New to OWH?


IMPORTANT! Please visit THIS page about our current status
and limited needs – before reading this page and beginning to make any cards.
READ ME FIRST

 

 

 

 

 

and then come back to watch this older message from our Executive Director:

Getting started: Easy as 1-2-3!

First step, request an Operation Write Home red rubber stamp for the back of your cards – for FREE! Our name on the backs assures that military families know where their hero got a card while so far from home—so we get to hear back about the impact we’re having! Order your FREE stamp
Secondly, sign up for our e-mail list! We send out a monthly e-newsletter, with a summary of the most important info from the last month and tips on coming events. That way if you miss any news posted somewhere on our site, you’ll still be kept up-to-date! Sign up for email list
Now
you’re ready for the FAQ below – click on links to go find more information on any given topic, and as you become more familiar with our site and content, you’ll find ever more helpful tips on cardmaking, packing boxes to send to your shipper, and more! Happy cardmaking!

FAQ

What are the guidelines? Our guidelines are in place for the safety of our heroes, for efficiency of our operation, and by specific request of our heroes. Please review the full list here, and print out a guidelines brochure here that summarizes the most important info. How many cards should I send? You can send just a few cards, or more than that – we encourage taking your time and doing your best work, since they’ll be used by America’s best!   Can I send multiples of one card? Yes – with a caveat. Anytime of year we can accept 30 multiples of the same/similar general-themed cards, since we can take time to spread them out over weeks of shipments. (Only one or two of a single design goes into each box, for variety.) However during HOLIDAY seasons, we ask that the number be reduced to 25, and they should be sent early so we have time to spread them out. When they arrive just at or past the deadline, many will need to be saved for the following year, and we don’t want to store more in our homes than necessary. Do I need to send envelopes? Yes, they are required, AND if you can tuck the cards and sort them by categories as you pack your box, it helps our shippers so much! They put in crazy volunteer hours of labor preparing the shipments, and your assistance is crucial to letting them have a little family time. A link to discounted envelopes is here. Do I need to send postage stamps for each card? No, lettermail is free for our heroes to send home. Do cards have to have sentiments on them? You may include sentiments on the outside of your cards, on the inside, both, or neither. Sentiments may not be HANDWRITTEN. Blank cards are very versatile, so if you have no sentiment stamps, just leave it with a pretty design! How are shipping costs covered? Individual donations primarily cover  our expenses. You may include a donation along with your cards if you wish – or PayPal it right now – to ensure our work continues! Gifts are tax deductible, and you will receive an email receipt for each shipment you send in if you include a packing slip. Read more about our stewardship here. Can I write a letter to a hero? Yes! We hope everyone puts AnyHero cards/letters in every package too. Can my children be involved? Yes! Kids are only to make cards with notes in them for our heroes to keep. Lots of info is here if you’re interested! Can scouts, seniors, or brand new cardmakers do this? Inexperienced crafters should consider making AnyHero cards at first, writing a note inside the card to a hero. It takes the pressure off to make something fancy, while learning the ropes of cardmaking! As experience takes over, you’ll be ready to roll! How do I pack cards? Envelopes or boxes are fine – make sure they don’t float around inside the package and destroy each other. And be certain to include a packing slip - so we can credit you with your tax-deductible donation, and email you to let you know your package arrived. Where do I send the cards? To any of our three regional shippers here. What are the most needed card themes?  General cards work great all year long – thinking of you, hello, blank ones can be purposed by our heroes for any occasion. They also ask for love, missing you, thank you, and birthday cards. For seasonal cards, refer to the holiday deadlines calendar. Can I see some examples of cards that are sent in? Yes! We have a card gallery full of ideas, and keep up with our blog as well; new samples are posted there for each of our challenges all week long. On our Facebook page and Pinterest board we also post cards daily – so there’s a great photo gallery collected there, too! Newbies might be especially interested in the Before/After board. What is the best way to get more questions answered? Our Facebook is a great resource; even if our volunteers who monitor emails are busy, lots of crafters are on Facebook and ready to help you out at any time. What are the holiday deadlines? They’re posted here, and are generally 6-8 weeks prior to the holiday itself; that allows time for processing, shipping to our heroes, time for them to get them written, and back home before the holiday. Are there problem cards that I shouldn’t send? Our shippers have to repair cards that are falling apart due to poor quality (or not enough) cardstock or adhesive, or adding liners inside cards too dark to write on with a pencil – so staying out of the “card hospital” is a big help. Our biggest no-no is glitter – it not only makes our heroes visible to night vision goggles, but it also will contaminate all your other cards, so removing it from your stash before sending is a good idea. How can I improve my cardmaking? Follow our Stars and Stamps blog to see tutorials, samples, videos and more – many of our crafters have told us they have improved drastically since joining up with OWH….from practice as well as learning! Visit our cardmaking glossary if you’re confused by terminology used; see a list of Cardmaking 101, 201, and 301 level tutorials. What happens to my cards when they arrive at my shipper’s address? The package is first checked for a  packing slip and for Operation Write Home on the backs; then cards are sorted by theme and put onto shelves to await packing up day. If no envelopes are provided, or cardbacks are not stamped or labeled, the cards are set aside until the shipper has time to tuck them. When enough cards are gathered to pack a bunch of boxes, our shipper begins dealing them out into each box so that every card is different than the last – See the video on the Mailroom page for a view of what cards go through. Do real people actually receive these cards? Oh yes! Check out the Hero Blog for hundreds of thankyou notes! I’m pretty new to cardmaking. What do all these words mean that you’re using? Check out our Cardmaking Glossary!

