These are quick, easy and, in our house, these postcards are really used a lot. I first made them when my little guy was two, and they’ve held up really well. He’s now four, and they have helped him learn to read some easy words (I, YOU, LOVE, etc.) and family names. With Velcro, children can mix and match names and stamps to deliver mail all day long. You can also stamp or embroider names for a more lasting delivery.

We use these for family mail all year long but they’d make a sweet and simple Valentine project. I was inspired by this cute Vintage French Stamp Set from Green Kitchen, and Target’s little dollar section mailboxes (they’ve been there every year for three years running!).

I’ve used both Printer Fabric Sheets and Cloth Surface Photo Paper for these postcards. Bubble Jet Set would work too, but I haven’t tried that yet. Cloth Surface Photo Paper is generally cheaper, but it’s also not colorfast so the postcards can’t get wet. I got my 4 x 6 size box locally (Pacific Northwest) at Paper Zone. Printer Fabric Sheets are also easy to use in your ink jet printer.

I have PDFs for you to do 4 x 6 size postcards on 4 x 6 size paper, or to do three postcards on one 8 1/2 x 11 size paper. If you are at all interested in printing on fabric (you must be, right?!) be sure you get your hands on a copy of Amy Karol’s Bend the Rules with Fabric. It has a wonderful mix of inspiration and information.

Supplies:

1. Print with either the 4 x 6 Postcard PDF or the 8 1/2 x 11 Postcard PDF onto your medium of choice. Use the manufacturer’s directions. For the cloth surface paper I just placed the soft-side down in my printer and selected to print at 4 x 6. For the printer fabric sheets I do the same at 8 1/2 x 11, and then peel off the back. You iron the back of the printer fabric sheet to heat set the ink, and then to make it colorfast you must rinse it in cold water and dry it again.

2. Cut the postcard down to 4 x 6 if necessary (there are crop marks on the 8 1/2 x 11 Postcard PDF for you), and cut a piece of heavy-weight interfacing and backing fabric 4 x 6 or bigger. I like a little overlap with the interfacing and backing fabric because I find it easier to trim after I sew.

* Optional part: Now is a good time to either sew or iron on your Velcro (I think iron-on Velcro is genius) if you want interchangeable names & stamps (which is totally fun). You need one little strip in the “To:” section and one up to the right for a stamp.

You can also stamp names with fabric paint (I put a little on a paper towel for an instant “stamp pad”) directly on the postcard. For that matter, you could embroider or use fabric pens if you want a permanent recipient like Beatrice here.

3. Make an interfacing sandwich so the right side of your fabric backing is on the table/ground, then interfacing, then the right side of your postcard words are facing up. Sew all around the edges with a zig-zag stitch, and then sew down the middle too. I like using white thread to blend in sometimes but the contrasting stitching really pops and that’s also fun.

4. Here’s what it looks like after you sew. Trim threads and edges, and apply the same process to create more postcards, stamps and names. For the stamps I suggest using pinking shears to make them look a little more stamp-like. Don’t forget the Velcro before you sew around the edges! For names you can either print out your whole family + friends, or create names as in the * Optional section above (instead of doing them directly on the postcard you would just cut them apart, sandwich and sew like you do for the postcards and stamps).

Here’s the backing of the postcard with some stamps. I wanted to use a charm square so I sewed two together for the backing fabric and trimmed…

…And here’s the other side of the postcard. I haven’t had trouble with the raw edges fraying much at all in two years.

You’re on your own with names but you should be fine for a good fit printing at 14 points or lower. If you don’t like my super-sized stamps you can always reduce the size of those too! This is a great early-literacy project. It’s also fast & easy, and always a favorite when other children come over to play. If you’re really motivated you can make a mailbag and kiddos usually love to make cereal box mailboxes!

Don’t forget to enter our True Love Valentine Contest for your chance to win some great prizes! You have through midnight tonight to enter!

Comment in any post this week for your chance to win one of these great prizes: Amy Butler Softwares (Sewing Software on a CD) from The Electric Quilt Company; $15 Gift Certificate to Lilac Lane; $15 gift certificate to SewBrookie; $15 gift certificate to Sew,Mama,Sew! Take a look at the February “True Love” prize master list to see other great prizes we’ll be giving away this month.