When I was younger, I used to write tons of letters, parcels and postcards. I had multiple penpals, and it was SO much fun to send and receive letters + gifts with them all! Slowly I just stopped sending letters, and I didn't even realise it until now. A few days ago, I found a box with all my old letters and it made me want to write again! I feel like letter writing is slowly phasing out; it is so much quicker and more convenient to send a quick email or text to your friend. But there is something so special about writing a letter - you put a lot of effort into making it look nice for your penpal, and work hard on presents you know they'll love. Then you wait a week or two to hear back from them, and it just keeps going around! Handmade gifts are always so much more special than bought gifts (in my opinion). I was feeling so inspired to start writing letters again, so I decided to write a post all about PENPALS including organisation, tips and ideas. I hope you enjoy!
The first step to writing a letter is (of course) the letter itself. Your letter can be as big or as small as you like, and you can write about whatever you want. There are no rules or guidelines you need to follow, just write whatever comes to mind! You could ask your penpal some questions, tell them about your week, draw a picture - anything! Here are 3 ideas for letter writing pages:
Letter Writing Kit // Letter Writing Kits are super cute + super convenient! They can have all sorts of things inside, including writing paper, envelopes, stickers, paper clips and more. Everything inside usually matches together really nicely, and you can choose from a wide range of themes. My one (above) is from Kikki.K and it is ice-cream themed. Who doesn't love ice cream?!
Notepad // Another great option is a notepad. Notepads are a great idea if you're going to be sending a lot of letters. You can get some with really cute, simple pages that are great for longer letters. Once you've finished your letter you can just tear out the page, and you're done! My notepad is from Typo, and I'm pretty sure it was super affordable.
Plain White Paper // Plain White Paper is the easiest, cheapest and most customisable option for letter writing. You will most likely already have some paper in your house, and you can decorate it however you like! I ruled (well, attempted) some lines for writing, wrote a big HELLO and added some washi tape and a sticker. The possibilities are endless, there is seriously so many different things you could do. Have fun with it!
The next step is an envelope. Envelopes can be super cute, and again, super customisable. Always make sure to secure everything with really strong glue/tape/staples when decorating envelopes - they can be handled really roughly whilst in the mail rooms, and you don't want the address falling off and your letter going missing. Here are 3 ideas for decorating and making envelopes.
Make an envelope from scratch // It is actually super quick and easy to make an envelope from scratch! This way you can make it whatever size, colour or shape you want. Here is how I made one:
1. Cut out a square piece of paper
2. Fold it in half
3. Cut out a half heart shape, like shown above
4. Cut out a smaller heart shape of a different colour/pattern and glue it on the inside (optional)
5. Fold the two top parts of the heart inwards
6. Fold the curved edges of the heart up, and then the point down.
Washi Tape // When letter writing, washi tape is a must. It is super cute and really easy to use. You can buy thousands of different colours and patterns, and there is one to suit everybody's style. To decorate a plain envelope, I just added 3 strips of matching washi tape to the bottom. Even though it's really simple, I think it looks great. You could arrange the washi tape in heaps of different ways, too.
Scrapbooking // Another great option for decorating envelopes is to use scrapbooking supplies. I kept mine really simply by just using a paper doily and some brads, but you can use anything you like. This option is great, because it is super customisable and you can really do whatever you like. You can make is suited to your penpal, and add things you know they'll love.
If you are wanting to send a bigger parcel to your penpal, it's a good idea to include a few gifts! You don't need to spend heaps of money on gifts, you can always make some things for them at home. Make sure to ask your penpal what their interests are, so you can send them a present you know they'll love. Here are a few gift ideas that I've put together:
- friendship bracelet
- scrunchie or other handmade accessory
- music (you can make your own CD mix for them)
- washi tape or other letter writing supplies
- cute stationary
- handmade bookmark
- food or lollies
Of course, there is so much more you could send, these are just a few small ideas!
When you are sending lot's of mail all the time, it's a good idea to keep everything organised and in one place. You don't want everything taking over your desk space! Having everything organised in one place will also make it quicker and easier to find things.
Letter Storage // It is essential to have somewhere safe to store all the letters you've received. I used to hang all of mine on my wall when I was younger, but the colour started fading. I think it is best to store them in some sort of container with a lid. I use this miniature suitcase, but I think I will need to upgrade to something bigger soon.
Supplies Storage // It is also essential to have somewhere to store your letter writing supplies. I have this blue fabric box, which has two compartments. I use the left side for all my stationary and tools, and the right side for all my papers and decorations. Again, you can really use anything to store your supplies, but I suggest something with a lid to keep everything from fading. Mine doesn't have a lid, but I make sure it's always in the shade.
If you want to send mail but don't have a penpal, or can't seem to find one anywhere, there are other alternatives and ways to send mail. It is really fun to send/receive letters and gifts, so no one should have to miss out! Here are two other ways to have fun sending mail:
Circle Journal // A Circle Journal is a journal that you make + send around to a group of people, and when you get it back all your friends will have made a special page for you! I Above is a journal I have been keeping with my friend Zali for a while now. I also did one a few years ago with a group of 5 friends around Australia, and it was so fun! The journal travelled from state to state, and I loved looking at everyone's pages when I got it back.
To start, all you need is a group of friends. They don't need to live a long way away from you, you can do it with your friends at school if you want to. You all buy a journal, and all pick a theme. It could be:
- My inspiration
- My holiday
- The best day ever
- Fashion Journal
- Anything else you like!
Once you have a group of friends and have picked a theme, that's when the fun begins! Create an order in which the journals will travel, and send/give them to the first person. The journal will travel around to all your friends, and when you get it back you'll have a book full of photographs, drawings, messages and more. A Circle Journal is so much fun to keep, and it is a great memory to have!
Postcrossing // "send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person in the world!"
Postcrossing is so much fun and is also so educational. I used to do this all the time when I was younger, and I enjoyed it so much (I can also say from experience that it is super safe). I think within the first few months I had received postcards from people in over 10 different countries!
Basically, you click 'Send Postcard' and you get someones name, address and country. You can write them a postcard about your country, what it's like, about yourself - anything you like really. As soon as you send a postcard, another person will get your details and send you a postcard. I hope that wasn't too confusing! Their website will have more information. It is so special to receive things from other countries, I love learning about other cultures.
Have loads of fun sending + receiving mail, guys! It is the best fun - I hope you will enjoy it too xx