DIY “Open When” Letters

This morning I was supposed to drive to the airport to see my boyfriend off on his first naval ROTC cruise. The cruise was moved to July recently but he will flying to Virginia to train for four weeks in the various jobs you can have in the navy.  Even though his heart is set on flying, everyone is required to train in each position (submarine, ship, base, and plane).

Yesterday was his birthday (Happy 21st birthday, Seth!!) and today is our 6 month anniversary!  Since he was going to be gone for four weeks – it doesn’t sound like very long but I’m spoiled and get to see him at least once a week – I wanted to come up with a gift that he could look at for the next few weeks. Originally this present would serve as a birthday/anniversary gift to give him at the airport while he’s away but I was able to give him a cribbage board for his birthday yesterday instead since the trip was postponed. I’m saving this present for when he actually leaves. We’ll be able to text and FaceTime while he’s away, but this looked like fun!

I’ve seen these “Open When” letters floating around Pinterest for a while now so why not try them out?

I grabbed some envelopes at Hobby Lobby and also found these cute anchor and striped washi tapes!  I tried to keep the envelopes small since I didn’t know how much room he’d have in his bag for a gift.


After congratulating myself on only spending $13 dollars at Hobby Lobby (gasp), I was ready to start.


I taped two strips of washi tape on each envelope, switching up the direction of the tape.


I came up with 29 letters topics (one explanation “Open Now” one and one for each day he would be gone) and used a Sharpie to write on the envelopes. Let me tell you, coming up with 28 different topic is HARD! I searched around Pinterest and found a few lovely ladies who provided a list of what letter topics they used. The most extensive list was from Jo, My Gosh!.  After pooling them together, I picked my favorites and came up with a few of my own.

Next, I brainstormed what to put in each of the letters. I started this project mid-April because I wanted to have plenty of time to choose little pictures and items that would mean the most for him.

Here are the ones I ended up using with some ideas to include in each envelope (a few will be taken out since the trip was postponed):

  • Open now.
    • Instructions on how these cards work – open one a day and enjoy! Some of the topics may not be relevant during the trip (like the “feeling sick” one hopefully), but it’ll give him something to open if he’s running out.
  • You’re missing home.
    • Pictures of us and his family.
  • You want to open a letter.
    • A random letter about a story or favorite memory. A couple silly drawings and comics.
  • You needed a kiss.
    • I included a note card that I kissed while wearing bright lipstick. Too bad chocolate kisses would melt…
  • You need a smile.
    • A few funny memes I got off Pinterest.
  • You need a laugh.
    • Some inside jokes along with a story of something funny that’s happened.
  • You can’t believe you’re 21!
    • A birthday card.
  • It’s our 6 month anniversary. 
    • This was the first one he opened since “Open Now” doesn’t really count as a day. I included a letter about the 6 months we’ve spent together.
  • You’re frustrated.
    • A note telling him I’m proud of what he’s doing and to keep it up.
  • You need to complain.
    • I included a blank piece of paper for him to write out his complaints with instructions to crumble it up after he was done.
  • It’s a day ending in Y.
    • An excuse to open a random letter.
  • You need to hear how AMAZING you are.
    • A letter with all the reasons I love him in bright colored markers.
  • You’re sightseeing.
    • Take lots of pictures!
  • You need encouragement.
    • I included a couple of bible verses along with words of encouragement.
  • You’ve forgotten what I smell like. 🙂
    • This one was fun! I sprayed a couple of note cards with perfume and hairspray, the two products I use that smell so nice.
  • I’m busy with finals.
    • A random letter.
  • You’re having a bad day.
    • Words of encouragement to keep moving forward!
  • You’re feeling sick.
    • A package of peppermint or cinnamon tea and a get better soon card.
  • You’re happy.
    • A balloon and a note.
  • You’re tired (more than usual :))
    • Earplugs in case it’s loud and he wants to catch a nap.
  • You’re halfway done.
    • A note saying how I can’t wait to see him!
  • You’re sore from training.
    • A meme of Captain America and a note complimenting his muscles. 😉
  • You’re bored.
    • I stuck some small Sudoku, crossword, and maze games in the envelope.
  • I’m being annoying.
    • An apology for anything stupid I might be saying or doing at the time.
  • You’re having a great day.
    • A note saying “Yay!”
  • You need some extra motivation.
    • I included some “inspiration” memes and sayings along with a letter saying he can do anything.
  • You’re having a good day.
    • A note, hoping this is one good day of many. Keep it up!
  • You’re leaving for home tomorrow!
    • A note saying how I can’t wait to see him tomorrow and I hoped he enjoyed the trip.
  • You’re on the plane coming home!
    • It’s the last letter which means I’ll see him very soon!

These letters were so fun to make and they are super easy! I’ll definitely be using them again.

I did end up taking out a few of the letter so there wasn’t one to open every day, and there ended up being around 15. But feel free to use as many as you like!





6 thoughts on “DIY “Open When” Letters

    • missmaddycakes October 25, 2016 / 1:44 pm

      Thank you! Your letters are so cute and I love how you stuck them in a photo album – so smart to keep it together!


  1. Abi Ellison May 20, 2016 / 5:26 am

    What a great post! It was very fun to see what you’re doing for Seth in detail (even more so because I know you both ;)). I had thought about doing Open When letters for my cousin’s graduation, but decided to wait. Spring semesters are always worse 😉 Again, very fun. Artsy and sweet, just like I remember you 🙂


    • missmaddycakes May 21, 2016 / 2:46 am

      Thank you! They were so much fun to make – you should definitely try them sometime 🙂 Aww you’re too sweet!


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