Friday, November 13, 2015

Pocket Letter Tutorial and Giveaway

So thanks to the wonderful Andi (@andiABCs) at Andi's ABCS, I have attempted my first ever pocket letter and I've fallen in love! Andi started up a project for bloggers to get together and send some pocket letter love to each other. I absolutely love making cards and sometimes even doing scrapbook pages but had yet to attempt a pocket letter. So when I saw the sign-ups for this project I just knew that I had to be a part of it. One of the requirements for this project, is that at least 2 of the pockets need to be book related. This can really equate to anything, a quote, a picture of the book cover, a book related drawing, etc. Anything so long as 2 of the pockets are related to books.

I got paired with the awesome Stefani (@StefaniSloma)and began trying to think of different ways that I could go about this pocket letter. I went on pintrest and pinned as much as I could find for different ways to design the pockets as well as different goodies to include in it. And slowly, I began working on my first ever pocket letter. I knew that this first one was not going to be the one I would send out to Stefani, but rather one for me to start with and get an idea of how I might work with these nine small pockets.

Once I was finished, I asked around on Twitter to see if anyone would be interested in this tutorial and was so happy to see that quite a few people would love to see me post my pocket letter tutorial. So here I am with pictures and all ready to describe my process and some things that might help you with your own pocket letter!

  At the bottom of this post, you can find out how you can enter to win this pocket letter!

To start things off, I figured out which papers I wanted to use for the background of each pocket. I wanted to make sure that each pocket had a different designer paper as the background and that each paper still worked together as a whole. Since I do a lot of card making, I have a bunch of different designer papers laying around so it was pretty easy for me to find ones that would go together. I get a lot of my papers from Michael's or from Stamping Up, the papers in this pocket letter are from Stamping Up.

 Each piece of designer paper was cut down to 2.5 inches wide x 3.5 inches long and then placed on top of the section I was planning to use them. I did take some time and rearrange the papers to make sure that one side wasn't heavy in a certain color and others completely lacking in it. I also tried to make sure that papers that were heavy in a certain color weren't right next to each other.

 After I found a placement I liked for each paper, I then began placing some of the items I knew I wanted to include in this pocket letter. As you can see, on the top middle section and the bottom left hand section, I included a bracket. At this time, I knew that these were the two sections I was planning to write a quote on. I also already had the middle left hand pocket planned out for some embellishments that went along with the paper I decided to use and I already had some corner pieces on the middle right hand pocket in mind to possibly hold down my letter component.

 Now something that you might not be able to notice in this picture, is that the middle section of this pocket letter is already completed. What looks like just a simple piece of designer paper, is actually a small pocket sized notebook! I found the idea on pintrest and thought that it was an amazing idea. At the moment, I can't remember the persons name, however I do recall that they had found the idea from someone else. So either way, a huge shout out to the amazing person who came up with this idea.

 So what I did for this small notebook, is instead of cutting out this piece of paper in the 2.5 x 3.5 dimensions, I actually cut it at 5 inches wide x 3.5 inches long. That way, when it is folded in half, it would be the same size as all of the other pieces of paper. The paper inside is slightly smaller in size and was instead cut at 4.75 inches wide x 3.25 inches long. For the inside paper, I just used one of my old notebooks and cut the paper out of that. This allowed me to still have lined paper for the small notebook. However, you could easily use regular printer paper or even graphing paper if you wish.

Then, you just fold the cut out notebook paper in half as well as the cover paper. I did these two papers separately so I could make sure that the notebook paper would be centered and that they wouldn't end up getting folded in an odd way. Then you place your folded notebook paper into the cover paper. From here, you want to open the notebook up so that you can staple through to the middle of the notebook. Using a stapler, staple on the fold. Make sure that you have the designer paper face up when you staple so the clasps will be in the middle of the book.

For this next section, I decided to do a section pocket filled with some embellishments. To go with the theme of flowers and birds, I decided to use one of my new stamp sets and stamped out some butterflies with ink to match the colors in the designer paper. Again the ink pads used were from Stamping Up, allowing me to match the colors of their designer paper. The stamp set I used, also came with some die cuts so I was able to easily get the butterfly cutouts without any hassle. The butterflies were cut out by using a sizzix machine. Here is a picture of the stamp set I used:

As you can see, between this picture and the last one, I completed a few more steps and also added in a few more items to the pockets I had already established.

To start with, I added in a sample of some different post-it note flags that I found in the Target dollar section. Seriously that section is absolutely amazing when it comes to stuff like this. If you have not already dug around in that section now would be a good time to do so. I have found glitter, post-it notes and flags, pens and pencils, ribbon, string, and other embellishments that work wonders for projects like this.

Next, I added in a few more embellishments in the two pockets. In the pocket with the butterflies, I added in some samples of the "bling on a roll". I had plain silver ones as well as some fun colored flowers that I thought fit the theme of this pocket letter rather well and decided to add them both to spice up the pocket a bit more. I also added in a few more of the paper cut outs that came with the designer paper to the first embellishment pocket.

