Tuesday 22 January 2019

Send Happy Snail Mail With Vintage Stamps & DIY Envelopes!

One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2019 is to make time to send more snail mail to my friends and penpals. Maybe that's something you'd like to do more of, too? In this post you'll find two fun and easy ways of making the snail mail you send extra special...

Did you know you can use old-but-not-used Royal Mail postage stamps for sending your post here in the UK? I recently bought a big bundle of old mint stamps for my letters, and using them is proving to be an absolute joy!

colourful envelopes decorated with vintage postage stamps

I bought a big bundle of stamps, giving me lots of different designs and values to choose from when making up the correct postage value and saving me money, too (always a good thing when you send a lot of post - snail mail is wonderful but stamps are rather pricey these days!). I bought my stamps from here.

Sorting through the bundle when it arrived was a huge amount of nerdy fun. So many lovely old stamps! And so many possibilities for getting creative with my letters!

lots of vintage postage stamps

Even if you just selected any old stamps to make up the correct postage the result would be pretty cool: a handful of quirky old stamps (some with ha'penny values!) are always going to be more exciting than just a single modern one. But of course (OF COURSE) I've been playing with colour and themes when putting together the stamp selections for my mail.

Carefully selecting the stamps can be rather a time suck but totally worth it, I think! I described this as "a bit of a waste of time" to a friend recently but, as he immediately pointed out, actually it's not a waste of time at all: I've been enjoying it as a relaxing task while watching TV in the evenings, and the end results can be rather wonderful.

This week I've been playing with colour, matching stamps to a set of fabulous notecards I got for Christmas.

 colourful notecards and coordinating rainbow postage stamps

In case you're admiring the notecards (and why wouldn't you be?), they're the "Pen to Paper Notecards" set by Present & Correct for Chronicle Books. Mine were bought from Waterstones here in the UK, but those of you in the US can buy them direct from Chronicle Books.

Here's a closer look at the cards and the stamps I've used:

colourful notecards and coordinating postage stamps
colourful notecards and coordinating postage stamps
colourful envelopes and coordinating postage stamps

All that lovely colour makes me very happy indeed.

The second thing I've been doing recently to jazz up my post is making my own handmade envelopes. I've made some from coloured paper, but I've also been making lots from a book of maps and a gorgeous book of British wildflowers.

making DIY envelopes from old books

When you use book pages to make envelopes the end results are so pretty, and totally unique! Oh, and the books only cost me about a quid each at my local charity shop so they're a bargain, too.

If you've never made an envelope before, don't worry: they're so easy to make that you'll wonder why you never tried it before.

Just unfold an envelope that's the size you need (or download and print a free template from the internet - there are loads available), stick it to a bit of card and trace the shape onto the back of whatever nice paper you want to use. Then cut, fold and stick (with glue or double-sided tape) the envelope together and add a plain label for the address when you're ready to send it. Remember to position your template so the paper will be the right way up on the front of the envelope!

Cheap second hand books are perfect for making envelopes, though you may need to use different size envelope templates depending on the size of the pages. If you need to make envelopes of a specific size, simply take the template with you when you go browsing for books to use.

I also love making envelopes from leftover gift wrap and colourful magazine pages. Sometimes my stamps used to fall off my letters en route when I sent "magelopes" as a teen, but with modern postage stamps being like stickers it's much easier to use shiny paper for making your envelopes without worrying about the stamps going AWOL.

I won't be combining these two happy post ideas and using a selection of vintage stamps with my book envelopes - I think the effect would be a little visually cluttered and I'd hate to cover up those lovely flowers and maps! Instead I'll be keeping my eye out for some suitably lovely Special Stamps, or using some of the pictorial definitives, either of which are much prettier options than standard 1st/2nd class stamps, if you care about that sort of thing (which, as you've probably gathered by now, I totally do). 


H is for Home said...

What a brilliant idea! I'd love to receive a letter from you 😊

Shortbread and Ginger said...

What a great idea - and so colourful too!

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks guys! You can't beat a nice bit of snail mail, in my opinion :)