Arte Es Vida

Letterboxing 101 by arteesvida
November 27, 2006, 1:47 am
Filed under: Journaling, Letterboxing

Letterboxing combines rubber art stamping, treasure hunting, collaborative journaling, and nature journaling all in one! Although probably not as well known as geocaching, it’s been around quite a bit longer and is a whole lot of fun!

People all over the world hide small boxes with a small journal and hand carved stamp inside. Clues are passed around (typically through letterboxing websites…see the end of the article for links) and the hunt is on! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to decipher the clues and find the box!

This is a wonderful family outing (and a great way to get kids interested in maps and directions) and a unique take on the idea of the collaborative art journal.

So what do you need to get started?

Log on to a Letterboxing site and look for boxes hid in your area. Most box owners are really good about checking on their box from time to time so there should be updates if the box has gone missing or been removed.

Carve your own stamp to use for boxes you find. You can use a pre-fab stamp but almost everyone uses stamps they carve themselves. It isn’t hard to do, nor is it very expensive, and it really adds to the uniqueness of the project. Check out the links below for more information on stamp carving.

Pack your journal (you can use your nature or travel journal or create a journal just for letterboxing!), your stamp, an ink pad, and a pen for any notes you would like to leave and set out!

When you find a box, stamp your stamp in the journal that is packed in to the box, and stamp the stamp from the box into your own journal. You may want to leave a little note and date their journal before repackaging and re-hiding it (in the same place you found it!). It’s also fun to date and note the name of the box in your own journal next to the image you stamped in!

My 5 year old had so much fun finding letterboxes, he insisted on making and hiding one of his own! We carved another stamp that spells his name, and hid our letterbox behind our local library. Our box’s name is “Journal-istic Integrity” and the first page says Journals@BellaOnline for all the BellaOnline readers who letterbox!

Letterboxing Links And Information:

Letterboxing USA
The main website for letterboxing information and clues.

Joural-istic Integrity
A letterbox conceived, created, and hid by my 5 year old!

Letterboxing And Atlas Quest
Another active letterboxing site with lots of information and clues to boxes.

Mapsurfer Treasureboxes
These are letterboxes that are a bit trickier to find. They have a lot more clues and research involved for people who love a good challenge!

They Live And Breath Letterboxing
An article from Smithsonian magazine about the letterboxing phenomenon

Letterboxing Discussion Group
The offical discussion group for Letterboxing USA (through Yahoo).

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