Hello everyone! I’ve been asked many times if I have a you tube channel or blog for tutorials on my mail art and art journals. Sadly, I am not good at making videos… yet. I hope this tutorial will help those who want to start on mail art. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions by leaving a short comment below. Thanks!
First, gather the materials that you will need.
- Scrap papers (best if they look vintage)
- Old book pages
- Washi tapes
- Glue and applicator (optional)
- Old/used plastic card
- Paper underliner (I use wax paper)
1. Start by choosing what type of envelope you want to use. For vintage themed, it is best to use Kraft ones as they look more vintage than plain whites.
2. Look for scraps of paper. Here, I chose brown colored and torn pages from a Trader Joe’s catalog, old book paper, floral gift wraps, cream print paper from my stash tray.
3. Choose washi tapes that will fit the theme. I used tapes from Classiky (collage and newspaper sets) and MTex tapes.
4. Tear the pieces of paper to glue on to the envelopes. I usually do the corners and leave the right upper corner for the stamps. Do collage on both front and back of the envelope. Use the plastic card to scrape out excess glue. Let it dry for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, you can write your letter and make some small art pieces to send, like tags, cards, or organize the stuffs you will put in the envelope.
5. Add washi tapes. You can tear the tapes into halves (lengthwise) if you need to.
6. Add on a scraps of paper for the addresses. Make sure the address will fit on it.
7. Use a black pen to outline so it will stand out and make it easier for the postal people to spot where the mail is going to.
8. Look for some vintage looking images to use as the focal point of the mail art. Don’t use too many as it will look overcrowded.
9. Flip over the envelope, add double adhesive tapes to make sure it is well sealed. Some envelopes have weak sealers and they tend to open up when in transit. You can also use any other gluing materials that is already available to you. The point here is, to seal it well.
10. Prepare your letter and the stuffs you want to send to your friend. If you’re living in the US and sending international, make it thin and less rigid so you don’t have to spend so much on the postage.
11. Now, this step is optional… speaking from my experience, a couple of my sent letters were received drenched wet. And to prevent it from happening again, I now use a plastic bag to wrap my letter especially those that are going to some parts of Asia or to a country that tends to rain or snow a lot during fall and winter seasons.
12. Write the address legibly and make sure you did it right. Check twice. 😀 Use a smear/smudge free pen.
13. Put your letter in the envelope and seal it properly.
14. Weigh it for proper postage and use your postal office’s website to calculate the stamps you will need to put on.
15. Before putting on the stamps, use clear spray to make sure all the writings and images on the envelope are smudge free. I still do it even if I use waterproof pens because I want my friends to receive my mail art in good condition. Let it dry for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
15. Again, this step is optional… use tape on each sides of the envelope before adding stamps. Your mail will be going through a lot of handling and stress. Do you think that sorting facilities will handle them with care? NO! they just toss it around mindlessly. 😦 I’ve received a lot of envelopes that were torn on the corners or on the edges and some “innards” 😀 were peeking out and some others were falling apart.
16. You can now add the stamps using the calculations from the postal’s website as a guide. You need to add a few more cents to it because home use weighing scales aren’t as accurate as those used by the post offices.
- Use a glue that is sticky enough (I use YES! paste or Liquitex Gel) remember, your mail will be going through a lot stress.
- Scrap paper colors must be cohesive.
- Waterproof pens: Sakura microns, Faber Castell PITT pens, Uniball Signo gel pens and micro (0.7 & 0.5).
- If you don’t have clear spray, use hair sprays 😀 your mail will smell sweeter than mine.
- Don’t use clear tape on top of the stamps. It’s a big bum for stamp collectors like me.
- Spread your letter and extras equally so there will be less bulk on the middle part of the envelope.
- Know what your pen pal/friend’s interests so you can send her those stuffs that he/she likes most.
- No matter how artsy you want to make your envelopes, follow your postal office’s regulations, like using the upper right corner for stamps only and left upper corner for the return address. If you don’t have enough space to write on for the “from” address, write it on the back part– use the lower corners for it.
- Use one focal point only and do less collage. The trick here is to not overdo it. 🙂
And that is how I do it. Thank you for reading and I do hope that you will find this tutorial helpful.
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