POCKET LETTER $1 IDEAS & TIPS

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I know that making pocket letters can be a pricey hobby, but it doesn't have to be if you think a little creatively and "out of the box"! I went to the Dollar Tree a while ago and found some cute things to make pocket letters on a budget. I'm sharing some pocket letter tips in this post and also in the video below. With a little imagination, it's easy to think of inexpensive ways to make creative pocket mail!

$1 Pocket Letter Tips

-Silk flower blooms: A whole bouquet won't fit in a pocket, but if you pluck off the blooms, you can fill your pocket letters with flowers that will last!

-Use a kids tutu: Kid tutus are colorful and frilly. You can use the material to make a wrapping for your pocket letter. (Check out Aideen's post on creative pocket letter wrapping ideas)

-Sticky notes that are pocket letter size: You can find a lot of sticky notes at the dollar store. I like to stamp mine with cute images in the corner to personalize them.

-Stickers for $1: The dollar store is probably the only place you'll find a large selection of stickers for cheap. You can use them to decorate your pocket mail or to send as goodies!

-Gift Wrap: Check the gift wrap section for cute paper to use as your pocket letter backgrounds. Especially if you're doing a certain theme like a birthday or wedding. Or if you find a print you like, say with popsicles, you can cut out the individual shapes, laminate them, and send them as die cuts for your pals! (Watch my video to see what I'm talking about...)

-Hair Accessories: Barrettes or hair clips can be sent "as is" to your pal, or you can make embellished paperclips with a little hot glue!

Themes 

-Beach/Hawaiian/Luau Theme Pocket Letter: Use some beach-themed napkins to fill a pocket. Also check the party aisle at your dollar store. There are so many things you can use there to fill your pockets!

-Graduate Theme Pocket Letter: Around graduation time there were a lot of grad goodies, like tassels that could be tucked into a pocket for a graduate.

-Wedding Theme Pocket Letter: My dollar store has a large selection of wedding or bridal shower party goods and favors. You are bound to find things there for a wedding theme pocket letter.

-Baby Shower Theme Pocket Letter: The same goes for baby showers. Check for little booties, or even send a bib that you can decorate with a simple permanent marker.

Pocket Letters for Kids

It's amazing seeing children get involved in this hobby!

-Send some glow in the dark shapes for a Glow in the Dark Pocket Letter!

-Send little costume bracelets, sheriff's badges, or jewelery tucked in the pockets so kids can play dress-up! You can even fold a kid's tutu to send in your pocket letter.

-Send barrettes or little hair ties for goodies!

-Plus candy!

Watch this video to see more of these budget friendly tips!

Excited to learn more? Sign up for the “First Class” Pocket Letters™ Intro Course with Founder, Janette Lane

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Pocket Letters™ Shop: http://www.pocketlettershop.com
Pocket Letters™ Newsletter & Updates: http://eepurl.com/bB9kwz
To Find Pals to swap with, join: http://www.pocketletterpals.com
Instagram: @janettelaneblog & @pocketletters
Email: janette@pocketletters.com
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/thejanettelane
FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

5 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL POCKET LETTER SWAP

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As owner of the Pocket Letter Pals™ Network and the Pocket Letter Pals™ Facebook group, I’ve had the opportunity to mediate a lot of failed swaps. Like. Heaps and heaps!  (I also want to take the opportunity to thank my Admins who also mediate and try to resolve these issues even moreso! Thank you!) It’s a fact, there are people who flake. They arrange swaps and then don’t follow through. It happens and I’m really sorry about it. I wish it didn’t happen, but it does.  Now I know it’s hard to believe, but the majority of the time, it’s not intentional. There are snail mail scam artists, but those make up a small percentage of failed swaps. People usually flake for one of the following reasons:

-Overwhelmed with the amount of swaps they’ve taken on.

-Lack of communication.

-Unexpected emergency.

-Lost their penpal’s contact information (usually because of 1).

-Lack of funds.

I can’t guarantee a 100% foolproof method for successful swaps, but I can share 5 HELPFUL TIPS for a smoother swapping experience!

1. GET CONTACT INFORMATION

I’ve run into many situations where one swap partner forgot to write down who they were swapping with and where they arranged the swap. It can get overwhelming especially if you’re swapping with multiple people at one time and reaching out across platforms. Some swap only on my network, others swap on Instagram… Regardless, WRITE IT DOWN. Get names and email address.  Better yet, get my Pocket Letters™ TrackerPrintable! It’ll help you organize all the details of your swap.

