Snail Mail Booklet Letters

6 Sep


It’s Friday and we all survived the first hectic week back to school.  The kids returned home from their first days at secondary school actually relieved.  Which means Mama was relieved.  They love the new schedules and running back and forth between classes and the fact that they are being treated more and more grown up.  It seems as though they’re ready for all this so I guess I have to be too.  Wish me luck.

As you may know my kids and I are big fans of snail-mailing our friends and family from around the world.  Snail-mailing is something that I have been doing for years (you should see my Japanese stationary collection that I started in my teens!) and my kids have definitely adopted my love for writing letters the old fashioned way.

For us it’s also an ideal way for my kids who are schooled in Dutch and French to practice writing English in an interesting and engaging way.  You should see those early letters that they wrote to their grandmother!  Sweet and almost impossible to understand.  Luckily they’ve come a long way since then in the spelling department.

A few months ago we participated in Giova‘s Flat Project with some little handmade fabric embellished cards.  We all loved this project so much that we’ve been busy thinking of new ways to make our own letters and cards for our penpals.  Here’s our latest idea.


Materials Needed:

Patterned and solid coloured thin cardboard (or even heavy paper)
Small hole punch
shapes for tracing (cookie cutters, bowls, boxes, wooden shapes etc)IMG_0809

One day my daughter and I were rummaging through one of my (beloved) drawers full of crafty goodness and we came across a little box full of brads that I had received from my mother years ago.  We took them out and admired all the little coloured metal and cloth embellished brads and decided we needed to use them immediatly (I love it that my daughter enjoys these things as much as I do).

So seeing as we had a long list of penpals to write we decided to make little books in various shapes using our favourite patterned and solid coloured papers.  We searched the house for any possible object that we could trace  for interesting shapes (cookie cutters worked the best) and my daughter  hand drew a few shapes that she had in mind as well (unfortunately we don’t have a hot air balloon cookie cutter!).

IMG_0823We made books with anywhere from 3 pages to 8 pages and either alternated with solid and patterned paper or just did a patterned cover with all solid pages.

This is a great and simple paper project to do with kids of just about any age and ability.  My kids (who are 11,11,9 years old) are experimenting with more and more complicated shapes now as well  (airplanes, windmills, various pieces of clothing and maybe even a James Bond gun).

One daughter decided to start a back-and-forth letter with one of her pen-pals using one of the books.  She wrote her letter on the first page and her pen-pal will respond on the second and send it back.  She has dreams of this little book going back and forth over the ocean for years to come.  That’s my kind of dream!


Happy Week-End!


7 Responses to “Snail Mail Booklet Letters”

  1. Stephanie September 6, 2013 at 16:16 #

    Happy, fun, lovely! Happy weekend to you too!

  2. grammao September 6, 2013 at 18:35 #

    Now’s here’s a project that both Gramma and Great Gramma can enjoy and join in on. Searching through my cookie cutters tonight!!

  3. Terumi September 9, 2013 at 07:36 #

    Just read your post about Japan on another site-we’re heading there soon with our twin boys:) I love the papers you use in this craft! What a great idea.

    • Jillian In Italy September 10, 2013 at 15:15 #

      Hello, always love to hear from a fellow mother-of-twins! Have a great time in Japan! It is such an amazing country. We can’t wait to get back there. J

  4. giova brusa September 10, 2013 at 15:04 #

    I love this idea, of course I’m the very happy owner of the apple one 😉 I need to go and get some cookie cutters!

  5. Judith September 12, 2013 at 00:17 #

    I loved receiving the circle one! It’s so very cute! Oh and what a romantic idea of your daughter to have the booklet travel across oceans to be filled with pen-pal letters… it will become a real treasure!


  1. PBS ‘Pen Pal’ Video | Jillian In Italy - January 22, 2014

    […] you may know I’m a huge fan of snail-mailing and pen-pals (see some of my snail mail projects here and here).  It’s something I’ve been doing since I was a little girl and something […]

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