I recently learned about this new trend called “Pocket Letter Pals.” Have you heard of it? Well, it’s essentially a modern day twist on what we used to call “Pen Pals,” the twist being that this form of snail mail is done with participants who not only share a liking of regular mail but are also creative! Janette Lane, a blogger and paper crafter, came up with this idea earlier this year and it has really taken off.
So, what is a “Pocket Letter”? Well, it is an 8 1/2″ by 11″ nine-pocket page protector that’s filled with fun crafty things like pretty paper, artwork, treats, and trinkets such as craft and planner supplies. There is usually at least one pocket that will hold a fun or inspirational quote and another that has some information about the sender (if you’re exchanging Pocket Letters with someone you’ve never met before). Another pocket may have a card with questions to the recipient asking simple things like “Do you have a favorite color?” or “What is your favorite movie?”
Once I understood the concept of Pocket Letter Pals, I said to myself “This sounds like fun!” followed by “As if I need another project!” 😉 Anyway, I am totally hooked. I’m exchanging these kinds of letters with some new-found friends and I love it.
Now that I’ve discovered Pocket Letter Pals, my goal is to show others how they too can take part in this craft in a thrifty way. After all, the inspiration for Pocket Letters was the idea of creating a less expensive way to do something similar to “Project Life” (those scrapbook-type photo pages that a lot of people are into.) From my own experience, I can definitely see how this hobby can become expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Related: 17 Handmade Cards for Cheapskates
How to Make Fun Pocket Letters
(Without Breaking the Bank)
1. Search online for ideas. They’re all free! (I am even sharing content over at my own blog, all FREE!) I am finding that the community of “Pals” is a relatively friendly one. If you find a design or layout that you like, try to recreate it with your own flair.
2. Set yourself some ground rules. If you want to swap letters with strangers, decide if you wish to exchange with someone in your own country or go international. A lot of people choose to stay in their own area to lessen the mailing fees. If you wish to find a group where others are interested in the same thing you can check out the original blogger’s site at PocketLettersPals.com. There are also groups (some private) on Facebook.
3. Find a friend to exchange with who also wants to be budget-conscious. The beauty of this hobby is that you can do a one-time exchange or do it several times. There are no rules. Ask your new or existing friend a few questions and lay down some parameters such as a theme, a color scheme, type (handmade or a mixture of handmade and manufactured treats), and budget. Work out something that both of you can be happy about.
5. Get creative with paper! If you are already a paper crafter, then you may already have a lot to fill those pockets with. For the nine pocket inserts, simply cut up a sheet of paper, or several scrap pieces of paper into playing card sizes (2.5 ” x 3.75″). Some people even use their own drawings and artwork to cut up. Other sources of paper include junk mail, magazines, wrapping papers, calendars, greeting cards, ledger papers, photos, and playing cards.
- Washi tape pieces wrapped around a plastic coated card
- Colorful paperclips
- Tiny clothespins
- Colorful little buttons
- Pieces of trim, yarn, and/or ribbons
- Die cuts
- Images cut from magazines
The possibilities are nearly endless!
7. Once your pockets are filled, they’re easy to fold up and insert into an envelope. If you’d like to be crafty, you can wrap the page with tissue paper, a doily, and some twine before putting it into the envelope. If you’re trying to be extra thrifty, keep your letter light and not overly bulky so you are not charged extra at the post office.
If you’re looking for more Pocket Letter Pals how to’s and tips, check out my blog, Annmakes!