2. COMMUNICATE

It’s important to COMMUNICATE. COMMUNICATE. COMMUNICATE. You need to be willing to discuss details of your pocket mail swap so that everyone is on the same page. Here’s some questions to ask: Will this be a one-time swap? Will there be a deadline?  Will your letter have goodies? Will there be a theme? When will the “send-by” deadline be? Use the FREE POCKET LETTER COMMUNICATION GUIDE (click link to download) to make your swap go smoothly, and if there’s something you’re concerned about, like allergies,please mention it to your Pal. Once communication breaks down, it’s a good indicator of what’s to come—a bad swap. Also remember to be open and flexible to themes, styles, and ideas. There are some who have used the POCKET LETTER COMMUNICATION GUIDE as a “LET ME COMMUNICATE MY DEMANDS” GUIDE. Being communicative does't mean you have to be mean.  Be cool guys! Be cool!

3. CHECK YOUR PAL’S SWAP HISTORY

Sometimes it’s best to do a little research! I’m not talking about full on Facebook, social media-stalking. I’m talking about searching through profile and group history for swap confirmation!  If you’re on the Pocket Letter Pals™ network, go to your potential Pal’s page and look at their profile. Are there messages from past swap partners thanking them for their fulfilled swaps? Are there pictures of their creations (both incoming and outgoing letters)? The same goes for the Pocket Letter Pals™ Facebook group.  Search the group history by putting your partner’s name in the Search box. Are others posting that they’ve received their snail mail? Are they active group participants? Are they arranging too many swaps? (This can be a RED flag!) These searches can be so telling!

4. BE PATIENT IF THERE IS A SETBACK

I want to say that half of late swaps are due to delivery services. So much can go wrong with your letter in transit (insufficient postage,  s l o w  service, illegible handwritten address, and inclement weather) I’m serious. Sending something via mail can be risky business. I’ve had a few letters get mangled in sorting machines only to get the pieces returned to me in a sandwich bag. It happens. So just keep that in mind. Also remember that LIFE HAPPENS. People get sick. Sometimes they even forget about a deadline without any sort of malicious intent. Some people are naturally forgetful. Like ME!  If your partner communicates a setback (within reason), then just wait it out. Be patient. It will most likely work out!

5. GET TRACKING

This option does not work with international mail, but you can definitely get tracking information and confirmation for domestic deliveries. This helps for multiple reasons. Mainly, if someone reports a member for a failed swap, they can prove it by showing that a letter was sent and delivered. A lot of times the person reported will say that they never received anything. Tracking helps clear up any confusion quickly!
I know this may be hard to believe, but I’ve had my share of failed swap experiences. However, the good experiences BY FAR outweigh the bad ones! Education is the most powerful weaponwhich you can use to change the world. (5)

I hope these tips were helpful! You can always share your tips too! And also please don’t forget to check out my Pocket Letters™ Tracker! It helps! Plus when you make your purchase, the file is yours to keep and print (as many copies as you need)!

Thanks for reading Pals! Until next time!

Excited to learn more? Sign up for the “First Class” Pocket Letters™ Intro Course with Founder, Janette Lane

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Pocket Letters™ Shop: http://www.pocketlettershop.com
Pocket Letters™ Newsletter & Updates: http://eepurl.com/bB9kwz
To Find Pals to swap with, join: http://www.pocketletterpals.com
Instagram: @janettelaneblog & @pocketletters
Email: janette@pocketletters.com
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/thejanettelane

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

What To Write in Your Pocket Letter

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I love reading the letter portion of my pocket mail (Click here to read about what to include in a typical Pocket Letter). It gives me insight about the heart behind the art! (Hey! That rhymed!) Personally, I want to know a little more about the creative mind that sent me a piece of his or her work. It makes it more personal, more real.  A lot of people have asked me about how to write the letter that goes in the Pocket Letter. The Pocket Letter letter. (Say that 10x fast!) I think this proves challenging especially when you're doing a one-time exchange with someone. What is it that you want to say? Do you want to keep it short and simple? Or do you want to be detailed?

