Making Due With What You Have: Homemade Postcards

You can make them yourself. For real.

Few early twentysomethings possess unlimited funds or the ability to spend freely; we’re environmentally friendly out of necessity. We recycle a few items of clothes over and over to pay for gas, we scrimp on food to afford rent, and we save the extra twenty bucks here or there for Chinese takeout. Or for $3 Wells night. Take your pick.

And so, for all the young twentysomethings and generally thrifty souls out there, begins the first of the General Overachiever series: Making Due With What You Have.

This first Making Due post grew from two roots: the first was my own desire to live a creative life within the bounds of a bite-sized budget. The second was the making of a new friend, Halley over at Life of Something New, upon the discovery of her incredible "SOS: Send Love" project (please take a minute to read more about SOS on her site).

As an ardent believer in the beauty of snail mail, I made a resolution last January to send my long-distance loved ones a postcard each month. But really, who wants to find Times Square or the Jersey Shore in their mailbox twelve times in a row? O.ver.done. Boooring. So instead, I share my own photos!

Benefits of homemade postcards:
1. They're way more personal! Your friends can see exactly where you've been, exactly the way you saw it. And they'll be the only person to ever receive that awesome piece o' mail.
2. They're dirt cheap. I think I spent more money on a bag of marshmallows for last week's camping trip.
3. They're a great way to get rid of all the old photos you have lying around. Cleaning, hooray!
3. The whole project takes a grand total of about two seconds. TWO. Maybe three if your pen runs out of ink halfway through and you have to scavenge your room for a new one.

So without further ado, I present the recipe for Homemade Postcards.

1. Gather up all the postcard-worthy photos you can find (or order them for a few cents apiece from Snapfish).

Someone threw all these photos on my floor! Aargh!

2. Find a pen and a sheet of stamps. *Pssst! Postcard stamps are actually cheaper than regular stamps!

I think the most expensive part of this project was the $2 sheet of stamps.

3. Draw a line on the back of your chosen photo to divide the message and address sections. Attach stamp.

4. Jot down a note, just like you would on a "real" postcard.

That's it! You're done! Can you believe how easy that was? Now take all the energy and spare change you just saved and buy yourself an ice cream cone. Because it's almost July, and July was basically invented for eating ice cream cones.


  1. I used to do this all the time! And I just recently told a friend to do it too lol. I got the idea from a photo site called Photojojo. If you look at their post on sending photo postcards (http://bit.ly/9mMQas), they also direct you to a site where you can buy postcard backing for your photos (they don't do much, except make your photo sturdier, so it's not really needed). They also put up this fun postcard idea: http://bit.ly/9UYxRk I've been meaning to do something like that for Andrew, but alas, I haven't had the time to take the kind of picture I want for it.

  2. Oh! And one more thing: if you want to send your postcards ASAP, the next best thing to printing is hitting up your local drugstore/Target/anywhere where you can print stuff of your SD Card.

    Have fun! =)

  3. *Gasp* The postcard mosaic idea is SO cool! Thanks for passing the word along. Definitely going to have to try that out once I've used up all these old photos. I'd heard of Photojojo but had never seen that project--love it!

  4. I did this when we moved house recently. I loved it. And so did everyone that received them.
    I would add this piece of advice: Make sure you use a pen that doesn't smudge. Cuz the back is still kinda shiny and smeary.

  5. Aagh, too true. At one point I tried using a non-permanent marker-y pen and ended up getting ink all over my arm. Had to toss a few photos.

    Snail mail is so much fun--if you have other ideas, feel free to share!

  6. Hmm... I don't like this thing. I love cards printed on cardboard by Publishing Houses ONLY.


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