Fun & Creative Pen Pal Ideas

Hello, dears!

My last pen pal post, “The Ultimate List of Pen Pal Ideas,” was super popular, so here I am with more ideas! Apparently that list wasn’t ultimate after all. πŸ˜›

Today I’m going to give you suggestions for how to take your letters from a one-page weather report to the highlight of your pen pal’s day. πŸ™‚ We’ll go through tips for improving your letters and envelopes, as well as a big list of fun extras to send and creative activities to do with your pen pal. Excited? I am! πŸ˜€

Let’s get started.

featured image 59

How to Improve Your Letters

Do you ever have trouble coming up with things to say in your letters? XD If so, hopefully these three tips will help. (That sounded like one of those annoying ads: “3 Weird Foods to Help You Lose Weight!” or something. XD Don’t you hate those? ANYWAY.)

  1. Don’t be afraid to ramble.Β In other words, what I just did. XD I left the “weird ad” conversation in as an example of how rabbit trails can lead to very interesting places. After sharing a story or bit of information, end with a question: “What do YOU think?” “Has this ever happened to you?” Or perhaps “What’s the weirdest ad or commercial you’ve seen?”Β pen pal 1
  2. Keep a question book.Β As I just mentioned, questions are super helpful for lengthening letters. Other than interspersing them in your writing, you can just ask straight-out about all sorts of things – basic facts, favorite things, beliefs and opinions… I’ve found it helpful to set aside a notebook for writing down interesting questions I’ve been asked or queries I’ve thought of for others. pen pal 2
  3. Buy a pen pal kit.Β If you’re low on inspiration in general, consider buying a pen pal kit, like the super fun ones my sister sells here. Megan’s kits not only come with a bunch of fun things for you and your pen pal to use, but also inspiration lists and creative ideas for using the supplies in the kits. Be sure to check them out! {pc: Megan}

Swaps & Activities for Pen Pals

One of my favorite parts of having pen pals is all the fun things you can include in an envelope besides letters! Here are some meaningful and fun activities to do and things to swap with your pen pal.

  1. Swap book lists and discuss what you’ve read.Β If you can’t start a real book club, have a mini one with your pen pal! Choose a list of books to read, then talk about what you read in the next letter. This is a GREAT way to make your letters longer, because who doesn’t love to ramble about books? Everything in this picture except the background is from my pen pal Aria, who posted about the book swap in more detail here.pen pal 3
  2. Swap writing prompts and use them.Β Print or cut out a prompt photo, or simply write a prompt on an index card or in your letter. Challenge your pen pal to write a short story with the prompt(s) you picked and add it to the next letter for you to read! pen pal 5
  3. Send a puzzle a few pieces at a time.Β “I’d get it one piece at a time, and it wouldn’t cost me a dime…” (Anyone recognize those lyrics? XD) Ahem. Send your pen pal a whole puzzle at no additional shipping cost by sending them just a few pieces per letter. It would take FOREVER, but how fun would that be?! πŸ˜› pen pal 8
  4. Memorize something together. Simply include a few verses in each letter for your pen pal to memorize before the next letter comes. If you don’t send letters often, consider sending postcards with verses instead. Memorizing this way is great because… 1) Writing it down helps get it in your head. 2) It’s easier to visualize the words with pretty lettering hanging nearby. 3) Aiming to memorize the verses by the next letter breaks your larger goal into manageable bites and provides motivation. 4) It’s more fun to memorize with a friend! (These cards are from Aria.)pen pal 4
  5. Color a coloring page together. Send one page back and forth and each paint or color in a little more each time until it’s finished. It’s fun and easy, with a beautiful result. pen pal 6