I’ve included some tips as well as an example right below my suggestion.  Keep this as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, but try to hit each of the following suggested points. Once you get better at this, you can leave out or add more “talking points”. And remember, all these are just suggestions. If you don't want to send a letter, make sure you tell your pal during your email exchanges, just so they know what to expect. Some people value the letter highly... others don't. That's completely fine, but always communicate with your pal!

-Greeting 

-Who you are and where you live. (Again you can be as detailed as you’d like) 

-What you do for a living. 

-What you do for fun. 

-How you found out about Pocket Letters & what you like about them. 

-Thank you for exchanging. 

-Information about where to find you in case they want to keep in touch via social media. 

-Closing. 

You can elaborate on each point in one sentence or one paragraph. It’s up to you! The following is an example of the above points in action:

Hello there! 

My name is Janette and I live in sunny California! Southern CA to be exact and pretty close to Disneyland. I’m a craft designer and blogger. Aside from arts and crafts, I enjoy traveling, reading, thrifting, and making YouTube videos. I also love going out to eat. I found out about Pocket Letters earlier this year when I stumbled across Janette Lane’s post on Instagram and Youtube. I’ve been having fun getting to know people from all around the world. Thank you so much for agreeing to do a one-time swap with me. I hope that we can at least keep in touch via social media. Or if you’d like to continue swapping, let me know. You can find me on YouTube (The Janette Lane) and Instagram. (@janettelaneblog

Take care and I hope you enjoy my Pocket Letter creation. 

Sincerely, 

Janette 

I hope this  has helped you in some way with the letter portion of the Pocket Letter. Thanks for reading!
 

Excited to learn more? Sign up for the “First Class” Pocket Letters™ Intro Course with Founder, Janette Lane

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Pocket Letters™ Shop: http://www.pocketlettershop.com
Pocket Letters™ Newsletter & Updates: http://eepurl.com/bB9kwz
To Find Pals to swap with, join: http://www.pocketletterpals.com
Instagram: @janettelaneblog & @pocketletters
Email: janette@pocketletters.com
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/thejanettelane

Janette Lane’s Pocket Letter Guide

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Hello friends! Today I'm sharing my Pocket Letter Guide that gives an explanation about what to include in your pocket mail. This guide is very similar to the one I posted on my Youtube video, "Basic Pocket Letter Tutorial," but it provides more details. I'm going to "walk" you through the different components of one layout and I've included the file above so you can download it.

You can also download my FREE CHECKLIST for everything you need to start!

Basically this creative mailing method is a typical penpal letter as a WHOLE. It consists of a letter, a mail tag (optional), and other paper tidbits and goodies. Each part of the penpal letter is put in a different pocket. Do you have to include each component? Nope! Just make sure you include a letter to your Pocket Letter Pal! That's pretty much the only "rule". (If you don't want to include a letter, then let your Pal know ahead of time!)

LETTER
The letter doesn't have to be long. Introduce yourself and let your Pocket Letter Pal know more about you. Tell them where you're from, what you do for a living, etc. You can write it on a normal sized piece of paper, fold it up, and tuck it in one of the pockets.

EPHEMERA
This is a quick way to spruce up your letter. You can include die cuts, cute paper bits, vellum paper, etc.

STICKERS
You can tuck a few stickers in this pocket. No sweat, right?

MAIL TAG
Mail tags are popular in the penpal community. What's a mail tag? It's a specific set of questions that are asked so your Pocket Letter Pal can answer in his or her reply to you. Make the questions on the shorter side, and only as a few. Some questions I tend to ask are:

-What are your TOP 5 Favorite movies?
-Best book you read last year?
- Chocolate or Vanilla?

These questions can be as creative as you'd like. If you're only doing a one-time swap, then these aren't practical since you'll only be exchanging once. But it is a good idea if you are planning on swapping Pocket Letters indefinitely.

POCKET LETTER EXPLANATION
The "Pocket Letter Explanation" card gives a brief overview of Pocket Letters and how Pocket Letters work. You can send this in one of your pockets for your penpals who don't know what Pocket Letters or Pocket Letter Pals are. You can download and print one I've designed myself. It's available for free along with some custom-sized quotes. Click here: Free Pocket Letter Pals Download.

