Letters, stickers, and art, oh my!

Letters, stickers, and art, oh my!

Perhaps one of the most greatest feelings is getting a package or letter in the mail. Just seeing your name neatly printed on an envelope can make you feel on top of the world. What’s also satisfying is making another friend’s day by sending them a bundle of care and craft. Whether it’s with DIY-ing or trying to find substance to put in your pen-pal packages, we got ya covered.

Here are some quick tips on how to make a great pen pal package for a friend!

What you’ll need:

  • An envelope or package box.
  • Postage stamps
  • Tape
  • Markers
  • Stickers
  • Items of your choice, including art, to-do lists, photos, memorabilia, and other fun stuff.

How to do it:

Step One: Getting a pen pal

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Getting a pen pal can be very easy! Contact a person you’d be interested in exchanging packages with such as a trusted internet friend, or a school friend. Don’t be discouraged if the person you reach out to isn’t interested; perhaps they are busy or have other pen pals already. Once you’ve found your pen pal soulmate, you want to figure out when you will be sending packages. The way that we started out was by doing an art trade last spring: a pin from Sofia for a portrait of her drawn by Isabel. We eventually became pen pals through our love for each other’s art and style and kept up with it! Coordinate timing with your pen pal however you’d like—every month, every other month, whenever you feel like it. Keep in mind that having a pen pal is supposed to be fun and not at all stressful; if you’re taking a while to compile a package (we both take a few weeks—no shame) DON’T FEEL BAD!! There will come a time where your pal takes a while to respond with their package and that’s OK! Homework, clubs, pets, or whatever can take up your time and the same applies to your friend. Communication is key; let the other know if you are caught in something that requires you to postpone your package, and be sure to tell your friend all about the sweet details when you guys catch up!

Step Two: Decorating the package


Decorating a package is an important part of this process. This is what your friend will first see when they get your package, and you want to make it as exciting as possible!! Doodle anything you want on the front (and back), and add stickers and marker drawings. You can experiment with water colors, or make it a themed package. For example: Valentine’s Day, back to school, cat-themed—anything you can think of!

Step Three: Filling the package



Sofia: Original art that you make is always nice to receive! You can also include zines, prints, and artwork from other people who sell it online (examples here, here, and here.)

Isabel: Personally, receiving art or sending out doodles of my own is the highlight of any pen-pal exchange, that, and…letters! Compiling a bunch of doodles for your pen pal makes the process more personable and fun. It’s what makes the package “YOU.” If you’re stuck on what to draw, try making yourself a moodboard or make note of things that inspire you throughout the month. I use Tumblr as a place to surround myself with people, music, and art that keep me eager to jot or draw my thoughts down. If you’re not one for drawing, you can include themed playlists or remnants of your to-do or groceries list. Keep in mind that care packages can be anything you want it to be!

To-do lists:

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Isabel and I recently started doing Kendra’s to-do list project and it’s tons of fun! You send your pal a list of things to draw and they send you one as well. Then you both doodle what’s on the list your pal sent! In the first image, Isabel’s list for me is on the left, my drawings for her are on the right, and the list I’m sending her is on the bottom!

Isabel: Going off of what Sofia said, the drawing to-do lists are so much fun. They’re also really great for when you’re in a rut and don’t know what to draw. You can even take a spin off of this idea and exchange writing prompts with each other. You could send an emotion/circumstance and ask the other to compile a playlist to encapsulate it! The second picture shows my doodles in response to her list; next to it, a new list just for her! ;-)

Photos and memorabilia:

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Sofia: I enjoy sending all types of photos—postcards, film pictures I’ve taken, and magazine clippings! Writing little notes on the back about how your life is going or what your current movie picks are is a great idea.

Isabel: Finding cool things to send to your pal gives you an excuse to venture out to new restaurants or museums. Try that new sushi-burrito joint or visit the butterfly exhibition to seek out cool stuff to send while experiencing the fun yourself! If you can’t find the means to go to the city or don’t have the time, the internet is a great place of its own! Perhaps you can send funny and cool screenshots from Google World, or include things for your pal to look up, like a funny video of corgis or a link to article on global warming. Whatever works for you!

Random items:


Sofia: Things like keychains, candy, pins and patches, stickers and interesting matchbooks are fun to receive! If you’re at a store and you spot your favorite candy or something you’d like your pen pal to try, get it and send some! Making pins and embroidering patches adds such a nice, personal touch to your package.

Isabel: What’s nice to do in your first package is to inquire about what types of things your pen pal might like—their favorite color, flavor, if they have any allergies (especially if you want to send over your favorite munchies). Places to go to if you’re in need of some package stuffers: local thrift stores, dollar stores, hobby shops, etc. If your pen pal lives far away, out of state, or out of the country, take into account what things they might not have in their state or country. Lucky for me, Sofia is based in Hawaii, so I get a wonderful dose of rainbows and sunshine in each package I get. As for her, she gets varying goodies from the East Coast!

Hope this was helpful! Good luck!!! ♦