Post Office Drawings





Introduction: Post Office Drawings

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

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

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

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

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...



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    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...

    2 replies

    We'll see on both counts!


    So. . . results? 

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

    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!

    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

    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?

    1 reply

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

    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 :)

    1 reply

    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.

    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?

    3 replies

    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?

    "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)


    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!

    1 reply

    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!