ABOUT ME
I'm including an "ABOUT ME" section in each letter I create. I'm writing down little short tidbits of things I like or dislike, hobbies, etc. This is what I include in mine:

Name
Online usernames
Things I Love
List of Hobbies

Here's an example:

Hello! My name is Janette and I blog at Janette Lane Blog. I'm married to my wonderful husband, Lovey. We live in sunny CA where we lead a happy life, by the grace of God. Aside from my regular 9-5, I enjoy blogging, making snailmail, papercrafting, reading, and going on adventures with my husband. You can find me online on FB as Janette Lane or on my Instagram as @janettelaneblog. Hope we can continue connecting there!

Or you can also do bullet points!

QUOTE
I think quotes are good to include. Just think how fun it'll be (once you've swapped a lot of letters) to flip through your collection! Two quotes are available on the FREE Pocket Letter Printable.

Check out the Pocket Letters™ shop for some affordable printables!

MISC
You can include pretty much anything you can think of in this pocket. I wrote a post that lists items you can "pocket". Click here: Pocket Letter Ideas . The list is not exhaustive, but you can find even more inspiration for what to put in your Pocket Letters on this video tutorial:


TEA
Tea packets are the perfect size for this snail mail project! You don't have to include it, but you can if you want.. I love tea, so I enjoy getting them!

 

Remember, your Pocket Letter doesn't have to be EXACTLY like this.. This is just a GUIDE. Be creative and have tons of fun!

To find Pocket Letter Pals in your area or around the world and to begin swapping Pocket Letters™, please sign up for an account at www.pocketletterpals.com. You can even sign up with your Facebook Login Info. Thank you!

 

Excited to learn more? Sign up for the "First Class" Pocket Letters™ Intro Course with Founder, Janette Lane

 

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Pocket Letters™ Shop: http://www.pocketlettershop.com
Pocket Letters™ Newsletter & Updates: http://eepurl.com/bB9kwz
To Find Pals to swap with, join: http://www.pocketletterpals.com
Instagram: @janettelaneblog & @pocketletters
Email: janette@pocketletters.com
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/thejanettelane

What is Pocket Mail?

I created Pocket Letters™ (or pocket mail) as a new way to send letters to your new or existing penpals. Basically, you fill all the pockets of a Pocket Letter™ insert or a 9 Pocket Trading Card Protector  and send the whole page to someone who wants to swap with you. This can be a one-time exchange or you can keep exchanging these types of letters indefinitely. You fill each pocket with anything you like (stickers, tea bags, a note, washi tape samples, pictures, etc.) A short note or letter is included and tucked into one of the pockets. Then the entire layout is folded up and sent in a standard 10 size envelope. It's the perfect way to send and collect letters from other "Pocket Letter Pals" (ie people who are sending mail in this format) around the world and a convenient way to store them. They fit perfectly in a binder!

Watch my informational video for an overview and explanation of this new style of sending snail mail and the story behind how I created Pocket Letters™ and Pocket Letter Pals™. Disclaimer: I was so very nervous in this first video... Just be forewarned! 🙂


HOW DO I GET STARTED?
First find a Pocket Letter Pal on my Pocket Letter Pals™ network. You can sign up with your Facebook to login. Once you've signed up you can create a profile, join groups, and connect with others who want to swap pocket mail. When you find someone to swap with, then work out the details about who will write first, deadlines, general info, preferences, etc. After you've arranged your swaps, then purchase your supplies and start filling your pockets with goodness!

Here is a basic video about how to make your own Pocket Letters™. It includes tips, tricks, and inspiration!

 

Still confused? Or have more questions? Click here to read Pocket Letter FAQs.

This snail mail revolution I've kicked off is TRULY EXCITING and I'm looking forward to seeing everything you create. Please share your creations with me by tagging me in your posts on any social media shares. I'd LOVE to see what you come up with. Ultimately, just think of pocket mail as a collection of "scrapbooked" letters made with love and being sent and exchanged around the world.

Thanks for reading!

Excited to learn more? Sign up for the "First Class" Pocket Letters™ Intro Course with Founder, Janette Lane

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Pocket Letters™ Shop: http://www.pocketlettershop.com
Pocket Letters™ Newsletter & Updates: http://eepurl.com/bB9kwz
To Find Pals to swap with, join: http://www.pocketletterpals.com
Instagram: @janettelaneblog & @pocketletters
Email: janette@pocketletters.com
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/thejanettelane

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.