Monday, 11 January 2016

Letterzines Inspiration

When I shared 6 Ways to Repurpose Old Christmas Cards, one of the methods I mentioned was Letterzines.

If you like writing letters but want to get more creative with what you send, this post is for you!

A letterzine is a cross between a letter and a magazine. Along with the usual hellos and how-are-yous found in a letter, a letterzine is filled with images and information, hand-decorated and tailored to each individual recipient! This is a fun way to reuse or repurpose wrapping paper, magazines, or any other paper-based imagery.

This post is intended to give some inspiration for what you could include in yours.

Front Cover
Spend time thinking about the cover.
Do you want it to match the content? Do you want it to reflect the personality of the person you're making it for? Do you have some really awesome cut-outs that you're desperate to use?

I made the two in the post header for my friends, Rina (K re a t i v) and Lilia (Paracosm of Lilies). The one just above was made by Lilia, for me!
As you can see, the styles are all very different!

There are numerous methods you can use to bind the pages together; it's best to choose one appropriate to the number of pages you're putting in.
Here are just a few ideas:
  • Stitching is good for up to 20 pages (5 sheets of paper, folded in half)
    Use a drawing pin to make 2-3 evenly-spaced holes in the fold, then stitch together with ordinary needle and thread/embroidery silk.
    (Lilia made 4 holes and bound with ribbon, to give two bows on the spine!)
  • Stab-binding is good for any number of pages, and you don't need to fold them!
    There's a great tutorial on Design*Sponge--I made the above notebook this way, using a pin to make the holes.
  • Stapling is another option, and needs no explanation!
  • Folding is the least stress-free method.
    The Fiji Island Mermaid Press has a good tutorial on how to fold a single piece of paper to make an 8-page book.

Here are some ideas for what to include in your letterzine.

A Contents Page
So the recipient knows what they're getting (and also to make it more magazine-like!)

Postcards and Clippings
These are a fun way of decorating the letter portions of a letterzine, and also a topic for you to write about!
I made them removable so that my friend could take them out and use them if she wanted, but this is also a way of putting in secret messages!
If you want to do this but would prefer a tidier method than I used, you can buy photo corners to hold them in place (try Amazon, Ebay, or an art store).

Short Stories
Include a short (possibly silly) story for the recipient.
I decorated this page with pressed flowers, wrapping paper and an illustration

Craft Tutorials
Got a crafty friend? How about including a little how-to in their letterzine?
In Rina's letterzine, I included a tried and tested method of taking a pattern from an existing garment.

Themed Facts
Pick a theme you know your friend will enjoy, research some facts, and fill a couple of pages with information!
This beautiful Japan-themed spread was made by Lilia.

Whether funny, inspirational, or thought-provoking, create a collection perfect for the person the letterzine is for!
How about quotes from your friend's favourite movie or celebrity?

Include a recipe for something tasty that your friend might enjoy!
I sent Rina a recipe given to me by a neighbour, and - as it uses Rosemary - included a little drawing and some facts on Rosemary on the next page.

Images, Images, Everywhere!
Cover a page or two in pictures relevant to the recipient's interests. The pages in the picture were in the letterzine that Lilia sent me, and feature some of my favourite movies, favourite characters and favourite musicians, along with a few little comments!

Fill the Page
Pages don't have to be equally balanced between text and images. This is a letterzine after all! You could fill pages with text and just decorate the top and bottom with washi tape (as I did, above), OR...

...write on some awesome paper, with just a couple of decorations (as Lilia did, above. As you can see, we both like mini playing cards!)

Be Untidy
You don't have to make all your content follow a straight line. What about wrapping your text around a cut- or ripped-out image, or writing in wavy lines?

Be Tidy
A word or two on a page with a plain or decorative background is as good as anything else! Here's a page from the letterzine I sent to Rina, made with a scrap of awesome wrapping paper and a little quote I found on a flyer.

Back Cover
Don't forget the back cover!
Either decorate it the same as the front cover, use it for a final few notes, or completely differently to the front!

Other content:
Here are a few more suggestions:
  • Song lyrics
  • Recommendations for films/music/books/etc
  • Poems
  • Original artwork
  • Encouragement!
  • Top Ten lists
  • Brain teasers
  • Puzzles
  • Flat things collected by the recipient (e.g. train tickets, stamps, postcards)

Of course, there are plenty of other things you could include, and you could decorate the pages with all kinds of media.

Hope this post gave you some inspiration!

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