Next up, I decided to add in my first quote! At first, I wasn't sure which direction that I wanted to take the quotes for this pocket letter. There were a few different ways that I was thinking, including going with the theme of birds or flowers. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do some fun bookish quotes and while I could find bookish quotes on birds and flowers, they just weren't what I was looking for. Then I decided to go with the theme of friendship. And then I found a quote by one of my favorite authors, Sarah Dessen, and I knew that was it.

So the quote I went with for this first section was: Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend. This quote is taken from Someone Like You.

Then came my second quote which I found at the same time as the first one. This one is also from a book that I greatly enjoyed (even though I have yet to finish the series) Matched by Ally Condie! The quote is: Growing apart doesn't change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I'm glad for that.

Now I was down to just three sections left, one of which I already had planned for my letter.

I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do for this section of the pocket letter and I sat for some time trying to contemplate all of my options but I just kept going back to washi tape. The only problem with this, is that I don't have any (yet). So what was I going to do?

And then it came to me. While I don't have any washi tape to add to this pocket letter, I do have quite a bit of ribbon, so surely I must have something that could go along with my theme. So I went and dug through all of my ribbon and at first, I was really disappointed because everything I was coming up with just wasn't working for me. And then I remembered that I had gotten some lace ribbon not too long ago and quickly pulled that out. I also decided on a bit of silver sparkly ribbon with white edges to go along with the two different blue ribbon.

 But now that I had my ribbon picked out, I had a completely different problem, what was I going to put the ribbon on to get it in the pocket letter? A lot of times, you will see that people use some sort of clear plastic to put their washi samples on but I didn't have anything like that on hand to use. And of course, I didn't want to just use another piece of paper and lose the designer paper behind it. So the answer was a bit simple in the end, I just decided to wrap the ribbon around the designer paper I was using for that section. And in order to keep the ribbon on the paper, I used a few paperclips to clip the ribbons together.

Next up is the letter. For this section, I already had an idea in mind but I wasn't sure if it was going to work out and luckily, it did! What I did for this section, was to use some of the corner embellishments that I had and use pop dots to raise them up off of the paper. I put the corner pieces in place and then grabbed a blank sheet of notebook paper.

I didn't know how big I needed the paper so I decided to begin folding it in half until it looked to be the size I would need. Once I got it to size, I knew that it was too thick to fit into the corner pieces so I unfolded the paper and cut it in half. I refolded it and checked to make sure that it was small enough to fit into the corner pieces. Once I determined that it was small enough to fit, I took the paper out and then stamped a saying onto the outside of the paper.

This last section of the pocket letter was a bit difficult for me to decide on at first, but after seeing the finished idea for the letter, I decided to bring that component to this section as well. And unknowingly, this also added in a bit more balance to the pocket letter as a whole. I was now going to end up with two sections of embellishments, 2 sections for quotes, and now 2 sections for letters.

For this last letter component, I decided to go with "Boredom Busters". I actually got this idea off of a pin I found on pintrest and really loved the idea of it and decided to incorporate that into this pocket letter. However, since finishing this, I thought that another idea that would be fun to incorporate would be an "Open When..." style letter.

So that's it. A lot of thought went into making this pocket letter but it was so much fun to make!

I also thought it would be fun to include a list of ideas that you may want to include in your own pocket letters so here they are:

Things that I have seen often in examples:
Mini Pens
Stickers: there are many ways that you can even create your own stickers to include in pocket letters
Post-it Notes and Flags
Mini chocolate bars or little bags of candy
Sticks of gum
Extra letter/Open When letter
Other embellishments: tags, fabric flowers, stamp cutouts
Washi samples
String, twine, ribbon samples
Mini notebooks
Fabric or paper feathers
Gift cards
Birthday Cake candles
Tea samples

Some things I haven't seen/don't see very often
a mini masquerade mask (or something similar that you make out of glue pens)
a bracelet or necklace
Business cards for your favorite book bloggers
Recipe cards
Nail decals
a set for the recipiant to make their own pocket letter sized card
An Ebook! You could easily print off the cover of the ebook you are sending the person and on the back (or inside as you could create a mini book for it) include the code or other information the person needs to get their copy of the book

So there you have it, a list of things you could include in a pocket letter. Of course this isn't everything you can include. The sky is the limit and I would love to see your ideas so feel free to leave a comment with your own ideas.

Speaking of leaving comments, its time to announce the giveaway. 

The giveaway will be for the pocket letter shown for example (and who knows, there might be a small surprise along with it).

In order to be considered for this giveaway, you MUST comment on this blog post! Tell me what you thought of this tutorial, let me know of other ideas you might have to include in a pocket letter, send me a link of your completed pocket letter. Anything counts so long as you leave a comment!

I will pick a winner on November 21st!


  1. This looks so interesting! And looks like something fun to do for friends! :)

    1. It is so much fun! I'm really glad that I had decided to do this project, it is a bit challenging for me to try and think in terms of nine pockets instead of trying to figure out a regular card set up but that challenge is an amazing thing to have. If you are into crafting this is definitely something fun to try!