Museum Craft Corner: Mail Art

May 31, 2013


In my last post I shared my love for the Smithsonian National Postal Museum with you. I really wish I lived closer (though I think that about many museums!)and could attend some of the great events and activities that they offer, but I just have to satisfy myself with watching from afar. One of my favourite events so far was their Mail Art Workshop, which inspired people to return to the art of letter writing, which is dying out a bit in this day’s digital age. They have an album on Facebook where you can see some of the beautiful letter and postcard collages that people came up with. Although I do still send out the occasional hand written missive, I usually don’t go to town on the art side of things and this inspired me to put some more effort in to it. Combined with a little origami trick I learned a long time ago, to turn your letter in to an all-in-one envelope, I thought it would make a nice feature for Museum Craft Corner.


All you need is:

  • a sheet of A4 paper
  • some pens and stickers, or whatever else you have at hand, to decorate your letter
  • a large-ish sticker or piece of sticky tape to seal the envelope
  • a stamp to mail it off

First of all, you need to write your letter, of course. We’re aiming for just one side of A4, so it doesn’t have to be a novel.I decided to send my sister a recipe. Then you can go to town with the decorating. Add some stickers, draw some doodles or pictures. If you have any glitter to hand (I didn’t) you could even glue some of that on. Once you are finished writing and decorating, you are ready to fold (I’ve pre-folded mine, so you can see the lines I will be folding along).


Start by laying your sheet of paper sideways in front of you. Fold it in half left to right and then unfold again, so that you have a straight line down the middle. This is for orientation.

Take the bottom left corner and fold it up to the middle line to fold a triangle, then do the same with the top right corner. Your sheet of paper should now look like  mine above.


Now take the bottom edge and fold it up to meet the edge of the triangle you just created, as shown above (you can see the line to fold along in the previous photograph). Then do the same with the top edge.


Okay, here comes the only slightly tricky bit, but the photo above should help. Take the bottom right corner, fold it up along your central orientation line again, and tuck it in to the little pocket created in the previous step, as indicated by the arrow. Then do the same with the top left corner.


And voila, you have an all in one letter and envelope! Technically the envelope should stay closed by itself, especially if creased all your folds well, but I like to add a little sticker in to the middle to hold it shut for extra security. To finish, you can decorate the outside of your letter too, if you want.


Now just stick on a stamp, add the address, and off you go to the nearest letterbox! And don’t forget to check out the National Postal Museum the next time you’re in Washington, D.C. ;)


6 Responses to “Museum Craft Corner: Mail Art”

  1. Christy@SweetandSavoring Says:

    What a cool idea! I love the idea of receiving mail art but find I’m not all that crafty myself- I’ll do the writing part, though. Nice post :)


  2. andreea Says:

    Hi Jenni. I met you at the hive. Great blog Jenni. I featured you in my review of the Hive. Feel free to take a look.


  3. Giova Brusa Says:

    It sounds to me like the perfect event. Lately I do write a lot about snail mail, and crafts for special envelopes, but I’ve been an avid letter writer ever since I was little. Recently in Budapest I visited the Posta Museum, and I think that will last me until I get the chance to go to Washington ;)



  1. Love is in the Air | Museum Diary - February 13, 2015

    […] your hand at a spot of mail art and write your loved one a beautifully decorated letter? It may be too late to post it, but you can […]

Leave a Reply