I recently sent a little package over to my mail art pal, Steph. I always try to pull out all the stops for this pal as we mainly exchange mail for the art. It’s actually kind of a relief, I know I don’t have to write a long letter if I want to send her some mail. It’s also fun to experiment with my techniques and mail art when I’m sending her a letter. I know that nothing is too weird for her, which is awesome! Steph is also incredibly creative and sends gorgeous mail so I have to keep up with her.
For this piece of mail, I re-purposed a photo album sleeve. It was about an 8 1/2×11 plastic sleeve with 4 pockets. I decided to fold the plastic sleeve in half, so two pockets were on the front and two on the back. I created and decorated little cards to fit inside each pocket. I ended up with a red, blue, black, and white color combo and I’m seriously in love with it. I don’t exactly know how it happened as I definitely wasn’t planning on it!
While I didn’t include much of a letter, I made sure to include some extras for Steph. I know she has an incredible stash of ephemera but it’s always fun to include some bits and bobs! For Steph, I always browse through my stash to find the unusual things.
I say it all the time, letter writing is so much fun. There are so many components that go into it and everyone does it differently. I’ve always been very fond of mail art. I just love the idea of making something as simple as a letter or an envelope pretty. It’s great to know that my time and effort to decorate letter will make someone’s day and mailbox a little brighter.
I’ve always had pen pals that also like to spruce up their mail. It’s always nice to include a little something for those folks to use in their mail art. I love receiving new things for my craft stash, especially stuff that I maybe wouldn’t pick up or be able to find myself.
Here are a few ideas of things you can send off to those mail art pals!
► Die cuts
► Washi tape
► Magazine cut outs
► Scrap paper
► Stamped images
► Used postage
► Airmail labels
I have received some really lovely mail recently. A pen pal friend of mine, Steph, added me to her cool mail art Swap-Bot group not too long ago. Against my better judgement, I signed up for some swaps through her group. The only reason it wasn’t a good idea is because I still have a ton of letters to reply to that aren’t swap related. Oops.
The first swap I signed up for was an anything goes mail art swap. It was basically a free-for-all for this swap. You could send whatever your heart desired. My partner’s heart desired to send an altered peanut container. I’m sure happy they did that! I had a huge smile on my face when I opened my mailbox and saw this little container sitting in it. I really love how they decorated it as well! My partner also sent some goodies for me inside of the container. Hooray!
In regular pen pal news, I received a beautiful envelope from Mermeg and a nice postcard from Stephanie. I really, really, really love the envelope Mermeg sent me. Like, love love love. The purple and gold is so pretty!! She is just so creative. I also enjoyed the nice surprise postcard from Stephanie. It’s always lovely to be thought of!
I love receiving mail from Billie Jo. We met through Instagram and I had never seen a picture of her mail art before so I had no idea what kind of postal treat she would send my way. She does incredible stitching on her envelopes and it’s just so beautiful!
She does the stitching on the sides, around the address, everywhere. This type of mail art is not something that I receive often so I’m always really impressed by it. I feel like it must take so much time! And paper is so delicate so you have to be careful. I always have to run my fingers over the string.
In addition to sending really beautiful mail, Billie Jo also sends amazing things in her envelopes. She made the journal pictured below as well as the super cute shaker card.
I sent some first time mail to a new mail friend. I really enjoy putting together mail for new people. It’s so much fun to me to introduce myself to someone and share myself with them. It’s just the perfect opportunity! I kind of go all out for the introduction letters because I find that there is so much to share. I don’t know how to control myself!
I really love the way the envelope turned out. The blue and green combination with a pop of white is so pretty to me! I end up using that color combination often.
