Friday, January 15, 2016

Penpal Party

6:47 AM

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The practice of sending letters isn’t a thing of the past—here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to get started!

My interest in looking for penpals started when I was talking about love letters with my mom. She told me about one of her suitors who sent her a letter that was so well written and eloquent that she was half-smitten with him because of it, and she didn’t even know the guy. (Unfortunately, it wasn’t my dad. He likes to serenade her instead, but that’s another story!)

No form of social messaging, texting, or emailing could ever amount to somebody’s words scribbled on paper — because the thought that someone took the time and effort to write on a piece of paper, fold it carefully, and send it are simple things that make handwritten letters more romantic.
Sentimental or not, it just feels more sincere and intimate having something you hold in your hand, like unwrapping a present. Letters are a hundred times better than waiting for the three dots on Facebook chat to be replaced with a message because you can keep them and re-read them whenever you want .

That’s the magic of this whole penpal exchange.

Not sure where to start? Fear not, for here are a couple of steps that you can follow before sending out your first letter to a penpal!

Your penpal could be anyone, from your cousin who moved abroad, to the internet friend you haven’t met IRL, or your best friend who lives far away.

Choose an envelope, then design it in any way you want. Don’t forget to address it properly, and add the stamps (post offices usually carry stamps for you to purchase!) if you’re going to send it through snail mail.

Next, write a letter to your penpal! If you can’t think of topics to write about, here are a few starter ideas:

  • a list of your favorite movies
  • your current playlist
  • your current obsession (anything goes!)
  • 10 songs from your favorite artist/s
  • 20 random things about yourself
  • things you do when you’re bored
  • your favorite hobbies

Add in all of your fun extras (e.g. little post-it notes, bracelets, drawings/paintings, mini hair accessories, your favorite candy) then seal your envelope!

Here’s what mine looked like:

And here’s a sneak peak of my fun extras:

A bracelet I made with the name “Tyler” on it (for Tyler Oakley) tucked inside the packaging of a tea bag.

And here’s a mixed media piece I made, with the lyrics to Coldplay’s “Yellow”!

Step 4: Mail your letter! Go to the nearest post office to snail mail it (check here to see where your nearest post office is), or have a courier deliver it to make it faster. I had it delivered by my favorite courier, Fastrack, because they have the lowest price and the best service! But you could try Xend or LBC as well). 

Enjoy making penpal letters, and tag us with your photos on Instagram (@thethingonline) and Twitter (@thingonline) when you do!

Article and photos by Sofia
Sofia Ynez is a relatively sizable 14 year old who loves making art. She is an enthusiast of many things, and she could somehow identify as a professional procrastinator. You can find more of her quirkiness on Instagram (@sofiaynez), and you can visit her quaint space on the Internet at


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