What is a Pocket Letter?
So what exactly is a Pocket Letter you might ask. To begin, I didn't even know this idea existed until my good friend Jeanne introduced me to it a few months ago. Jeanne is an amazing homemade card maker among so many other things! She knew I would just love doing these and it being like a pen pal letter makes it all the more fun because you can keep sending to the same person over and over or send to new people each time!
A Pocket Letter is just that - 9 little pocket surprises that you can mail in a business letter envelope to friends and family or a complete stranger (pen pal) - Pocket Letter!
Janette Lane is the creator and owner of Pocket Letters and Pocket Letter Pals. She lives in California and is a great blogger, crafter and teacher! Janette started Pocket Letters by doing a Project Life (budget style) by making layouts for it in the 9 pocket plastic sheets. She made the very first Pocket Letter in January of 2015! As she was making them she thought it would make the coolest letter and the perfect thing for someone to receive in the "snail mail". She wondered if anyone else would be interested in making them with her and sharing or swapping theirs. Hence the Pocket Letter was born. You should definitely check out Janette Lane Blog to see all her great ideas and sign up for newsletters!
Now, what does it take to make these amazing pen pal Pocket Letters. It's easy really.
Business envelopes (Press-It, Seal-It)
- (can buy 100 pack on amazon for less then $14.00!!!) 9-Pocket Plastic Sheets
- Scrapbook Paper, constructions paper, regular white or colored paper, etc.
- Ribbons, stickers, embellishments, etc.
- Adhesive tape, glue, glue dots, scrap booking tape, etc.
- Small "surprises" for the back of 8 of the pockets.
- Notebook paper for your "Letter"
- Business sized envelope
- Pen, pencil, marker, etc.
- 1 to 2 stamps, depending on how thick your envelope is, for mailing.
How to Begin
To start you take a 9-pocket plastic sheet (the ones that hold baseball cards) and use it to make 9 different little spaces. The fronts can just be cut out paper embellished with many different things like ribbon, buttons, beads, gems, sequins, etc. One of the most popular things to use on the Pocket Letters is Washi Tape which comes in many different colors, themes, etc. This item is also great to put in the back of one space but that will be written about later. Most of the time you would choose a "theme" for your Pocket Letter and make all 9 of your fronts matching the same "theme".
Example - If you pick a "Snow" theme you can start with a big snowflake or better yet, a snowman in the very center spot. In the 4 corners you can put snowflakes of all different shapes and sizes. The bottom center one you can make a house covered in snow. The two sides you could put frozen ponds with people ice skating. And for the top center one you can make it a cup of hot chocolate with a blue snowy background.
I have seen many pocket letters where they used one whole sheet of paper as the whole scene for the front and just cut it out and put it in the 9 different spots. This is great if you have scrapbook paper that has a design at the bottom such as barns, houses, animals, etc and clouds at the top. Then you can add things to the spots separately or just put stickers on the OUTSIDE of the front of the sheet and make it look like the scene without having the cut lines through it. Like this.....
Notice how some of the stickers are on the inside and some are on the outside of the pockets. This gives the whole Pocket Letter a dimensional look and you are able to place those larger stickers on without having to cut them in half or put them somewhere you don't exactly want them just to keep them from being in a seam.
After the Fronts are Complete
THEN - the best part - you add little goodies to the back of each of the 8 fronts you just made! You leave one empty for the Letter that goes into the Pocket Letter. Many people put in some things they used to create the Pocket Letter so their new pen pal has some of the same stuff. You can add single serve tea bags, stickers, wooden ornaments, business cards, sticky notes, Washi tape, thread, ribbon, candy, basically anything that will fit in the small spot and still be able to fit into the mail.
The Letter of the Pocket Letter
The last spot open on the back of the sheet should be kept open for the letter. The letter should be to your pen pal and be about you. Things you might like, reasons you chose the "theme" for the Pocket Letter, about your family, etc. If you don't know the person I do not advise putting super personal information in it (just in case anyone is thinking that would be a good idea).
After your Pocket Letter is Complete
After you have it all done there are many options you can do with them. I was lovingly added to a group of Facebook that I highly recommend if you do join me on this Pocket Letter craze! Many people upload images of their Pocket Letter and exchange with people on there. You can also join the founder of Pocket Letters network to find a Pocket Letter Friend to trade with. Janette Lane was the brains behind this idea and has many people following her tracks! To get to her network just go to Pocket Letter Pals and become a member to find people to exchange with.
You can also send them to family and friends you already know. I am sending my first one to my niece because she means the world to me and I think she would really LOVE to get one in the mail.
Once you decide who to mail your Pocket Letter to you fold it into thirds (on the horizontal lines) and it should fit perfectly into a business size envelope. None of your stuff can fall out of your pockets with it folded like this and put in a business size envelope. But fitting it into a business envelope will depend on how much stuff you put in the pockets. It should only need one stamp when mailing (maybe two) depending on weight. You can also mail them in manila envelopes or bubble envelopes but this has a greater chance of your stuff falling out of it's special pockets and it does cost more to mail them this way.
Pocket Letter Ideas from my friend Jeanne
Ideas for Pocket Letters
Ideas for Pocket Letters can come from anything! Here are a few suggestions in case you may need them to get you started.
- Animals - you can use your favorite animal or ask someone about their favorite and make your Pocket Letter all about that and send it to them. You can use pets or wild animals, animals in the zoo or even insects and bugs.
- Characters - Star Wars is HUGE right now since the new movie comes out TODAY!!!!! (so excited!) You can do a Pocket Letter with Disney characters, Star Wars characters, Walking Dead characters, I've even seen some done with Plants Vs. Zombies. The options for these are endless and you can find true die hard fans of some of the amazing shows that can't wait to exchange Pocket Letters with you.
- Seasons - Winter is a big one for the Pocket Letters right now. Doing seasons is great because you can do so many different Pocket Letters all about the same thing but they would all be different.
- Things YOU Love - You can make a Pocket Letter of things that you really LOVE and put it out there for the world to see and someone is going to want to swap with you.
- Places - Doing a Pocket Letter on New York, California, South Dakota, France, Italy, Germany, China, Australia, India......anywhere in the world! I think these types of Pocket Letters would do great (my personal opinion).
- Colors - Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Brown, Black, White - These possibilities are endless and can be used over and over again.
My Pocket Letters
My goal is to make at least ONE Pocket Letter each month and write a hub detailing what I used, how I made my fronts, and the special gifts I put in the back. Each hub will be filled with pictures, thoughts and ideas. So if you are interested in joining me on this new pen pal craze let me know! I would love to swap Pocket Letters with you and learn new things along the way.