The Ultimate List of Pen Pal Ideas

Hello, dears!

Today I am super excited to bring you the most requested post from my poll: a post of pen pal ideas! πŸ˜€ We’re going to look at gifts that you can send your pen pal in an envelope, fun things to include in your letters, envelope art inspiration, and more!

In this day and age (wow, I sound so old XD), a little handmade goes a long way. Emails are wonderful (and let’s admit, a lot faster), but you can’t beat the feeling of receiving a personalized package that a friend put time and effort into, just for you. I get so excited every single time I get a letter. β™₯

Any letter from a pen pal is a treasure, but I love to think of ways to make each thoughtful little package even more special. Hopefully you enjoy reading through these ideas and maybe you and your pen pal will be inspired to use some of these ideas in your next letter!

NOTE: This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase something using my link, the price won’t change for you, but I get a small commission for advertising and you get to support this blog for free! Thanks – I quite appreciate it! πŸ™‚

Gift Ideas

Sometimes you want to send you pen pal a gift – maybe for their birthday or for Christmas, or just for fun – but you don’t want to pay an extortionate amount for shipping. Does anyone else have this problem?! -_- XD Never fear! There are plenty of fun little gifts that you can simply tuck in beside your letter. Basically if it’s flat, light, and non-perishable, it’s an option, right? πŸ˜‰ Here’s a long list to get you started (linked to plenty of my favorite product suggestions!):

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  • tea or hot chocolate packets (this tea sampler is amazing!)
  • washi tape samples (wrap different kinds around a popsicle stick (see video below))
  • novelty postage stamps
  • bookmarks
  • stickers
  • origami money (look up tutorials on YouTube or Pinterest)
  • blank ATCs
  • little bags of glitter or confetti
  • bracelets or earrings
  • fun paper clips (like these)
  • ribbon
  • pretty beads or buttons
  • sheet music to your favorite songs
  • embroidered or applique badges/patches
  • small clay or felted charms and miniatures
  • crosswords, sudoku, or other puzzles
  • pressed flowers
  • stationery + fun post-it notes
  • gift cards
  • sticks of gum
  • flower seed packets
  • a letter opener

Some of these ideas are from this lovely video by makoccino on YouTube. Check it out for even more fun gifts to send!

Things to Swap

It’s super fun to swap things like art you made or quotes you love, not just for a special occasion, but with every letter! Here are a few things you can swap back and forth:

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from Emma, by Jane Austen
  • quotes & verses
  • ATCs
  • pen pal mandalas
  • poems
  • polaroid or photo prints
  • your favorite recipes
  • prayer requests

Things to Include in the Letter

I do different “traditions” with each of my pen pals – with some I do mini Q&As, with others, lots of doodles, and so many other things… there’s always something that makes each particular set of letters fun and unique.

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  • hide secret notes (in tiny letters on the envelope, letter itself, or add-in)
  • write part of your letter in a code they have to crack
  • add fun comics
  • illustrate the letter or doodle in the margins
  • add washi tape borders
  • have a “This or That” section
  • have a Q&A section
  • add challenges or dares they have to complete (random things like “leave a quarter in a gumball machine” or “eat your cereal with orange juice”)

Envelope Art

Now that you’ve put together the letter and maybe added some fun extras, you need some pretty wrapping paper for your package… aka, envelope art! Seeing the decorated envelope is one of my favorite things about receiving my pen pals’ letters. Their drawings are so creative and the envelopes are so pretty, I can hardly bear to tear them open! XD Not to mention the fact that envelope art is super fun to make yourself. Here are a few of the envelopes I’ve decorated for my pen pals recently.

