Document tubes provide protection and support for rolled documents, charts, art, blueprints and other items that would be damaged by folding and mailing them flat. Mailing tubes require different handling than a flat parcel that can be placed into a post office box.
Make sure the mailing tube will accommodate the document. Carefully roll the document tightly enough that you can slide it into the mailing tube. Securely insert the tube's plastic end caps in each end.
Ensure that the document tube has are two plastic caps, one on each end of the tube. Tape the perimeter of the caps to the tube for added protection against accidental opening. Use clear or brown packaging tape.
Prepare a mailing label with the recipient's address and your return address and place it in the middle of the length of the tube with the address reading along the tube's length. Be certain that while you're affixing the label, it doesn't overlap itself and obscure the address. Alternately, hand-print the address legibly with a dark pen or permanent marker near the center of the tube, with the address parallel to the length of the tube. Make sure the address can be read from arm's length. Whether you used a label or printed the addresses right on the tube, protect them from smearing with a piece of clear tape.
Weigh the document tube or take it to the Post Office to be weighed and/or stamped. Mail the tube First-Class mail if it's under 13 ounces. If it's over 13 ounces, you can choose among several different options - media mail, standard post, or priority mail. Cost and delivery times vary among these options.
Place postage - stamps or a meter strip - near the right end cap. Add "First Class," "Priority Mail" or other stickers to the tube as appropriate, placing them to the right of the address or to the left of the postage. Add additional services like certified mail, insurance, or return receipt requested if preferred, to the delivery options.
Try to get a tube that's a little longer than the document you're mailing, so that the end caps don't mutilate the document's edges when you secure them.
Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.