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˜‰


129 thoughts on “The Ultimate List of Pen Pal Ideas

    1. Hehe, I like reading pen pal posts just because too. XD This year is a great one to ask some of your friends to be pen pals – since you don’t get to see them as much in real life, it’s so fun to send letters!


    1. Thank you! Yeah, that can be hard. I am pen pals with some blogger friends I know well, but this year is also perfect for asking friends or family you don’t get to see often to be your pen pals!


    2. There are a lot of Facebook pages that you can post a bit about yourself and people will contact you if they would like to be your pen pal!


  1. I originally started penpalling when I was about 11 but by my late teens, writing had lost its glamour round here in Europe. I’m sure it’s pretty much the same on your side of the world. It’s taking the world by storm – slowly – again and it’s so much fun. I’ve many penpals from Europe and a few from the States – it’s great to discuss completely different ways of life with different traditions etc. These ideas are just fab – thank you!


    1. YES! I’m so happy that letter-writing is coming “back in style” nowadays. I love hearing the different perspectives from different places too! Thanks so much. πŸ™‚


  2. Hi! I love this blog sooo much!!! With Covid around, I do DL and it sucks! Especially since my school district shut of Google hangouts/chat so there is no way to talk with friends, but I had an idea to become pen pals with my friends who I can’t talk online with anymore. Now I have 5 pen pals! This will help soooo much!!!


    1. Aww, that makes me super happy! Oh no, that would be really hard not to be able to meet or text with friends. I’m so glad you started pen palling because it’s such a fun way to communicate! Enjoy!


      1. My favorite idea on here is envelope art!!!! It was so fun to do! I decorated my friends envelope with polka dots all diff. colors and 3 diff. sizes! I made one an emoji face since it is her favorite thing ever!


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