Fun Goodies to Send

I made a huge list of things to send your pen pals in the last post, but here’s another one! XD TIP: If you really want to make everything aesthetic, use one color scheme throughout.Β 

pen pal 7
Some of these beautiful goodies are from Clara and Aria.
  • newspaper clippings from your local newspaper
  • face masks
  • scrapbook paper
  • unusual or foreign coins (or a quarter with their state on it)
  • a watercolor palette (with dried paint from tubes, watercolor pencils,Β  or watercolor crayons)
  • fabric scraps
  • patterns (sewing, embroidery, cross-stitch, crochet, etc.)
  • business cards
  • feathers (make sure they’re clean πŸ˜‰ )
  • anΒ aesthetic collage (either their aesthetic or yours)
  • playlists, lyrics, or artist suggestions
  • pamphlets from local business or visitor’s centers
  • a map of your city/state/province/etc. marked with your favorite places
  • a hand-drawn map of your property, house, bedroom, etc.
  • paint chips or paint cards in pretty colors
  • pictures cut from magazines, calendars, etc.
  • small works of art
  • printables
  • handlettered verses or quotes
  • jokes or riddles
  • greeting cards (you can write the first part of your letter in these and add additional sheets of stationery as needed)

Envelope Art Inspiration

It’s hard not to smile when you see a letter for you in the mail… and it’s even harder when the envelope is beautifully decorated! Here are a few examples of mail art I made. The latter designs are for sale on my Etsy shopΒ if you’re not into art but still want to send pretty envelopes. πŸ˜‰

envelope art (7)
Change the color of the leaves (or draw bare trees with icy blue paint splatters) depending on the season.Β 
envelope art (4)
Using washi or masking tape to create a border adds a professional touch. πŸ™‚
envelope art (5)
Heh heh, my sister and her friend wanted me to make some envelope art for their letter to the actor who played Legolas. XD
envelope art (10)
When painting landscapes on an envelope, it helps to make plenty of sky so you have room for the address without ruining the rest of the scene.
envelope art (11)
This was the first thing I made with my Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils. πŸ™‚ Writing the address in a corresponding color ties the art together well.
{Buy this set here.} A watercolored wreath around the address is a simple but lovely way to brighten your envelopes.
{Buy the bookish envelope set here.} I love the fresh, airy look of this envelope art! Write book titles on the spines for a special touch (especially if you’re swapping book lists! XD).
{Buy the bookish envelope set here.}Β I love when the address space is actually part of the art, like the window in this cozy library.
{Buy the bookish envelope set here.}Β If your pen pal likes to curl up with a hot drink and a good book, this kind of envelope art is perfect for them!
bunny envelope etsy 2
{Buy the bunny envelope set here.}Β Draw your pen pal’s favorite animal in different ways all over the envelope!
bunny envelope etsy 3
{Buy the bunny envelope set here.}Β GAHHH THEY’RE SO SQUISHY. XD
bunny envelope etsy 4
{Buy the bunny envelope set here.}Β I like highlighting a part of the main design on the back of the envelope, like I did with the flower crown.


Phew, that was a LOT of ideas! I hope you guys gathered some inspiration for how to make pen-paling even more fun. πŸ™‚ If you enjoyed this post, feel free to pin the image below for future reference.

pinterest pen pal

Which of these ideas are you most excited to try? Which piece of envelope art was your favorite? Do you have any tips for pen-paling?

Thanks so much for reading, dears, and please have a lovely day!



85 thoughts on “Fun & Creative Pen Pal Ideas

  1. YAY!! I was so excited when I saw that you posted another pen pal post!! I really enjoy these posts! I always have an image of what I want something to look like in my head and then I put it on paper and it looks anything from good. XD XD Great post!

    -Laura ❀ πŸ˜‰


  2. Ahh, you’re gonna make me start penpaling again XD I love all these ideas! And I’m waiting til a friend’s birthday so I can buy something from your and Megan’s shops! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hey, Allison! woah, this was such an inspiring post! I actually sent out a pen-pal letter today. πŸ™‚
    these are such good ideas, Allison! I​ really enjoyed reading all of these– super clever ways to amp up letters. I will definitely be using them in my next letter. thanks for sharing, dear! πŸ’“


  4. Allison, your envelopes are adorable! Quick q about the watercolor wreaths: do you individually hand-paint them onto the envelopes, or do you digitize them and make them into stickers? The wreaths look identical, and it seems like it would be hard to hand-paint them on the envelopes. πŸ˜€

