What pen pal supplies do you always have on hand for responding to snail mail letters and cards? Does your list agree with mine? Read on to find out!
Pen Pal Supplies #1: Writing Instruments
Pens, pens, and more pens
(My sister will wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. Pens for journal writing, pens for lists, pens for stationery…)
Pens are an essential part of the handwritten pen pal process. There are so many different types of pens that it can be hard to choose which ones are best for your needs. If you’re just starting out as a pen pal, here’s what you need to know:
- Good quality writing instruments will make it easier for both parties involved in a correspondence relationship to express themselves clearly in their letters or cards. Keep this in mind when shopping for new supplies!
- You should have at least one ballpoint pen (for everyday use) and one fountain pen (for special occasions). These two types work well together because they complement each other’s strengths: ballpoint pens offer fast drying times while fountain pens offer smooth writing experiences
Fountain pens can be great (my sister adores them), but I also find the fine-point Sharpie pens work very well for cards. If you are writing a letter on paper, make sure it’s thicker paper, otherwise, the Sharpie pen or fountain pen may bleed through.
Pencils and Erasers
Scared of the permanence of ink when writing a card or letter in case you make a mistake. Go old school with a pencil and keep an eraser nearby as your pen pal supplies.
Pencils and erasers may be essential for writing letters. While pens are great, pencils are more versatile because they can be used for more than just letters. You can use them to draw pictures or create art on the back of your envelope or package (if you’re feeling fancy).
Erasers are also important when it comes to writing letters, especially if you make mistakes (which we all do). A good eraser will help cover up any errors so they don’t distract from your overall message! Artist erasers seem to last longer and do not dry out as quickly as the old pink erasers we had in elementary school.
Paper: Special or Notebook?
Paper is another essential if you aren’t using a greeting card. And your preferred style of paper may vary with age. And whether the paper is lined or not…
The best paper for your pen pal project is not too thick, not too thin and it must be soft and easy to write on. It also must not bleed through the page.
The type of pen or pencil you use can make a difference in how well your letters come out as well; some people prefer pens while others prefer pencils or markers–and still others like all three! In general, avoid very glossy papers because they will show smudges from any kind of ink or marker very easily; likewise, avoid very matte papers because they tend not to hold up well over time due to being more prone to damage from erasers rubbing against them during editing!
Pen Pal Supplies #3: Envelope Seals and Stamps
In addition to the pen pal supplies that you’ll need in order to write your own letters, there are other essentials you should always have on hand:
Envelope seals are a great way to ensure your envelope stays sealed and another way to make the envelope uniquely yours, even with plain white envelopes. Seals can come in all forms from the fancy wax seals you can get in a craft store, to seasonal stickers, to colored tape.
(Sometimes, putting inspirational quote stickers inside the card is fun too!)
In case you are unaware since you buy a roll of Forever stamps at a time as I do, postage has gone up yet again. At the time of writing, first-class one-ounce postage is 63 cents.
If you can, I recommend buying several different style books of Forever first-class stamps, as then you’ll have some on hand before the next increase, which will cost you more money. And even better, you’ll have a variety to choose from to make your front envelope appearance even more inviting.
Pen Pal Letter Storage
Re-reading letters you’ve gotten over the years can be a nice reflection – especially if the loved one you received the letter from is no longer alive.
Some people store letters in filing cabinet drawers, others in the junk drawer, and some in a storage box in the attic. I like using memory boxes for letters. The letters and cards fit nicely inside and you can have one box per person.
Pen Pal Supplies #5: A Pen Pal Journal or Diary
Another essential pen pal supplies item is a journal or diary.
Use this journal or diary to track important events that have happened since you last wrote your loved one so you can catch them up in detail. (Just remember to follow the order in this guide so they feel heard too!)
If you don’t want to use a separate book, your day planner works just as well. Make sure to jot some notes down when events happen that you want to share. None of our memories are improving with all the information thrown at us daily – so it’s okay to jot a note to help remind yourself!
A journal, diary, or day planner is also a good location to keep track of the addresses of your pen pals.
Pen Pal Supplies Conclusion
While the “superior essentials” listed above are nice to have, if you’ve got the basics (a writing instrument, paper, an envelope), respond away! The point is to get the response to your pen pal in the mail and not wait on perfection!