How to ship abroad/add a customs label while still using online shipping:
1. Creating an account: First, you must create a free account on the USPS website. The paypal.com/shipnow site will not let you create customs forms.
2. Shipping Label: To create the shipping label, you want to use the "Click n Ship" function from the dropdown menu under Mail & Ship. Many of the directions from above are basically the same but the key difference is under, "Where are you sending to?" you will need to use the dropdown menu to select the country of choice.
3. Finishing the Shipping Label:Fill in all the corresponding information until the end of the form including the value of the package. The Canadians on the board may have more to speak to with this but I always kept this amount on the lower side so the recipient doesn't get hit with high customs fee. (average amount I would put would be $10-$20) A great feature is at the end of the page it will give you all your options for shipping. I can tell you on a personal note that when I ship to England I always choose first class international mail and I have never had a problem. Once again, delivery confirmation is thrown in for FREE.
3. Beginning the Customs Form: You will then get to a page that will you through step by step filling in the customs form. The first question will ask you to "Enter Package Information." This is where you can just write this is a gift box for a friend. You do not need to write anything more!
4. Customs Inventory: Next up is, "Enter Item Information." Okay, this one is a little tricky. If you want to itemize, and fill in every single thing in the box, you can. If you only want to do a couple, you can. I've done both over the years and both have been okay. I'm not going to tell you though that it will work every time so ultimately, the decision is up to you. Make sure though that you mark each item a GIFT so that the recipient does not get charged increased fees. Also, and this is IMPORTANT, the total that adds up for the all the items has to be the same total you gave on the previous page for the value of the box. So if you make something worth $1, that's fine! (Again, Canadians speak up hear if I'm wrong but my abroad friends always told me it was better to do this to reduce customs fees for the recipient.) Lastly, each weight of each individual item will need to add up to the to the total weight item, so I've honestly literally made up ratio numbers in the past. (I have never had a problem in years of sending packages)
5. Tarrif Number: Lastly, you do not have a tariff number so leave that blank. Okay, one last thing, choose your AES exemption. I would choose the second one having to do with gifts.
6. Obtaining the Label/Customs Form: The steps following this are similar to the ones from above except that I believe the payment options for USPS may also include credit card options as well as PayPal. Go ahead and print your label which will also contain your completed customs form. (Please note: you may need to sign your customs form before affixing it to your package) On a positive note, YOU STILL SAVE MONEY BY USING THE ONLINE POSTAGE SYSTEM!
7. How to actually ship it:For international packages, my personal advice is yes, bring it to the post office, and yes, actually check it in and get a receipt saying it was checked in by a postal worker. Since many international packages take quite longer than domestic and tend to get delayed at different intervals, you want to make sure that everything is okay when it first enters the system.
Duty Info (Thank you veronika23!)
The US can receive a gift up to 100$ USD. If you are sending a gift from Canada and mark it as 100$ you are actually saying it cost you 100$ CAD. Today Google converts that to 73.30$ USD so your recipient should be ok and not pay additional fees.
Canada can receive a gift up to 60$ CAD. If you are sending a gift from the US and it was 60$, you are actually saying it cost you 60$ USD. Today Google converts that to 81.86$ CAD. So your Canadian recipient in this case might pay duties/taxes/fees. But if your gift only cost you is lets say 35$ USD today Google converts that to 47.75$CAD. So the recipient shouldn't pay fees.
I believe customs will check the rate on the day the item is processed.
For the US ladies. The cheapest way to ship to Canada is via USPS First Class International mail.