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Blog > Ellen's special mailbox

As lovers of all things snail-mail related, we have a soft spot for postcards featuring postal themes. So naturally, when this particular postcard crossed our paths some time ago, it was an instant favourite!

Postcard featuring Ellen's mailbox

Isn’t it a lovely combination? At the time, we hadn’t realised this particular mailbox actually existed and is was being used daily to receive mail… until one day, someone sent us an email to bring it to our attention! That’s when we learned it belongs to Ellen’s (aka Elfje66) and is hanging outside her studio, in the Dutch village of Zweeloo.

Ellen is a paper artist, and we were happy to talk to her a little bit about her unusual mailbox, and her art works.

Where did the inspiration for your mailbox come from?

In the beginning of 2015 I started to join a 'Stamp my Journal’ project. I fell completely under the spell of making stamp-collages. Since my studio is called El’ Papel (as I am an absolute paper-lover even since I was a little child) I thought it would be great to decorate my mailbox with stamps too!

Ellen and her mailbox

El’ is short for my first name: Ellen and the P from Papel is also the first character of my second name: Peeks. When I started designing and my own company I visited Spain frequently, so that was also a reason for choosing this name. Besides that, I found a lot of insertion in the Spanish culture.

Is it visible from the street? Did other people (or your postman!) notice? What did they say?

Yes, it is visible from the street! When it was placed on the wall our mailman at that time didn’t respond at it at all! I was really disappointed! But he was a moody man… Now we have several mailman (man and woman) and they noticed as soon as we took the mailbox from the wall, as it needs to be redone a bit. Unfortunately most stamps aren’t printed with UV resistant ink :-( So some stamps lost a lot of their color.

Atelier El Papel  mailbox Ellen's postwoman
What do you do, apart from creative mailboxes?

I graduated as graphical & typographical designer. But I work mostly as illustrator, designer of birth announcement cards and making merry paper maché objects (mostly fantasy animals). And I like to upcycle used materials. So stamps fit fairly good with this vision.

I have a website and shop, but unfortunately, the text on my website is in Dutch only… but there are a lot of pictures to take a look at! :-)

Here you also can find some of the Postcrossing cards I designed! Of course these are designs with… stamps. ;-)

Ellen's postcard creations Ellen's postcard creations
How did you find out about Postcrossing?

I remember reading about it in the lovely magazine Flow, but forgot all about it. At some point I noticed a dear (post-)friend of mine showed a lot of foreign cards on her Facebook page. I asked her about this and she told and explained me about Postcrossing. She never should have done, as it is quite addictive ;-) In the meantime I join some Dutch Postcrossing groups on Facebook, big fun! We have meetings, what is very convivial. I now have some special post-friends spread across our little country!


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47 comments so far

ned44440, Ireland
Love the mailbox - very creative 😃 All the stationery is beautiful too. I wish I could be half so artistic. Great blog and thank you for sharing.

iphoto, Australia
Clever use of stamps! LoVe your style Ellen :D

SandraBa, Netherlands
You known I love it ❤️ I sent your postcards for postcrossing all over the world :-)

Purple-Hortensia, Belgium
I have already sent and received Ellen's lovely postcard, and we have met on a meeting :-), wishing you a lot of success in the future :-)

josephvm, India
Wish if I could get one card from her...

Marleen1979, Netherlands
Wonderful blog, love Ellen's creative mind;)

Elfje66, Netherlands
Thank you all so much for the lovely comments! ❤️

Nigella, Netherlands
Gosh! What lovely! I am so proud of you because you are my countryman! Wonderful, colourful cards.

superTess, Netherlands
Geweldig leuk stukje Ellen en beautiful postcards! :)

Gemini17, Netherlands
Leuk om je hier te zien Ellen, ik ben een fan van jouw prachtige postzegelkaarten ! 👍🔝

VincentJJ, Netherlands
Zo zie ja maar Ellen, creativiteit wordt gewaardeerd!

Hermelina63, Netherlands
Leuk stukje Ellen, om trots op te wezen.

juttertje, Netherlands
Mooie kaarten en leuk om je eens te zien!

cariboocarol, Canada
Love your postcards!!

