get lost during transit.

Can I Attach Shipping Labels with Tape?

Packaging tapes are recommended when sticking shipping labels that are printed on paper.

You can attach shipping labels with regular or Scotch tape, but shipping companies like USPS, FedEx, and UPS do not recommend doing this.

This is because regular tapes are not strong enough to keep shipping labels attached to the box.

Regular tapes can lose their adhesion over time, which may cause your shipping label to detach itself from the box, which would cause your parcel to be undelivered or get lost in transit.

Is It Okay to Put Clear Tape Over the Barcode?

Packaging tape to attach shipping labels can ensure they stick well to the box, but how do you correctly do it without smudging the print on the shipping label?

Putting clear tape over the barcode when attaching shipping labels is perfectly okay. Doing so can help ensure that the print on the shipping label is not smudged.

When taping over the barcode, you have to ensure that the tape lies smooth and flat on the barcode and that there are no wrinkles or air pockets so that the barcode can be scanned properly.

While most couriers do their best to ensure that packages are transported safely, it is always best to make shipping labels smudge-proof and weather-proof.

This is so you do not risk the shipping labels getting ruined, rendering the print unreadable or the barcode invalid, in case there is excessive moisture.

What Is The Easiest Way to Create a Shipping Label at Home?

Investing in big and fancy printers can be costly to make shipping labels if you have a home or a small business. There are easy ways to create shipping labels at home.

Here is what you would need:

  • Printer – You can use a regular inkjet or laser printer to make shipping labels. However, these printers require ink cartridges which are an added expense. To save money, you can use a thermal printer that uses heat instead of ink when printing.
  • Paper – As mentioned above, you can use regular paper to create shipping labels. If you can afford it, you can use sticker paper, especially for creating shipping labels, which works well with thermal printers.
  • Packaging Tape – This is needed when the shipping label is printed on regular paper. If you use sticker paper, you do not need packaging tape.

Here is how to create shipping labels at home:

  1. Make sure you have the right web browser. The web browser you use can affect the printing of your shipping labels. The recommended browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari.
  2. Go to the courier website you will be shipping with – FedEx, UPS, or the US Postal Service. Follow the instructions properly so you can generate the shipping label.
  3. Download the shipping label and make sure that the receiver’s name, shipping address, and contact information are entered correctly. You can also write the receiver’s details as long as your handwriting is legible.
  4. Print the shipping label and securely attach it to the packaging, ensuring it lies flat and smooth with no air pockets.

What Are the General Requirements for Shipping Labels?

Since we have clarified that shipping labels do not have to be stickers and can be printed on regular paper, there are other general requirements that you have to keep in mind.

Here are the general requirements set by shipping companies like the USPS, FedEx, and UPS for shipping labels:

  • The shipping label must be at least 4 x 6 inches.
  • The markings, barcodes, and prints on shipping labels must be durable, smudge-proof, and weather-proof.
  • The markings on shipping labels have to be in English.
  • The recipient’s information on shipping labels can be handwritten as long as it is clear and legible.
  • The markings on shipping labels have to be in a sharply contrasting color with the background. Most shipping labels have a white background with black markings and fonts.
  • Stickers or other attachments must not obscure the shipping labels. You can attach stickers such as those that say “Handle With Care” as long as it does not block the shipping label.

As long as your shipping labels meet the general requirements, you will have no issues with shipping, and you can be sure that your package is delivered to the recipient.


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