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FEB: Naked Notebooks! (mail art challenge) #2

Launch gallery slideshow

FEB: Naked Notebooks! (mail art challenge) #2
Group:Zines, mail art & other cool stuff
Swap Coordinator:TangleCrafts (contact)
Swap categories: Mail Art 
Number of people in swap:18
Type:Type 3: Package or craft
Last day to signup/drop:January 29, 2012
Date items must be sent by:February 13, 2012
Number of swap partners:2

~ Pic above shows a 'mail book', available from the Bad Books Etsy Store (probably a little bulkier than our swap notebooks will be. ~
~ Pic below shows the more compact Airmail Envelope Book by Miniature Rhino ~

Swap description: Naked notebooks!

I know I am not alone in my slight obsession with notebooks; and the first round of this swap was awesomeness itself, so I decided it was time for a re-play. :) There was some discussion about the practicalities in the swap comments last time, so I will copy & paste the bits which might be relevant in the comments below. Feel free to add further questions/comments; but first - here's how it works:

  1. Begin with a notebook – you can either make this yourself (try this tutorial , or use an alternative design); or buy something plain, like the small Moleskine Cahier (Muji & Paperchase sell similar notebooks for less). You can use a larger notebook, if you like, but it should not be smaller than 9 x 14cm (the dimensions of the Moleskine cahier).

  2. But the notebook will not be entirely naked, as you will 'dress' it (decorate or embellish) in some way before mailing – doodle a border, print image/s using a hand-carved stamp, collage it, just add some form of personalisation so that it is no longer like something you can buy in a store! (But just adding stickers doesn't count.)

  3. Write a brief note to your partner either on the first or last page of the notebook, or on the inside cover, so they know which swap it is for, and from whom (and anything else you would like to say).

  4. Address the notebook (something to consider when you are personalising it, in step 2!). How you choose to do this is up to you, but make sure the delivery & return address are clear & the postage is secure.

  5. Seal the notebook. Again, how you choose to do this is up to you (and something else to think about a) if you make your own notebook, and b) when you embellish it). Just make sure your partner can unseal the notebook without damaging it!

By the end of the swap, not only will we each have 2 handy new notebooks at our disposal, but they will probably be the coolest notebooks ever, having travelled naked through the mail, and acquired all sorts of extra stamps & markings in addition to our partners' customisation.

Swap requirements

  • 2 partners = 2 naked notebooks sent & 2 naked notebooks received.
  • Notebooks may be handmade or storebought; minimum notebook size 9 x 14cm, no maximum.
  • Notebooks should contain a minimum of 16 pages. These can be blank, ruled, or squared (etc) at sender's discretion.
  • Notebooks should be decorated, sealed & addressed – no envelopes allowed!
  • Write a brief note to your partner either on the first or last page of the notebook, or on the inside cover.
  • Scan or photograph both sides of your notebook after addressing & before mailing. Hopefully this will not be necessary, but in case any notebooks go missing in transit there will still be some evidence of your work.
  • (optional but advised:) Obtain proof of posting from Post Office (this is free in the UK, not sure about elsewhere).
  • If one of your notebooks fails to arrive within 1 month of date of sending, please ask your partner to provide the the photos of the notebook they sent, and the proof of posting. If they are able to provide this evidence, you must rate a 5 whether you have received the notebook or not (it is not fair to rate your partner down for a delivery problem which they cannot control).

The obvious bit
Late swaps & low ratings will all be checked before assigning partners. Contact me if you think there might be a problem.


TangleCrafts 11/16/2011 #

Comments copied from previous round of Naked Notebooks Swap:

vblarney: Um, just a note to USA swappers: the post office isn't required to send anything that isn't in a box or envelope and it's up to them if they want to return it to you or just trash it. Something to keep in mind!

MissThundercat: I'm sure if you seal the notebook properly with enough postage stamps on it it should arrive to its destination.

TangleCrafts: I think it's worth taking a chance! Weighing & stamping notebooks at home might save some explanations at the Post Office. I'm not in the USA so I guess the zine I send out as a self-mailer doesn't count as an example (but has always been successfully delivered to U.S. addresses) but I think @fieldstudio31 has also had success mailing notebooks previously.

