Tips

Freebie Friday: A Day In The Life Minizine

Sometimes when you’re stuck for ideas of what to include in a letter, the way to go could be making a minizine about any topic that comes to mind. It is a very simple yet fun little craft that can add a bit of interest to any letter.

As I’ve mentioned, you can make them about any topic, but today I want to share with you a β€œday in the life”-style minizine that you can print out and customise.

β†’  you can download it here ←

If you decide to give it a go, remember to use the hashtag #snailmailloveshop on Instagram so I can check them out! (Instructions on how to fold it can be found here).

Enjoy! Ζ’. x

What Do You Need to Start Writing Letters?

If you’re new to letter writing and your interest has started browsing Instagram or reading blogs, it might be really easy to think that in order to be a good penpal, or just to write letters in general, you need a huge array of specific supplies. If you’ve ever felt discouraged because you can’t just go out and buy a large amount of stationery, especially for a hobby you’re just discovering, fret not: to get started, you only really need a few basic things.

1. Envelopes

Matching letter sets are adorable, but until you get your hands on some of those, there’s nothing wrong in using some good old plain envelopes. Whether they’re white or kraft, you can decorate them in various ways depending on your artistic tendencies. For example, you can use paper scraps or magazine clippings to make a collage, or simply hand draw a design on them.

2. Washi Tape

Washi tape is a decorative type of tape that’s really good for crafts because it’s repositionable. It is available in countless patterns and colours, and you can use it to decorate both your envelopes and your writing paper.
(If you don’t know where to find it, a good place to start is Michael’s or Target (US) or Paperchase (EU).)

3. Stickers & other embellishments

On the same note, stickers are great to add decorative elements to your letters without too much effort. You can also use ribbons, paper embellishments, stamps… I also personally really like to use leaves and flowers I pick up from the garden or the park. You can really use whatever your heart desires!

4. Pens

Of course if you’re going to write a letter, you will need a pen. Any pen is good really, black ink if you wanna keep it simple, or coloured ones if you feel like spicing things up a bit. When you feel more confident about it, you can also give a go to brush pens and start embellishing your letters with beautiful calligraphy.

Now that you have these few basics, you're all set up to delve into snail mailing! The last thing you need is penpal.. or do you already have one? β˜Ί

Ζ’. x

5 Tips for Writing a First Letter to a New Penpal

Writing a first letter can be challenging. In most cases you don't know much about the recipient and introducing yourself could turn into a boring monologue.

In all those years of pen palling I've written and received many first letters, and today I wanted to share with you 5 tips to write your first letter to who could become your new best friend!

1. Introduce yourself gradually.

It happened to me in the past to receive first letter in which people would write everything about them - from their favorite color, to the name of their neighbor's dog. If you flood a person with all sort of informations about yourself, they'll be more likely to forget about it, and besides, if you already told them everything there was to know about you, you're actually taking away the thrill of getting to know you gradually, just like it would happen in real life.
Include the basic informations about yourself, your hobbies, your hometown, but don't overdo it! 

2. Include questions!

You don't want your letter to be completely one sided, if you want your penpal to engage with you in a conversation, your letter should feel like one. They don't have to be complicated questions, just a "what about you?" Or a "what do you think about it?" After you've said something about yourself should work!

3. Put an effort in it.

Not everyone is creatively inclined, but you don't have to be an artist to put together a nice letter. 
Something basic you want, is to make sure your handwriting is legible and tidy, that's the very least you can do to show your penpal that you actually took time off to write to them, and not just rushed a few facts on a piece of paper. Everything else, decoration wise, is good, but as I said, it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Among the things you could do - you can draw on your stationery, decorate it with washi tape or stickers, or even just use a nice patterned paper to begin with.

4. Include something tangible

It very common for pen pals to send small goodies to each other. I wouldn't suggest you do it from the beginning, just in the unfortunate case that it doesn't work out, but adding even something trivial, like a magazine clipping with a picture of your hometown, could make your letter much more special.
If you're willing, you can also include something more personal such as a picture of yourself, or an artwork you made.

5. Have fun!

Don't take yourself too seriously, this person is about to become your friend so you have to keep this in mind. Don't write too formally, share an anecdote or two, be colorful, be loud, and don't be scared to put your personality on paper!

Do you have any other tip? β˜Ί

Ζ’. xx

5 Souvenir Ideas for Your Penpals

Whenever I visit a new place, I love to gather a few souvenirs to send to my pen pals, and I love whenever one of them does the same for me.
Today I thought I'd share a couple of ideas of what to send to your penpal that are a bit more different and creative than just a postcard and a magnet.

1. Vials of sand and sea shells

My absolute favorite thing to do, is collecting small shells from the beach and put them in cute glass vials. You can do it with sand as well, and you can get as creative as you want with them: you can decorate the cork lid by hot gluing a bigger shell on it, or pasting a label with the place and date on which you collected them.

2. Postcard book

Postcards on their own are fine, but you can add an extra touch by collecting a few postcards from different places or of different sights, hole punch them, and create a little booklet. On the back of each postcard you can write something about what they represent, or what you did there, what you liked, etc!

3. Mini travel scrapbook

I'm obsessed with collecting business cards of restaurants and places I visit when I'm on holiday, and I like to include some in my letters too. An easy way to add a little bit of creativity to it, is to make a little booklet (or buy one) and arrange all the bits and bobs (flyers, maps, newspaper clippings, menus...) you collect on your trip. A nice addition would be writing captions for each of them, so your pen pal knows what they're looking at.

4. A day in the life

If you like drawing, this might be a good idea for you: you can illustrate a day (or the highlights of more days) and write a little description for each drawing, to help your friend picture your adventures abroad. If you don't enjoy drawing, you can also do the same thing but with photographs.

5. Stamps

This one might be the most simple idea, but if you have a pen pal that loves and collect stamps, I can assure you they're gonna go crazy if you send them some mint stamps from the country you visited. You just need to locate the nearest post office and you're done!

What do you like to send (or receive) as a memory from a holiday? β˜Ί

Ζ’. x