Questions, Anyone? About Painted Postcards

Several people have asked me questions about the painted postcards recently displayed. In the interest of spreading around this form of mail art, here go a few answers.

1. What’s the surface you’re painting on?

And the answer is, ad cards I receive in the mail. They look like these:

ad cards small

They have shiny, slick surfaces that are great to paint on. Occasionally the surface may be too shiny – you can sand it a little or throw out the card and try another. I have found that paint may chip off some of them as well (there is no tooth to this surface and to gesso it or the like destroys the ad card surface I so love). So, I let them dry thoroughly and then I coat them with acrylic medium, gloss or matte, doesn’t matter. This stops the chipping and gives a nice finish to them.

I don’t buy anything to make these cards. It’s all recycled. My friends help me out and leave their ad cards for me, usually in grocery bags set on my porch. You laugh, but it works. I turn out a lot of these.

You could use any surface you want or any paper you want, taking into consideration it needs to be sturdy enough to handle the mailing process.

2. What kind of paints?

I use acrylics and I load them on thickly with a brush. Sometimes I use a plastic spackle spreader or a plastic knife with serrated edges.

3. Procedure?

Usually I have a lot of these lined up and they begin as a place to put the extra paint from my brush that I’m using for some other project. I hate to waste paint. Later on I work on them one at a time until I’m happy with the result.

postcards in process small

4. Do you paint both sides?

Yes. Then I pick the one I like best for the “image” side and the other is for the address.

5. Will they hold up in the mail?

Yes. I send them all the time. I’ve mailed dozens, if not hundreds. More likely, hundreds, now that I think of it. You need to put extra postage on them, though – I put first class letter postage rather than postcard. Better safe than sorry.

6. Can I use some other paint or technique?

Sure, why not? I make collaged cards as well or ones that I’ve glued drawings to or whatever. Mix and match. I’m just talking about the painted ones here.

7.  Can you send me one?

Certainly. Email me your address at .

6 thoughts on “Questions, Anyone? About Painted Postcards

  1. memadtwo

    Thanks Claudia. Kerfe here, I see Nina commented already. The only question I have is: do you make a light colored solid area for the address? Our postal workers here can’t even deliver a simple typed envelope correctly…
    Anyway, I see I need to get acrylic medium…probably best to do it over collage also. As soon as I have a few in mailing condition, we can exchange! I send regular postcards with quotes on the back to people all the time, but I can surprise them with something new. And I’ll still use the cards for my junk mail art as well.

  2. Claudia McGill Post author

    Sometimes I leave a blank painted spot and use Sharpie markers for the writing. Mostly, though, I just use a sticker and write on that.

    I think you will find mail art of this type opens all kinds of ideas – it’s pretty consequence-free, you haven’t used up a lot of expensive materials, etc., so you feel free to experiment. I’ll be very happy to exchange mail art!

  3. Claudia McGill Post author

    You can also glue a piece of paper on instead of the sticker – sometimes I use torn off notebook pages, or that kind of thing. Also I’ve used those “Hello, my name is…” things, too.

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