Introduction: How to Write and Send a Dope Letter
Ever wanted to physically check in on someone far away? Gotten stuck on what to say? Want to spice up a letter to a friend or relative? Then this Instructable is for you!
Scissors, Junk Mail/Magazines, Paper, a Forever Stamp, an Envelope, Tape, a Pen, Random Small Things (i.e. rubberbands, new bandaids, sugar packets. small screws, leaves, petals, stickers etc)
Step 1: Gather Materials
Get everything together! This is one of the fun parts of writing a letter. Go through the junk drawer, recycling bin, car cup holders, or outside. Just because you can't physically be there doesn't mean you can't find different items to surprise the recipient! You can write on multiple papers, be it old receipts, a notebook page, or a sticky note. Letters can get pricey, so make it count by filling it up!
Step 2: Get to Snipping
Find letters you like, or pictures you like and cut them out! You can cut and paste letters a la ransom note, and add pictures of things you like, images that relate to jokes you want to tell, or pictures you just vibe with. You can cut out a coupon to a fast food place you think the recipient could use, or pictures of food. You can cut them out as basic shapes or very close, you can keep them clean or you can deface them.
Step 3: Tape Things Together!
Take pictures or images you like and tape them onto the paper you will be writing your letter on. You can tape it on completely, or tape it partially so that it can be lifted to create flaps. You can put more images under the flaps, or just write under or on the flaps themselves. By writing on the flaps, you can gain more writing space if that's something you think you'll be wanting.
If you don't feel confident about taping things together, or dislike the idea of cluttering up the page with pictures of animals or tacos, you can take your word and picture cut outs, and put them in the envelope. That way, the recipient will still experience finding a fun random assortment of image objects.
Step 4: Writing
Writing a letter can be a bit daunting, even to people you know and know well. Start easy, with a greeting to the recipient. After that, ask them questions! They can be as basic as asking how they are doing, to more specific about their interests. You can use seasonal context to ask questions, for example, if it's autumn you can ask questions about Halloween, pumpkin spice, and weather.
Ask them questions that make you excited, or that you think are funny! For example:
If you had a sidekick, what would you want their superpower to be? What is your favorite type of Dinosaur? What is the best smell, and why is it the best? If you were forced to get a tattoo across your forehead, what would it be of or say? If you could outlaw one of your pet peeves, what would it be?
Tell them how you are doing! Put in jokes, interesting facts you've learned, news of how your mutual friends are doing. Share your own answers to the questions you ask them as well!
Step 5: Filler-The Letter Saver
If you have a lot to write, then write a lot. If you don't have much to write, put that in the letter, and tell them you are thinking of them. (Even if you are being coerced into writing a letter, this is technically true. You are thinking of the person as you write to them, and it is something that people appreciate.)
If you end up not writing a lot, doodle in the margins! It doesn't have to be good-as you can see in the photo, I just did swirly curlique things along the edges to take up more space. You can fill it with lightening bolts, checkerboards, flowers, stars, circles or waves. You can copy song lyrics, cite poetry, or just write stream of consciousness of what's going on around you.
Step 6: Wrapping a Letter Up
Once you have written everything you've wanted to, finish up your letter by signing off. This can be literal, as in you could write,
sincerely/your buddy/hasta la pasta/adios (etc.)
(your name here), with a signature.
Or you can sign off with your initials, a nickname, as a secret admirer, or any title you deem fit to bestow on yourself. If you sign off your letter under a pseudonym, make sure it's something cool. It may end up sticking.
Step 7: Filling the Envelope
Before you shove everything into the envelope, make sure you put any odd extra objects to the side. If the extras are flat, such as cut out images, leaves or a salt pack, put it in first. Then fold the letter so it can fit inside the envelope. You can check the fit by placing the folded letter over the envelope to check if the sides line up or stick out. Once it is folded well enough to slip inside, insert the letter, then any remaining objects that are more 3 dimensional that you want to send, (such as screws, or a teabag).
Step 8: Seal It Up
Make sure to seal the envelope tight. Usually, licking the adhesive along the edge of the top flap and applying pressure upon closing it will work. However, older envelopes adhesive doesn't stick as well and won't always secure the letter. Either way, applying tape to the corners and center of the top flap will ensure that it stays closed during the mailing process.
A good way to check if it's closed is by writing or doodling over the overlaps. If it lifts or bubbles, you need to tape it down more.
Step 9: Addresses
Knowing the address of where you want the letter to go is the most important part of sending a dope letter!
Make sure you have the right street, apartment or house number, city, state and zipcode.
First, write the recipient's name and address on the back of the envelope in the middle. If you do it too low, it will get covered by the bar code things that are stamped on mail as it goes through the postal service. If you are sure that you have everything 100% correct with the recipient's address, then you can add a stamp and call it a day. However, if you want to get a response, or are unsure if the address is legitimate, it is a good idea to put a return address in the upper left corner. If you used a pseudonym or your initials to sign your letter, make sure to put it above your address instead of your name.
Step 10: Stamp and Send!
Once you have all the addresses written up, you need to add a stamp to the upper right corner of the back of the envelope. (If your letter weighs over an ounce, you may need more than one stamp to send it.) Once you have the stamp on it, you can send it a number of ways. If you have a mailbox, you can put it in with the stamp showing so the USPS worker will see it when they come to drop off mail. You can also take it to a city mail drop box, or check if there are mail drop boxes you can drop it in at your local USPS office.
Congratulations! You have now written and sent a dope letter! May your letter be well received and enjoyed!