Introduction: Post Office Drawings

Picture of Post Office Drawings

This project was the genesis for an instructable I posted earlier called Drawing Machine

This project takes a more mellow approach and makes the post office make your drawings for you.

You will need:

-A shipping package
-A suitable sized piece of paper
-A "stylus" of your own making
-Packaging tape
-A marker
-Money for postage
-An understanding friend

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

Choose a shipping container that will accomodate your stylus. In this project I am using an old stylus from my Drawing Machine Instructable. It fits nicely inside this cardboard tube, allowing for free movement and mark-making abilities.

Cut a piece of paper to fit inside the shipping container. This piece is as long as the tube is tall (allowing for the lid, which actually squeezes into the tube), and should be as wide as the inside diameter of the tube, in order to not have any overlap in the paper, which would yield a blank spot where the paper fell over itself.

Step 2: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

I will be sending this to a friend who is ill, so I wrote a little note on the back of the drawing wishing her a speedy recovery.

Roll up the paper with the note on the outside and insert it into the tube.

Drop the Stylus into the tube.

Seal package with packing tape.

Write opening instructions near the lid.

Address the package, and just for giggles, write some encouragement on the package.

Step 3: Post

Picture of Post

Take your package to the post office and purchase the required postage. It's probably best to purchase the slowest, longest route possible so that your package gets lots of time to be created and gets a lot of jostling. Encourage the nice woman at the counter to shake up your drawing and help make a unique gift for your friend.

Step 4: Other Ideas

A tube might not be the only way to go here. What about a long piece of paper rolled up inside a square box? What about using multiple styluses? How about sending two sheets of paper, so your friend can remove the inner piece to keep for themself, and can repackage and send it back to you so you can each have a drawing? Oh, the mind reels with the possibilities...


bignothing (author)2007-02-20

Do you have a picture of the result of this? It seems like it would either fill it completely and randomly or barely at all... Nevertheless, I think I'm going to try this. Also, your stylus might be construed as some sort of weapon by terror-crazed postal inspectors...

hay_jumper (author)bignothing2007-02-20

We'll see on both counts!

8bit (author)hay_jumper2010-03-19

So. . . results? 

krazipanda (author)2009-10-01

haha, this is awesome

spockck (author)2009-03-30

dont quite get it

crak-a-bottle (author)spockck2009-07-10

lol there isnt an awful lot to get. its just a way to make random drawings to send to people. just for giggles. =]

TallTrav (author)2009-05-06

I was eating my lunch at working wondering how the hell you "draw" with a unhulled chestnut. It's when I finally went, "did he dip it in ink or something?" that I finally enlarged the pic of the "chestnut". Lovecraftian is a good description. I can't wait to write/draw to family in the old country!

Sgt.Waffles (author)2008-03-16

Very cool Idea. My brother just moved to texas yesterday, and we are always giving wierd gifts to eachother, so I might send him this. + and faves

stasterisk (author)2007-08-02

Cool project! I like the "stylus" - have you tried this with multiple colored pencils? What if you suspended the stylus by a spring attached to one end of the tube?

NumberX (author)2007-02-22

That drawing thing looks like something out of the pages of an H. P. Lovecraft novel.

hellobaby (author)2007-02-20

this is not really a new idea... there are a couple of artists who have been doing much more complex drawing machines that, for example, make drawings as they are shipped by truck across the country. One artist is Alan Storey, who is canadian. His maqchines are called simply "Drawing Machines" and he did them in the early 80's. The other artist is younger: Fernando Orellana. He has a site, just google Fernando Orellana with drawing machine and you will see what an artist's eye can do with this idea :)

hay_jumper (author)hellobaby2007-02-21

I never said that this was an entirely new idea. Thanks for the info on those artists, however. I really liked Orellana's work, very cool. Lots of artists have done work in a similar vein extending back to the dadaists, so setting things in motion and waiting for a result in certainly not a new concept.

ewilhelm (author)2007-02-19

Nice! When you're famous and your drawings sell for millions, do you think some post office workers will file suit claiming partial ownership and a cut of the proceeds?

hay_jumper (author)ewilhelm2007-02-20

I'll have to consult my book of DuChamp ramblings on this one, but I think they will be hard pressed... The nice woman at the window shook it a bit and asked me what was inside (she had a fairly thick accent, but I got most of what she was saying). She seemed rather unimpressed. I should say, be forewarned to open the project up to show the postal clerk, or perhaps seal it in front of them so they don't freak out. This instructable got picked up by the Make:blog, and someone left a post saying "...looks like another mooninite scare..." Does it hurt that I'm from Boston?

Andrew546 (author)hay_jumper2007-02-21

"Does it hurt that I'm from Boston?" You're screwed now. Be prepared for the bomb squad to come to your house searching for more bomb-making materials (tubes, paper, weird lookin pointy things... you know, the usual)

royalestel (author)ewilhelm2007-02-20


egp (author)2007-02-20

Wonderful. (And I assume you mean inner circumference and not diameter for the paper size?) I look forward to seeing the artworks created - will people post links here, please? Thanks!

hay_jumper (author)egp2007-02-20

I'll post a pic of the result if I can get an image, and I encourage others to use the project and post their own results. Thanks for the nice words!

hay_jumper (author)hay_jumper2007-02-20

... and of course, I mean inner circumference. Thanks for picking up my misspeak.

crapflinger (author)2007-02-20

just like the "vibrating box of death" you did before...this is just great...and i know my dad would love it (*sends a link)...good job...great low tech mod for the other project as well

hay_jumper (author)crapflinger2007-02-20

Thank you very much!

PeterTheUnGreat (author)2007-02-20

What a truly imaganitive idea - please post some of your art. Prehaps if lots of people do this in lots of countries, we would be able to see which country has the most carefull/brutal postal service. Pehaps a pressure sensitive sylys which draws heavier/couloured lines according to the strength of the disturbance. Pete

This is one of the most "tame" ideas I have for correspondence art. The other ones are innocuous, but definately push the bounds of what the USPS allows... But I don't want to give away all my future instructables just yet! If you want to see some of the other drawings, see my drawing machine instructable
(that stylus looks awful familiar), or if your Sherlock skills are up to snuff you could track me down on the myspace, using subtle clues left in this instructable, where I have pics of some of my sculptural work.

HamO (author)2007-02-19

A picture of one of the drawinfs would be nice. Great instructable, good pics. Well Done!! Thanks for sharing.

hay_jumper (author)HamO2007-02-20

I'll have to get a picture from my friend, but will post if I do.

barnes (author)2007-02-20

Perfect! Anyone would be happy to see that in the mail, exspecially if they are sick, its perfect!

PeterTheUnGreat (author)2007-02-20

P.S. your stylus is a bit nightmareish

Ndawg (author)2007-02-19

or maybe between the stylus and the paper make anathor sheet of paper with huge random shapes cut out to change to look and how about a pic of the finished product?

dannyboy (author)2007-02-19

Nice. I'm gonna try this one as well. I've got a artistic friend on the west coast....From my house that should be a fairly good journey, I mean, picture.

Andrew546 (author)2007-02-19

you should use this stylus, it seems particularly well suited for a tube.

I bet if you made it so that it could move vertically in the tube sllightly less than the distance between pencil tips, you'd end up with interesting gradient bands, especially if you put different colors on each "row"

CanDo (author)2007-02-19

Is it a bad thing that I think this is a really neat idea?! Multiple colors in the stylus, perhaps?

About This Instructable




Bio: Cheating death for a living, since the day I was born.
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