Decor & DIY

How to create happy mail – a snail mail guide

I asked the Queen of pretty snail mail here in South Africa, creative business consultant Nadia van der Mescht, to give us some tips!

Snail mail goes beyond a trend or time consuming hobby. It’s a way to give, connect and share with like minded creatives from all around the world – Something I call happy mail. I have two pen pals one locally and one in England. I really love putting together special parcels for them. It’s also great fun to surprise friends and family with a card in the post. It’s unexpected and makes for a welcome break from the boring mail we usually get!

If you are wondering – what snail mail is, might I encourage you to read these blog posts. it’s a beginner’s guide to understanding what it entails:


Inspiring tips for creating unique snail mail

  1. Organise
    My number 1one tip is to arrange your craft and paper supplies neatly. It allows you to see what you have at your disposal. Containers, plastic tubs or baskets work well, especially if you add a label to remind you what goes where. It also makes packing up easier. Clear flip files work well for corralling your sticker collection or paper ephemera. Additionally, I keep a list of the snail mail I’d like to send. That way, when I have a moment free, I know which letter or package to begin with.
  2. Magazines
    Don’t toss your old magazines! Pretty pages can be used for wrapping small gifts or for tracing envelopes from. It offers a unique touch that is inexpensive, plus you get to re-purpose the paper. I like to use craft punches to create confetti from magazine pages – cheap and cheerful for adding to your next snail mail envelope.
  3. Layer
    Most craft stores, including CNA, stock double-sided foam tape or squares which are perfect for adding a multi-dimensional look to your correspondence. It offers a tactile crafty look that showcases your unique thinking.
  4. Local is lekker
    Is that a cliche? not in my note(book)! We often drool over international stationary brands and the items that are not available to us, but we have some awesome local brands. It’s an easy, yet pretty way to show-off your home style flair to your international pen pals, plus you’ll be supporting local business women. Creativity with a purpose. Check out MillaeMae’s Sorbet Collection.

Whether you are posting a birthday card or sending a care package, snail mail is a wonderful way in which to share your creativity. Don’t try to do it perfectly, just do it with love. Enjoy it, get out of your comfort zone, stock, glue, go wild and most importantly – HAVE FUN!

Image credits: Derryn Schmidt photography

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Karen Kelly is the founder and editor of She is a creative at heart and passionate about all things DIY. Learn more about her here and connect with her on social media on the links below.

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