Perhaps if somebody has a notebook returned to them as undeliverable, the swapper could simply then enclose the notebook in an envelope & re-send to their partner, so that the partner still gets a notebook, and sees it has had at least some dealings with the P.O., however far it has or hasn't travelled!

I realise that naked mail can get lost in transit, that's why a requirement of the swap is to scan/photograph your notebook before mailing. But part of the fun of sending naked mail is just the wondering of whether it will arrive/survive or not! This week, I received a painted woodblock from the USA, so anything is possible!

BetsyPreston: I've sent all kinds of crazy stuff, much of it to soldiers in Iraq so it had to go over the postal counter with a customs form and be accepted by a postal worker, and I've never run into any regulation that says I couldn't send the stuff. I've done this at 10+ post offices, so I'd be very curious to see confirmation if it wasn't allowed (and then I would promptly ignore the regulation and wait for the post office to enforce it).

QUESTION: can I wrap the book in string or a band of paper or the like to keep it from flapping about like a wounded bird?

TangleCrafts: I'm planning to come up with a seal of some description for my notebook, @BetsyPreston , so yes, that's fine!

Bucket: This sounds excellent - but I'm definitely nervous about figuring out how to seal the book! I'm going to give this a try today and if it works out, I'll join.

As far as postal mail in the US - I once mailed a pop bottle full of items - and I wouldn't exactly call that a box or envelope!

TangleCrafts: You could just wrap the notebook around in criss-crossed string, like a 'traditional' parcel - it doesn't take much, just to stop the notebook opening & the pages flapping about... But there are so many options, if you think creatively :-)

MissThundercat: I also wondered how to close the books, but I found the easy solutions of fun masking tape to close it. let's hope it's gonna make it to their destinations unopened :)

AmyMarie 11/16/2011 #

I do know that in the USA, they prefer no strings/twine/etc. on packages as the string can get caught in the machinery (the miles of conveyor belts and such) and cause problems.

TangleCrafts 11/17/2011 #

Thanks, AmyMarie - all tips are welcome! :)

FarStarr 11/19/2011 #

I'm seconding AmyMarie's comment about the string. It is the one thing that I have had the P Off reject. You can sew things shut, but no danglies or loose strings.

FarStarr 11/19/2011 #

This is an example of some notebooks that were successfully mailed.

Robyn's notebooks

TangleCrafts 11/20/2011 #

Not to mention all the zines from the mail art round robin you've been hosting in the group forum, Mandy! I'm so happy that it looks like they will all make it home safely. :)

Onyx 11/29/2011 #

I spent some time reading the postal regulations this morning, and it was very interesting.

Lesson Learned for this Swap: do not make your notebook more than one inch thick.

Also, blanket statements like vblarney's do not apply. The postal regulations are never that simple. If her statement is true, that means they would have to accept everything that is in a box or envelope and they will never do that either. They often accept unwrapped things, and reject boxed things. The devil is in the details.

These days one of the most important details for the USPS is "where did this package come from?" So taking it in to mail it instead of mailing it from your own personal mailbox is a good idea. Even if you stand there and affix your stamps yourself, best to get "window worker" approval.

FarStarr 11/29/2011 #

I'm curious, @Onyx why do you say no more than an inch thick?

Due to the rigidity, they are going to have to ship using package rates vs. envelope rates anyway. I don't see how the thickness matters.

hollycm6 01/ 2/2012 #

You can seal your notebook shut with that decorated Japanese masking tape (washi) It's fun and seals well, but generally will easily pull off (If nothing else, it can be cut at the seams of the notebook)

MissThundercat 01/11/2012 #

yes!! another round! i'm totally up for it and this will count towards my mailart 365 project this year ;) Like @hollycm6 said, the washi tape works perfectly well! i used it last time around as well.

BetsyPreston 01/28/2012 #

Oooo, my books are made and I'm super excited to put them in the mail. I made 4 books, and test mailed two of them. So far, so good!

TangleCrafts 01/29/2012 #

Cool! :) I spent Friday designing mine & they're itching to get 'out there'!

nermalski 02/ 9/2012 #

Mine are out u.s. priority dc 03052710000089776021 and international marked gift n/v LC729565745US.

Hope you enjoy them.

AmyMarie 02/23/2012 #

Note: one of the notebooks I sent was returned to me today. I will attempt another send.

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