Snail Mail

My First Year of Snail Mail

     In honour of my roughly one year anniversary of getting some pen pals and sending some letters, I thought it fitting to take a small look back at some mail I’ve sent over the last 12 months and a few things I’ve received – who knows, maybe I’ll encourage some of you readers out there not yet into snail mail to start sending some letters!

     I absolutely love mail art now. I like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at making nice envelopes that put smiles on people’s faces but developing a knack for mail art can take some practice!

     When I look back, I can’t help but think how boring my envelopes were! I hadn’t yet discovered how much I enjoy mail art. I made a few envelopes but a lot were just plain envelopes with a strip of washi tape or a decorative sticky label. We all have to start somewhere though!


Outgoing mail! #snailmail #penpal #penpals #letter

A post shared by Emma Ward (@idleemma) on

     It wasn’t long before I started making more of my own envelopes. I really starting building my paper collection (and even made a few envelopes out of wallpaper!):

     Come 2016, I really started getting into mail art. I started spending more time making envelopes and decorating them in different ways – like these ones I decorated with sticky labels. I also started delving into the world of stamps and using a few different ones.

     I like to mix up my decorating styles from time to time but I think by now all my pen pals and blog readers have spotted my love for incorporating colouring books into my mail!

     Now I’m all about the stamp thing and trying to find the stamp that best suits the theme I want for the envelope. It’s not always possible but when you can do it, it really completes a piece of mail art!

     So where will my mail art go next? Who knows! You’ll just have to keep an eye on my monthly snail mail posts to see.

     And what about my incoming mail? Well, there’s been a lot of it:

Photo - 2015 and 2016 Snail Mail (3)

     I appreciate every letter that comes through my letter box but I can’t show everything so here’s just a few bits and pieces that I’ve gotten from pen pals and doing swaps:

     Now, at this stage, some of you out there might be feeling that snail mail is for you but you don’t know where to start. I might at some stage do a longer post talking about some of the snail mail sites I’ve come across and used but for now, I’ll just leave you with a few places to check out:

  • Pen Pal World – email or snail mail
  • Postcrossing – for sending postcards
  • International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club – pen pals and occasional swaps
  • Swap-Bot – swaps of various kinds
  • And of course, WordPress! A few of my current pen pals I met via their blogs. I enjoyed reading their blogs and they happened to also be interested in snail mail.

      Don’t be afraid to ask if someone wants to pen pals. What’s the worst that can happen? They might not have the time or resources for more pen pals and they say no but if you take the risk of asking and they say yes, well you’ve potentially just made a lifelong friend!

     Well, that’s all for this post then. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of my mail and are maybe encouraged to start sending some snail mail yourself. Trust me – you’ll love the feeling of getting nice things in your mail!

30 thoughts on “My First Year of Snail Mail

  1. Love all your envelope art. There is something rather inviting about a beautiful envelope and then ……….. inside – actual writing …….. a cast back to former days 🙂 Beats an email any day !!! 🙂


    1. Thanks, glad you like it! I love reading what other people think of snail mail. It’s great knowing that there’s still plenty of people out there who enjoy the personal touch of a hand written letter!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you fond it useful! I wasn’t sure where to start when I wanted to get into snail mail so it took me a while of searching but once you know where to look you’ll be able to find loads of snail mail opportunities. Actually, I forgot to mention in the post that Postcrossing, as well as being a place for sending and receiving postcards, it also has a forum where people do trades and look for pen pals. Worth checking out!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i’m still very much in the boring, but trying to spice things up with washi tape envelope phase haha. i figure that’s better than sending a plain ol’ white envelope. but it’s encouraging to see that you started at the same place as me. you’re blog has given me so many good ideas! do all your pen pals reciprocate the decorative envelopes? if no, are you ever disappointed by sending envelopes/art and not seeing the same in return? my theory is that making beautiful envelopes/snail mail art is a hobby and something i want to use to make pen pals happy, and it’s okay if they’re not the creative type. their letters are just as important to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s where most people start. Just takes a bit of time for you to learn what you like doing, what works for you and what works for your mail system – build up your confidence with mail art!
      Most of my pen pals do some sort of mail art – I get one or two plain envelopes but most ranges from using a pretty store bought envelope or decorating a white one with a few stickers to then the couple of pen pals who like me, really enjoy making envelopes. I don’t mind at all that some people don’t decorate.I think the same as you, it makes me happy to make the envelopes nice and I hope it makes them happy too but not everyone likes doing that in which case, it’s the contents inside that I look forward too!


  3. A wonderful year of cool mail art–and I love those otter stamps!

    Do you have one of those envelope cutting template things? I have so far just carefully deconstructed envelopes & traced the edges along paper to make most of my envelopes. I looked up an “envelope punch board” someone mentioned on a blog, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it would just be more complicated!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do – the We R Memory Keeper envelope punch board. I got it for Christmas and love it! I still make envelopes without it – it works from square pieces of paper/card so sometimes rather than cut something to size for it (like when making envelopes out colouring book pages) I just makes a few cuts myself and fold where best the design fits, but I don’t have a template I work from and I’m terrible at measurements (like, really awful) so the punch board really speeds of envelope making for me. I’ve even seen a few tutorials for making flipbooks using envelopes made with the punch board so I’m excited to try those out at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t mean to promote here honestly!, but I have a video on YouTube about making envelopes with no measuring, the channel is Simply Creative Today and its rhe first video I ever made, hope it helps! Also I want to start doing snail mail pen pals, I’m wondering if you have room for more, I understand if you dont! I don’t have any yet so I’m looking for maybe 3 penpals…..

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Well I’ll definitely have to check that out! (Anything to not have to measure! xD). And if you’re looking to find some pen pals, I’m up for that! 🙂 Feel free to shoot me an email to talk about it (I have a ‘contact me’ section you can use 🙂 )


  4. Congrats on your snailmailiversary! Oh man, I am so ashamed to remember some of those earliest envelopes I sent out when I first started. I had no idea what I was doing, and I had a weird tendency to add on bits that were too three-dimensional and inevitably fell off mid-mailing. Anyway, here’s to another year (and beyond!) of happy mailing! 😀 (by the way, I sent you an unusually huge envelope last week but now I’m starting to think I might have left your postal code off by accident?? either way, let me know if it doesn’t show up within the next few weeks!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well it’s good to remember where we started – let’s us see how far we’ve come! But ya, looking back on old stuff can be hard, can’t help but think sometimes ‘what the hell was I thinking!’ xD
      Ooh, looking forward to it arriving! And don’t worry – the Irish postal codes are completely pointless! They only actually came in last year and no one bothers using them. It’s hit or miss now as to whether I use it…it just makes an already too long address longer 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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