We've got a special blog post today from our WashiGang team member, Bec (AKA @bec.writes). Did you ever have a penpal as a kid? What about as an adult? Bec has been collecting and writing to penpals for the past few years and she has some great tips on how to get started, including where to find penpals. It's such a beautiful way to connect with people, in keeping alive the art of letter writing, especially during times of isolation, lockdowns and travel restrictions. Letter writing is also a great way to use all of the fun pens, washi tapes and stickers!!! Read below for Bec's penpalling tips and tricks:
WHY DO I PENPAL?
You may think modern technology has caused a decline in more traditional forms of communication, but you’ll be surprised to learn that said modern technology is bring back the humble art of letter writing!
If you search penpals or penpalling on social media you will be inundated with decorated envelopes and crafty goodness. You may start asking yourself, “Am I good enough to have a penpal?” The answer: YES YOU ARE! You don’t need to have any prior skills to get started on your letter writing journey, you don’t have to decorate your envelopes or include gifts, just the ability to read and write will do, along with some very basic supplies: a pen, paper, envelopes and a postage stamp.
As you delve further into the penpal rabbit hole there may be some fun extras that you may like to use for your mail, include to penpals as a gift, or to decorate your envelopes with – this is called “mail art”. Some such items are:
- Letter Writing Sets
- Washi Tape
- Rubber Stamps/Clear Stamps
- Coloured ink
- Flavoured Tea
- Vintage Postage Stamps
- Wax Seals
SO WHY DO I ENJOY PENPALLING?
Penpalling, for me personally, was a way to make new friends and learn about other cultures. I’d just had my first child and was feeling very isolated, as I watched the postman come and go everyday I realised I got extra excited when he stopped at my house, even if it was a bill. After scrolling through Instagram one day, I came across a penpal account and have never looked back! I’ve met some of the loveliest, kindest and most generous people by writing letters, and I’m so honoured to have them in my life!
Some other reasons I love to penpal are:
- Creative outlet
- Discover new foods/music/books/film
- Share things you like (i.e. stationery)
- Talk about current history
- Support the mail service (my unspoken heroes!)
- Support small businesses
- I love getting mail
- Excuse to send gifts/surprises
- It creates calm after a busy day
- IT’S FUN!
SO HOW DO I GET STARTED?
- Head over onto social media and type in #penpalsearch, #penpalswanted or #findapenpal, there you will find dedicated posts to people searching for like minded people to exchange letters with (for an example click here).
- Comment on their post, or send a direct message (remember don’t include any address details until confirmation of penpalship).
- Decide who is going to write first.
- It’s that easy!
HOW DO I WRITE MY FIRST LETTER?
Introduce yourself. “Hi I’m Rebecca, I’m x years old, have a young family and a German Shepherd” etc. Include conversation about places you’ve visited, your favourite part about where you live, your favourite book or song…… the conversation will flow from there.
Also don’t forget to ask your penpal questions to get to know them more.
Here I am 2 and a bit years after I started with 16 penpals and a vintage postage stamp shop. I look forward to every single letter, birthday or Christmas card I receive. Penpalling for me was also a saviour after having my second child and going straight into lockdown due to covid-19. I couldn’t see any of my family or friends, but I was still getting mail from my penpals.
Follow me at @bec.writes or @becsvintagepost
Yama Life Letter Writing Set - Fox
Yama Life Washi Flake Stickers - Fox
Yoko Inoue x Classiky Grid Kraft Paper Tape - Red
Fude Touch Brush Sign Pen
Sakura Ballsign Gelly Roll Signature Black Gel Pen - Ultra Fine
Yay! Thank you for telling us all about PenPalling, Bec! We can't wait to get our letter writing started. If you think you'd like to try PenPalling, or you've been inspired to write to a friend or relative from Bec's Blog Post - we have lots of super cute and fun Letter Writing Sets in the shop! Here are a few of our favourites.
You can find all of our Letter Writing Sets in the shop - HERE!
Keep the conversation rolling!!! Do you have a special PenPal Story? Share it in the comments! Or maybe you're looking for a PenPal? Comment with a little about yourself and see if someone writes back!!! We love the idea of setting up PenPals!!!
***Safety note: Please always keep general internet safety in mind when connecting with new people online. We recommend never giving out any personal information, especially bank details, credit card info, or passwords etc. Enjoy meeting new friends and penpals, but also stay safe and stay alert. New friends should never ask for money, passwords, personal photos or personal details! If you're ever transferring money over the internet, always use a safe transaction method such as PayPal, and only use business transactions (not transfer to friends and family) to help keep your money transactions safe. Good luck and have fun!!!