I made a little flipbook to send to Selin. When you first open it, there is a postcard of Portland with a sticker that says “my home”. I really love that detail and it’s a fun way to show a new mail friend your city. Postcards don’t always have to be mailed! On the opposite side, I made a little pocket with two different papers and stuffed a bunch of paper goodies into it. You have to send some goodies to your new pen pals! 🙂
When the flipbook is fully open, it’s a little crowded! Ha. On the top left flap, I included a little list of my favorite bands. Music is super important to me and I love sharing music with folks. On the bottom left flap, I included some more goodies; a sample of some of my washi tape as well as some punch-outs. I used my hexagon and scallop punch for those! The top right flap is just a decorated page with a shaker pocket. Or, at least, my attempt at a shaker pocket! The bottom right flap is where I put my letter.
Do you like to go all out when sending first time mail to someone? What do you like to include and how do you introduce yourself?
It’s so great to include something nice for your recipient, in addition to a lovely letter. It can be hard to think of something to send so I wanted to make share some ideas with everyone!
There are so many things you can include in your envelopes. I recently posted about sending little surprises, mostly flat things that wouldn’t up the cost of postage. There are so many options!
Some of my favorite things to send out are things I love. It’s so fun to share yourself with a pen pal, new or old. I think that is something really special about snail mail; you are opening yourself up to this person you may have never met.
Here are a few ideas of ways you can share with your pen pal to give them a better glimpse into your life and your personality.
► Zines that you have made
► Mix CDs or handwritten playlists that include your favorite songs
► Recommendations: your favorite books, movies, or songs
► Art you have made
► Photos you’ve taken
► A list of your favorite things
► Local goodies
► Descriptions of your favorite places or things about where you live
► A list of things you are currently enjoying (food, movies, etc)
► Your favorite drink (sending along a bag of tea or hot chocolate)
Do you have that one pen pal where you know, no matter what, it’s going to be a good mail day when a letter from them is sitting in your mailbox? The envelope doesn’t even have to have any extras; the letter alone is the treasure.
That’s how it is when I receive mail from Megan, or Mermeg. Although she always includes something extra for me, her letters are all I care about. We’ve know each other for so long and we’ve met on multiple occasions. She is truly a friend and I’m so happy that I can call her my friend.
It’s great to get updates on her life and find out what she is up to. She always has something cool going on so her letters are incredibly entertaining. I love her mail art style as well. Nothing can be topped!
I recently sent mail to a lady named Marissa. I met her through Twitter when she was looking for someone in Portland to go on a top secret postal mission. I quickly volunteered and sent her a little package with my findings. I never heard from her whether she got the package and assumed it got lost in the mail. Well, I recently found out she did get my package because she sent the most lovely mail in return.
Look at that package! I mean, it has everything you could want to receive in the mail. A beautiful words, zines, something handmade, and something unique. If there was such a thing as mail art bingo, I would’ve definitely called bingo with this package. I was really excited to receive something back from Marissa and super, duper excited to receive something so wonderful.
I recently participated in a little ATC swap with Carolyn from Instagram. It was more of an ATC collab, as she sent me two ATCs that she had already started and I was to finish them. I’ve never done anything like that! I never thought I would be a fan of working with someone else to create a finished piece of art. Maybe I’m selfish? After I received Carolyn’s ATCs, I knew I was in for a treat! She is super talented!
I sent her the ATCs back once I completed them. The completed ones are the two with faces on them. I also sent her two ATCs that I started and asked her to finish them. It certainly was a lot of fun and a great experience! I would totally do it again.
I have so much incoming mail to catch up on! The summertime is really the worst time for me, productivity-wise (and, well, everything-else-wise because I hate summer). Although I became a super hermit during the sunny months, I also did not get anything done while at home. I hung out in my living room with 3 fans pointed at me at all times.
I don’t really send a lot of postcards these days. I’m not active on Postcrossing anymore and I never think to pop a quick postcard in the mail to say hey. Sending mail is somewhat of a complicated process for me, though, so I think I like to reserve it for actual letters.
People still send me postcards though. How nice of them! I really enjoy all of the little things you can do to spruce up a postcard. A stamp, sticker, or even some fun handwriting can go a long way. I am also really impressed by folks that can fit a lot of text on their postcards. I feel like I can write like 3 sentences and then it’s full. I probably need to write small but how do you even do that? Hah.