(I apologize for the weird blocked out and blurred portions… I didn’t take a picture until I had already written the address. XD And I think I missed several envelopes but couldn’t find the pictures… *sigh* oh well. πŸ˜‰ )

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envelope 1
Photo credit: Aria
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More Ideas

  • Don’t know what to write? Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to go down rabbit trails when you answer them yourself. πŸ™‚
  • Add another special touch to your envelope with a personalized seal! I have sealing wax like this, and it’s super fun to pour the melted wax and press in a design.
  • Don’t like art? (THEN YOU’RE A STRANGE HUMAN. XD Juuuust kidding.) Ahem. You can still decorate your envelopes! Use pretty washi tape – stick on some stripes, plaid, or frame your addresses in patterns and colors.
  • Try writing your letter, or part of it, on something different: a piece of brown paper bag, black paper written with white gel pen, a fall leaf, the inside of a piece of folded origami, or a tiny square of paper.
  • Decorate the inside of the envelope too for a fun surprise when your pen pal opens it up.
  • Try out a new handwriting style for part of the letter.
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And there you have it – a compilation of some ideas to bring an even bigger smile to your pen pal’s face when they get your next letter. πŸ™‚ I hope you had as much fun reading this post as I did making it! Check out this post for more pen pal ideas, and this post for envelope art inspo. πŸ™‚

Which ideas were your favorite? Do you have a pen pal? What fun ideas and things do you do with them?

Also, before you go, I want to THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH for over 4,000 followers!! I am shocked and soooo excited that thanks to you, I gained one thousand followers in five months! I just can’t believe how incredibly amazing you guys are. πŸ™‚ β™₯ Thanks for reading (and commenting and liking) my posts, dears!


P. S. What do you guys think about my new featured image style? I liked my last one for the quick-and-easy-ness, but I think this looks a bit more professional. πŸ˜‰

127 thoughts on “The Ultimate List of Pen Pal Ideas

  1. I absolutely loved this post, Allison! πŸ˜€ It was so creative and well done – I really enjoyed reading it! Having pen pals is so much fun. All of your ideas were amazing and I just might steal a few of them for your letters. XD Also, your envelope art is SO PRETTY – I love it!!
    Ooh, I think your featured image looks great! It definitely looks very professional and I like it a lot. πŸ˜€

    -Clara ❀
    P.S: CONGRATULATIONS ON 4000 FOLLOWERS! That is so exciting and you deserve each and every one of them! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yayyyy, I’m so glad you liked it! And yes, I LOVE having pen pals! Ooh, really? Be my guest! XD Also THANK YOUUUU!
      And thank you again! I’m so happy you do. πŸ™‚
      P. S. Aww, thank you so much, dear! β™₯β™₯

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thanks! Ha ha, I know, right? XD I wish I had tips for finding a pen pal but… :/ I mean I guess you could always ask the other bloggers in the comments that don’t have a pen pal!


  2. CONGRATS ON 4,000 ALLISON! THIS IS SO LIT! Ahem… I am a lonely bean and have no pen pals *sob* I used to send letters to my cousins and aunts, but we stopped 😦 I did contact one blogger through email though, and I’m pretty happy with that! πŸ˜€


  3. Wow! Great ideas! I have 2 pen-pals and I am so excited to write them so letters now! I also have some sealing wax, except mine is red!


  4. Woah, these are awesome ideas! I am pen pals with some blogging friends, and I am at loss at what to give them! XD Thanks for the ideas!!!


  5. I used to have one who lived in Mexico, but we forgot to write to each other….. mainly them because we sent back a letter and I don’t think they ever replied. Was the one with the panda yours??? πŸ™‚


  6. You are seriously the pen pal queen!! It’s an amazing talent being able to not only keep up with all the letters you write but to also make them exciting and beautiful!!


  7. Love this post, Allison! I have a few pen pals but haven’t written to them in awhile.. this inspired me to write to them to thank you!

    Also CONGRATULATIONS on 4K followers! That is so exciting!


  8. Thank you so so much for making this post, Allison! I have quite a few pen-pals and lately I’ve been running out of ideas on what to send them! I will definitely be referring to this post a lot!


  9. Wonderful post, Allison! I loved all of these ideas and will definitely be trying them out on my pen pals!
    WOW! Four thousand followers in five months?!?! That’s amazing!! But you do have a wonderful blog, so it’s no surprise! πŸ™‚


  10. These are all such cute ideas!! I’ve always wanted a pen pal, but I don’t know how to get one πŸ˜‚. Again, these were SO CUTE!


