For the past 7 years or so I have been writing to people from around the world. I have steady pen friends in Canada, Spain and about 4 right here in the United States. I sometimes write to random people who’s addresses I get from penpal sites and I still receive random post cards, note cards and other errata like zine’s, bumper stickers from someones favorite pizza place or whatever flavor of souvenir the sender chooses. As a writer & poet I like to share my stuff through the mail in as many unique ways as possible. With the help of Michael’s Craft store, I can for little money, keep myself in supplies. In fact I think I have enough stuff to put a kindergarten classroom to shame. My philosophy is though, “why should kindergartners have all the fun?” Do I not like pretty paper? Have I outgrown my need for crayons, stamps, punches or glue sticks? Not even a little. I can make a work of art, suck down a juice pouch, kill a bag of teddy graham’s and take a nap with the best of them.
This post is just a kick start for all those interested in paper crafts in general. I will eventually show (in later posts) how to make homemade envelopes and share tips and tricks to making your art fun for mailing or handing out in person to that special someone.For this post I am sharing pictures of things I use to make each piece of mail fantastically decorated for that one of a kind look and samples of various paper prints to piece together to make your very own pc’s & note cards. The good news is most people with any artistic talent or have children, you probably have most of this kind of stuff lying around your house already.
Before you make anything, you will want to consider the following first:
- USPS considers a postcard to be Rectangular in shape
- At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inches thick
- No more that 4-1/2 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.016 inches thick (or so they say but there is a price point for pc’s 6-1/8 high x 11-1/2 long x 1/4 inch thick)
- Homemade envelopes with stickers will not be machined
- Envelopes of odd shapes or containing ridges will not be machined
Post Cards not meeting the above qualifications will be considered a letter and will be charged the letter price. Also consider, if you make your envelopes outside the standard size or send it stuffed with materials beyond the thickness qualification, the US postal service will charge extra for handling these items which is approximately 20 cents.
The great thing about colored pencils, pens and rubber stamps are that you can decorate your envelope without changing the thickness or its qualification to be machined like normal mail. The colored rubber stamp pens you see above are relatively inexpensive, work as they are designed to and make your rubber stamps multicolored instead of just one color when used on a stamp pad. I really love these. The protractor makes an excellent tool for making butterfly envelopes which I will feature in Mailart 2 and individual paper punches run about $1 which is a steal when you think about how you will never buy confetti again.
Over the years I’ve watched the price of greeting cards go up and up. In comparison, making homemade cards is still the cheapest way to go, all the while showing a person how much more you care or value them with the effort you put into making them something with your own two hands.
On the left was my selection of scrapbook paper that costs as little as 25 cents a sheet and some scissors. You will also need a glue stick, preferably the gel kind because it sticks better than the white paste looking stick. Pick one sheet of paper to make your note card. Cut it down to fit a note card size envelope (if your not making your own.) Fold your note card in half. Using a plastic template or a traced cut out of the designs of your choice, cut out the design in a contrasting piece of paper to glue on top of your note card. Do the same with an alternate color. I used a triangle to make a “Flying Geese” looking quilt pattern on the front of mine. As you can see I also used the yellow to trim one side of the card. Remember, this is your creation and its a work of art. So there is no wrong way but your way to do it. Have super fun with it and if you make something, don’t forget I want to see it.