ConstantGardener, United States of America
Very Creative!!!

honeybee, Austria
Beautiful cards, lovely mailbox, nice interview. Thank you so much, Ellen!

Sunnycat1, United States of America
So fun! Thank you for sharing your art and vision!

chrissybaby, Ireland
Love the mailbox :) Wish I had one like like that as well.
I am not an artistic person at all. Great cards as well!

Knerq, United States of America
Very cool!

BethKK, United States of America
I love this story! Is that also a "Little Free Library" on her front wall?

Anori, Germany
Beautiful postcards! I would be very happy to reveived such a postcard.

Luziaceleste, Brazil
What ajoy to see your postcards, Ellen! El'Paper is very interesting. I love to find these creativity around... Congrats and keep bringing up more postcards!!!!

moonlessnite, Canada
Lovely mailbox. the totem that yours as well?

Elfje66, Netherlands
What great reactions! Thank you all so much! ❤️
I love to share this with you!
And indeed, BethKK, also a Little Free Library on the wall! :-)
And the totem pole, moonlessnite, is made by my friend (
He makes i.a. wooden sculptures :-)
The paper woman and the wood man ;-)

LittleCableCars, United States of America
Beautiful artwork, I'm glad my profile says I like handmade cards. Hmm, might steal this idea for postcard boxes.

reson8s, United States of America
What a wonderful PXer! Ellen, your work & your life are magical. We're lucky to cross paths with you! Thanks for this delightful post.

beesknees, United States of America
I found postcrossing through Flow magazine too (a little pricey but worth it) - love the mag and love this post box!

Loli-ts, Spain
Many people says "don't send me handmade postcards"... they don't realize the cand be ART and lovely!! Thaks for sharing!

nugget, United States of America
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

anano, Indonesia
This is creative and fascinating!

geminiscp, Portugal
Very creative! :) Congratulations for the idea! :)

mounten, Italy
Congratulation great work!!!!

kellstarrz, Australia
Wow good work. I love mail and stationary products myself too

altadc, Philippines
Wow! Plus one for creativity!

MarionEggermont, Netherlands
Super gaaf Ellen.

Blogger, United States of America
Your postcards and your mailbox are lovely.

inesaraiva, Portugal
That's so cool and creative!I love it!! Thank you for sharing this, you are very talented! ❤️

gelieas, Philippines
Very creative and I'm loving it.

kugusch, Germany
I love working with paper, too...and I recently received one of the above pictured cards in the mail! Lovely Postcard, great article!

Braam, Australia
Bravo, Ellen! I love your imagination & your talent. I will try to do more UPcycling now. I have used old stamps before to cover a book, & I coated them with a brushing of clear varnish, which helped a bit to protect their colour. Maybe use something similar for that eye-catching (& postcard- catching!) letterbox?! Cheerio, alles van de beste for the Chinese Year of the Red Monkey! from Bev Braam, Sydney.

mapa, Belgium
Lovely! Love the mailbox and the beautifull cards! Where do you find all those stamps???

Travel_By_Cards, United States of America
This is an awesome mailbox and you are a very creative person with your stamps and cards. Please keep up the good work!

Seven7Seven, United States of America
What an awesome mailbox!!! :)

Elfje66, Netherlands
Thank you all for your kind words & compliments! ❤️

deborahmatt, Brazil
I loved your cards!!!! Do you sell them?
Abraços do Brasil!

mdam22, Australia
how wonderfully colourful and creative - beautiful!!

Great article, lovely mailbox! I have a lot of hand painted art hanging outdoors on my fence and also some hand painted adirondack chairs (flowers etc). The paint is acrylic. I have used a product called "Flecto Varathane, Diamond Wood Finish", gloss, has maximum UV protection, is longer lasting, clean up is by water. I have used it over painted wood, painted garden rocks, painted ceramics etc. Some colors like red/purple will fade faster, but in general my chairs have been in the sun for almost 12 years and the colors still look rather reasonable. It is the best product that I have found for preventing fading.

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