Idea 085 - Carved wooden postcards

3 minute read

This post is part of the 100 project ideas project. #The100DayProject. I am looking for feedback. Comment below or DM me via social media Instagram, Twitter.

One Line Pitch

Sending a Baltic birch plywood postcard via the Canadian post of every mammal in BC


rabbit-postcardThis idea uses elements from Idea 3 - PCB Art of Every Mammal in BC, and Idea 8 - Reconnect a postcard project

One of my goals for 2023 is to send out 100 postcards this year. I made this goal as a way to consume the extra postcards from the Flocking AI - Cultural crawl event event.

At the beginning of the year I sent out 65 postcards, and got 22 postcards in return. It’s always nice to receive mail that is filled with good news. To finish this goal I need to send at least one more batch of postcards.

gofer-postcardPostcards do not need to be made from paper. There are not that many requirements for a postcard in Canada.

  • Use the right-hand half of the back for the addressee, service instructions, and postage
  • Bear the words “POSTCARD” or “CARTE POSTALE” printed in block lettering on the address side.
  • The dividing line between the address block and graphics or text must be at least 0.5 mm and 5 mm to the left of the address.
  • Size: Length: 140 mm - 235 mm, Width: 90 mm - 120 mm, Aspect ratio: 1.3 to 1, 2.6 to 1, Thickness 0.18 mm, Weight: 50 g

Talking to a clerk at the Canada Post Office they primarily care about the thickness and the weight more than anything. Sometimes they get hand made postcards made of construction paper that they don’t accept because they will fall apart, it has to have some structure to it.

A 235 mm by 120 mm sheet of baltic birch plywood with a thickness of 0.20 mm weighs just over 25 g. It’s 0.02 mm too thick but I think I could get away with sending a Baltic birch plywood postcard via the Canadian post.

squirrel-postcardI could use a CNC router, or Laser cutter to carve the Baltic birch plywood into a postcard. One side would be the address, a place to write a message, and a place to put the postage. The other side of the postcard I could carve an image into the wood.

For the image side of the postcard I could try and generate all of the mammals in BC. Similar to Idea 3 - PCB Art of Every Mammal in BC. It would most likely be a wood burning image using the laser cutter than carving as it would be easier to show details. The images can be generated using Midjourny in grayscale as line drawings.

I would make 10x copies of each design. 1 to send via Canada Post to friends and family, 1 set for myself, 1 set for an art show display, 3x sets to be sold at a complete collection, 4x sets to be sold individually.

When I send the postcards out to my friends and family, I would ask them to send me a photo in return for them holding up the postcard. I can use these photos in the art show and for media/press releases.

otter-postcardAs a stretch goal I would put a border around all of the postcards. When all the postcards are put together into an array for the art show, the borders spell out a secret message. When they are seen individually the border looks interesting but doesn’t reveal the secret message.

Sending the postcards via mail is just a gimmick to make this project special. My hope is that these things would be beautiful enough that people would keep them after receiving them. Or would buy them because they have a story.

Prior art

Primary inspiration came from this youtuber Michael Alm where he water painted ~141 pictures of mammals over a 2 year period. The video is about him making 141 frames for the art show but near the end he talks about this project.

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