National Stationery Week is a highlight for stationery lovers each year. We get to share our excitement about stationery as well as learn more about stationery supplies, arts and crafts, creators and brands. There are lots of stationery events and special retail deals to encourage people to engage and experiment with stationery, but if you're still stuck for ideas of how to celebrate National Stationery Week, here are a few ways you can participate.
1. Have a paper craft party
If you have ever seen someone swiftly whip together an elegant origami crane from delicate decorated paper, you may think that paper craft is a specialist art that's not for you. However, there are plenty of simple online tutorials for cute items that you can make at home using paper that you already have.
It can be a fun activity to do with your kids or friends if you're learning how to do it for the first time, or practice by yourself as a more meditative pass-time.
2. Do a bit of drawing
Perhaps you already draw regularly, but need a new theme... Or you want to share your passion on social media. How meta is it to create stationery themed content by drawing or painting? Check out what other people are creating online to get some inspiration for your own art.
Try recreating the stationery itself, the creators using it, or abstract representations of the creative process – there are endless ways to express your ideas using a variety of mark making tools. Select a medium and see what it inspires.
3. Write a letter
When was the last time any of us got a letter we could be joyful about? A handwritten, personal letter is like receiving a gift in the post. The rarity of getting such a gift would definitely make many people want to keep your special gift forever.
If you're stuck for what to write, think about the things that you would like to know about the lives of your loved ones:
What important events have happened to them recently?
Is there something that they are excited to share with others?
Is there anything that is bothering them, but might be afraid to say in person?
Write about your experiences, and maybe they will open up to you about theirs too.
Consider including a drawing or some ephemera that you think they will appreciate. Decorate the paper. Use your favourite pen. Don't forget to include your address if you are hoping they will write back.
4. Practice your letterforms
Despite digital typography and illustration becoming a norm for how lettering is created, handwriting and calligraphy is undoubtedly not dead!
Calligraphy has evolved from traditional to modern forms because of changing trends, styles, tools, and technology. You can find talented creators with beautiful penmanship in abundance on platforms like Instagram. There is also a lot of inspiration to be had from the digital fonts that we all have now access to in the age of digital media.
Explore a mixture of handmade lettering and digital or printed fonts in a variety of styles to see what appeals to you. Whether you are drawn to graffiti, bubble writing, cursive, or pixel style, have fun experimenting with the aesthetics of lettering, and practice applying your favourite looks to your handwriting. You might find a new side to writing that makes it even more enjoyable.
5. Make a plan to do something fun
Is there something you have been wanting to do for the longest time? Maybe it's time to finally treat yourself! Even if you're unable to do your dream activity just yet, sometimes the act of planning it all out can get you at least feeling like you're one step closer to living that reality.
Where will the activity take place?
Who would you like to be there with you?
Do you need certain skills to do the activity?
What kind of equipment, tools or supplies should be prepared?
When would you need to book tickets?
Do you need to inform anyone of the trip or book time off work?
Now that you have some details laid out, you'll be much more organised and less stressed, and you can look forward to having a great time.
6. Go on a journey in your journal
You don't have to go anywhere to go on an adventure. Whilst taking a trip through the fictional realm or an exploration of your actual thoughts and feelings, self-discovery in its many forms is an inevitability when you start to put words on paper. Even a scribble can be an emotional release. Journalling is highly recommended by many mental health professionals for its benefits in analysing our own thought patterns and finding new ways to cope with life. Writing things down really forces you to take time over each thought and feeling, which can be a fascinating and enlightening experience.
7. Make a wish(list)
The world of stationery is ever-changing. Technology is constantly improving, and stationery companies are often introducing new products to their ranges with new designs and colour schemes. The allure of all this gorgeous stuff can be hard to resist, but this can unfortunately lead to huge collections of stationery, arts and crafts supplies that we may never get through in our lifetime.
Some may find that 'window shopping', in real life or online, can be a satisfying substitute for shopping and a way to discover new products without having to own them. Binge-buying in the spur of the moment can be costly, considering how easy it is to swipe a card and spend without thinking. By creating wish-lists for items that we fall in love with, we can come back to our lists at a later date to find out if the craving to buy is still there. We can let the initial excitement pass and therefore be able to make a more sensible decision:
Are those products really needed?
Do you have a similar product already, or a tool that can do the job just as well?
Do they fit in with the way you like to work?
Is it the look of the item that is appealing, or is it useful too? Which is most important to you?
Do the aesthetics suit your style, and will you still enjoy looking at the item in 6 months, a year, or more?
Will the item even last that long, or will you soon need to find a responsible way to dispose of it?
Can the item be easily recycled, repaired or reused when it can no longer perform its primary function?
Does the environmental cost of production justify the existence of the product?
Is the company or brand one that you wholeheartedly support, or are there more trustworthy businesses that could put your funds to better use?
Have long-term users of the item reviewed it positively?
Do you still get a sense of excitement and joy when thinking about using the item?
8. Declutter and rediscover
The quickest way to get creative is to start right now, using what you already have! But if your stationery and art supply collection is overwhelming, like many stationery fans, you might benefit from a nice spring clean. Tidying and organising doesn't have to a pain. It's an opportunity to put on your favourite music or podcast, and zone out while sorting your supply.
Is there anything that is broken or doesn't work well any more? Put it to the side for a repair, or in the bin if it's beyond help. Any unused items that are just taking up space? Maybe donation is the best option. Clean and display your most frequently used supplies, and neatly organise the bits that you're likely to use later. You may be surprised at what you find and how your motivation can be increased just be handling each piece, testing them out, and having everything you need easily available and organised.
9. Enjoy a stationery day out
Are there stationery shops near you? Or ones further away that you would love to visit? Now is the time to explore! Make it a fun day out – take a stroll in the sun, browse some stores, try some testers or buy some treats, retire to the park for a lovely picnic. What's better than stationery on a sunny day?!
If you are looking for something different from the usual high street stores, look up independent stationery shops in your town. Small businesses need our support, and they would probably be happy to celebrate Stationery Week with you.
10. Join in the online conversation
Don't forget that you don't need to spend money or buy new stuff to participate in National Stationery Week. It's a time for us to share our passions and encourage others to discover the joys of stationery. Join in the chats on social media by following the hashtag #natstatweek, and get involved. Share your favourites, what you use and how you use it, and see what other #stationeryaddict folk are saying as well. Stationery is not just about buying products, it's about what you do with it. If you believe #writingmatters, spread the word and hopefully we can #getpeoplewriting.