Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a hand-written envelope in the post? Picking it out from the boring envelopes, the anticipation of reading the contents: thank you notes, invitations, news filled catch ups or “I saw this and thought of you” snippets. The joy of receiving these hand-written treasures can never be matched by the ping of an email.

Sure, it’s far easier to send an email or text. Type, ping, forget. But who keeps and re-reads emails or texts? Where’s the tactile experience of opening an email? Holding an envelope, you feel the weight in your hand, maybe you examine the stamp or the postmark. Perhaps you recognise the handwriting; the loops and swirls, the slant, scribble or neat printing that reveal character in a way that a type written address can never reproduce.

Writing a letter is a creative act as you choose the paper, select a pen, compose your thoughts and set them down. Then you have to find an envelope, work out the postage and go to the post box. This all shows care and takes effort.

So, make someone happy and brighten their day by sending them a hand-written letter instead of an impersonal text or email and make it even more special by making your own stationery.

One of the easiest ways to decorate your own stationery is with vegetable prints.

Printing with fruit and vegetables is a perfect introduction to printmaking. You need hardly any equipment, yet you can produce some amazing results and it’s so simple that a young child can do it.

carrot, wild pear, orange skin, carrot, apples, rhubarb and knife for printing

All you need to do is to chop up a few vegetables or fruit, dab on some paint and press it onto a piece of paper. If you haven’t done vegetable printing since your schooldays and need a reminder, read our simple guide to fruit and vegetable printing here.

Fruit & Vegetable printed envelope

You can use our Envelope Template to make your own envelopes or simply dismantle an envelope and use it as a template. The printing above used a piece of dried orange peel and a blackberry.

Envelope printed with wild pears and acrylic paint

This envelope was printed with a wild pear, sliced in half horizontally and printed with acrylic ink.

Fold & Send Mail printed with wild pears

Do you remember the old airmail letters that you wrote and then folded and sealed, thus reducing the weight by not using an envelope? I rather liked the parsimonious character of these letters and the fact that I only had one page to fill. It’s easy make your own Fold and Send Mail. And saves having to find an envelope to fit your paper!

To make your own Fold and Send Mail

You will need:

This Fold and Send Mail Template

Medium Weight Paper

Fruit & Vegetables such as apples, pears, carrots, lemons, oranges …

Sharp Knife

Acrylic Paint

Palette (or old plate)

Sponge or paintbrush

First, download the template and print it. You can make several copies and print straight onto them or download one onto card and trace around it onto your chosen paper. Decide if you want to cut out the template before or after printing.

Cut your vegetables, apply the paint and print, following these instructions.

Print on one or both sides, leaving space to write your letter and the address.

Leave your Fold and Send Mail to dry.

When it’s time to compose your letter, don’t write on the flaps as they’ll be stuck down.

Fold the bottom section under at Fold 1, repeat at Fold 2. Flip your letter over, fold in the side flaps and glue them down to secure the letter. Finally fold down the top flap and glue down. You could use stickers or decorative sticky tape like this to secure your flaps instead of glue.

Go on, make someone’s day and send them a hand printed, hand written letter.

How to Print with Fruit & Vegetables

Making Decorative Sticky (Washi style) tape

Make Your Own Envelopes