    Lilian |


    1. Thank you so much! Oh, good question. For the envelopes I sell, I handpaint the original designs, then scan them and send them to a company called Vistaprint which prints the paintings onto envelopes. I don’t paint on the individual envelopes because yeah, for one thing it would be impossible to make them the same, and secondly, it would make the envelope really wrinkled. :/
      Thanks for asking! I hope that answered your question. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh wow cool! So I guess Vistaprint makes like a sticker that you can put on the envelopes? That’s super unique. πŸ˜€ Thanks for answering my question, Allison! ❀


  5. Allison, these are such great ideas! πŸ˜€ You’re such an amazing artist. Having a penpal must be fun! I should get one, although I am no good at art. XD Thanks for sharing! This was so fun to read! πŸ˜€ #aesthetic


  6. Oh my goodness I love all of these so much!!! Now I have some even more great ideas to include in my letters to you. πŸ˜‰ BTW I got your letter last week so hopefully I can work on a reply soon! THANK YOU for all the cute washi tape and coloring pages and the sticky notes and everything!! XD ❀
    I LOVE all of your gorgeous envelopes too! I'm totally adding them to my Etsy wishlist right now! Though, if I ever bought them, you're my only pen pal, so if I used them I'd just be sending them back to you?? Which would be kind of pointless since YOU made them?? XD XD XD XD XD


    1. Ahhhh thank you! Hee hee, well YAY! XD I’m so glad you liked my letter. πŸ™‚
      Really? Yay, thanks! Ha ha, well that’s true… πŸ˜› But I suppose you could also use them to hold cards for others, like thank-you cards or money for a gift? But HEH, good point. XD


  7. You’ve just inspired me! My friends live far away from me now but your ideas are great for how we can still do things together! I also thought of starting a story and writing a few lines at a time or something! Thank you so much x


    1. Aww, that comment made me smile. I’m so glad you’re enjoying your envelopes and thank you for the sweet shout-out! Your shop is beautiful too. πŸ™‚ And YES, you got it! We used to listen to Johnny Cash and the Statler Brothers a lot when I was younger. XD

      Liked by 1 person

  8. All of these envelopes are gorgeous! And I love all the ideas. Never sending a boring envelope or letter again hehe xD


  9. OH MY GOODNESSSSSSSSS……. πŸ™‚ I was just telling a friend where I get my envelope art inspiration, and here you come with another fabulous post!!! YAY!

    You have such a great eye for colors, designing, and proportions! I love it!


  10. EVERYTHING IN THIS POST WAS SO PRETTY and it was so inspiring. THANK YOU <333 I love penpaling but never really got to sending my friends extra stuff but I'd love to now (that I'm older and have the capability and money haha). so you gave me great ideas! thank you again for posting this it is so helpful and cool!!!

    xx lisa

    Liked by 1 person

  11. EEEEEP, THIS WAS SUCH A GOOD POST! It was all super-thought out and I can tell you put some effort in it. πŸ˜‰ All the pictures and designs and everything (heh, quite a few of them were mine, whaddya know? XD) were lovely! πŸ‘ I LOVED IT, MY DEAR!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh yay! I loved it when you did this (similar) post last time! Thank you for the fun tips! OOHH! YOUR BUNNY ENVELOPES!!! Oh, dear me, I believe i’m melting from the cuteness!
    Great ideas, Allison!
    Happy Saturday!


    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have quite a few pen-pals and what we do is we go back and forth asking and answering each others questions. We also write about other things but it is hard to figure out questions to ask so can you please make a list of questions to ask a pen-pal? I would love it if you did.


    1. Good question! I would start by introducing yourself, telling a few facts about you such as what your hobbies are, what you’re up to right now, etc., and then asking some questions for your pen pal to answer! Don’t worry too much about it, though – there’s not a certain formula you have to follow. Just start writing and enjoy! Hope that helps. πŸ™‚


  14. I have to laugh. I have been decorating envelopes for years. I am 82 and get a lot of joy from drawing etc. Now the envelopes are the “in thing”. On Amazon you can find butterflies that wind up and take off when the person opens the card. So fun.
    I enjoy your envelopes and ideas. Thanks


    1. Oh my goodness, how wonderful! I loved your comment, Eugenia, and think it’s so neat that you decorate envelopes too. Maybe you’re the one that started the trend in the first place. πŸ™‚ Those butterflies sound so fun indeed! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading!


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