  11. These are some wonderful ideas!! I shall have to try them sometime, if I get any pen pals. 😦 πŸ˜‰
    I really like your featured-image-style. Very nice. πŸ™‚


  12. This was a great post, filled with many amazing ideas! I do like your featured image, by the way. πŸ™‚ I love your envelope art, too! It’s so cool! I always want to do envelope art when I send letters, but I generally don’t have a whole lot of time and/or inspiration. :/ Also, I don’t think I’m that great at art like that, though that may not be true. I do have a couple of penpals, plus you as an email-pal. πŸ˜‰ How many penpals do you have?
    Also, speaking of snail mail, look out for a little envelope from me! I hope your still living at your old address….?


    1. Aww, thank you! And I’m really glad you liked my featured image! πŸ˜€ Thanks again! Ha ha, yeah, it does take some time. But it’s so fun, I don’t mind. πŸ˜‰
      Oh sure you’d be! Your deer drawing would be so pretty on an envelope. πŸ˜€ Hee hee, sounds like fun! I’m so happy to have you as an email-pal, dear. ❀ (Also I'm sorry I haven't been replying – I can't watch the videos here because of the limited data, so I'm waiting till we're back home to finish it. πŸ˜‰ ) And I have four pen pals! I think it's about a good amount as far as keeping up with everyone.
      Ooh, really? I'm SO excited to get it! Well right now we're mostly living at our new address, but we go back on the weekends. πŸ™‚ I'll be sure and send you the new address in my next email!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! Yes, I suppose it would look nice, but it would be hard to duplicate. πŸ˜‰
        Oh, it’s okay that you haven’t replied yet. I totally understand. Four penpals sounds like a nice amount–you can probably always be looking forward to a letter coming in the mail! πŸ™‚
        Okay, great! πŸ™‚


        1. Yeah, I can definitely understand that. πŸ˜‰ I don’t often like to draw the same thing in the same way twice.
          Oh good, I’m so glad it’s alright! Yep, it’s great when it works out that way! Sometimes I get overloaded and get three at once, though. XD But that’s exciting.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Aww, I love this list! πŸ™‚ I think it would be fun to have a pen pal, but I’m not sure if my parents would let me share my address with someone they don’t know… Did you find people to become pen pals with besides through blogging?


    1. I’m so glad! Aww yeah, I know what you mean. I’ve actually started being pen pals after someone has bought something from one of my shops or has otherwise already seen my address and I’ve seen theirs. But those have still all been through blogging… I’m not sure what to say there…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. (this is late-XD) I got the instax mini 9 for Christmas- is that the camera in the photo? mine is in pink, but it looks like the exact same model.


    1. Hee hee, NO PROBLEM! In the case of comments, definitely better late than never. πŸ˜‰
      Ooh neat! It’s actually my sister Megan’s camera, and she said it was the Instax Mini 8. πŸ™‚ They’re so cute!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Unlike social media, letters become keepsakes, and don’t just dissipate into the digital ether. My parents met in 1957 as pen pals so I have first hand knowledge. Happy letter writing everyone it’s the start of a wonderful journey.


  16. Awesome ideas!!! Haha, I’m a little late to commenting on this post! πŸ˜œπŸ˜‚ I have a few pen pals, and am really excited to try some of these ideas! Thanks for the inspiration!


  17. Great ideas! I collect plants, so I always send smaller specimens to my pen pals. Pressed plants are my favorite thing to send to people.


    1. I use Prismacolor colored pencils and… I don’t actually really use markers. Mainly colored pencils and watercolor or gouache paint. πŸ™‚ I hope that helps!


  18. Wow your letters sound so cool!!! I wish I had a pen-pal like you πŸ˜€ I have seven pen pals and I love sending letters like this with lots of fun little arts, crafts and things but I’ve never gotten one in return quite as fun as the ones I send out. Thanks for the ideas!


    1. Aww, thank you! ❀ Yeah… that can be a little frustrating sometimes. But it's fun to send goodies whether you get some back or not! Thanks for visiting. πŸ™‚


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