Our Before/After board on Pinterest shows some great examples of simple ways to take a card from so-so to “wow” with a few easy changes.

We have plenty of resources to help everyone learn…and we get so excited watching everyone grow in their crafting skills! Our best advice for new crafters is to take your time and pour lots of love into your cards.


39 Comments

  1. Jessica

    Every card I make, I put a custom-made “Handmade By Jessica Justice” label on the back each card I Made. Can I use my custom-made label?

    • Yes you may, Jessica, no problem! We do ask that things on the back be limited in the amount of space they take up; some folks put a bunch of stickers and stamps all over, and our heroes might want the back for continuing their letter. So just put your label and the OWH stamp at the bottom and you’re good to go!

      • Jessica

        Ok cool! I can make my label smaller. It’s no problem. :0)

  2. I live in Spain, is there any way I can contribute without having to pay postage?

    • You’d still have to mail your cards in :( Do you live on base there? At least mail from APOs is the same cost as domestic mail…

  3. Michele

    I just found your site – what does ‘tucked’ mean – the card in the envelope, or just tucked under the flap? Thanks

  4. Michele

    I just found your site – what does ‘tucked’ mean – the card in the envelope, or just tucked under the flap? Thanks

    never mind – I just viewed the video & saw the information

  5. My boyfriend is in the Navy and is deployed overseas. My birthday was in August, and to my surprise a beautiful card came in the mail for me. I noticed the stamp on the back and wanted to visit the website to say thank you! It is so hard being away from him and missing a lot of important dates, but it’s things like this that make it so much easier on us both! Thank you again! I look forward to participating in making cards myself now that I know about this site =)

  6. Is glimmer mist acceptable?

  7. I have a couple of questions before starting OWH:

    1) When I make cards, I usually write sentiments on them using paint markers. Whenever I handwrite on my cards, I use a ruler to make my lines and circles to make my curves- can I still handwrite on my cards?
    2)Do we have to include envelopes?
    3)Can I partner up with my friend to make our OWH cards?
    4)I’m only almost 14 (in a month), but I have been making cards non-stop for a whole year (that’s a lot of experience). I was super excited to discover your OWH because, it combines the pleasure of crafting and giving back to our heroes and their families. May I please make regular cards if my parents send them, or am I still limited to only AnyHero card?
    5) Does making these cards for our heroes count toward community service hours?
    6)If they do, how do my friend and I receive credit for them?
    7)Do I need to limit the card designs to a specific gender, or are any designs acceptable?

    -Thanks, and I can’t wait to start!

    • Hi Jelli! Here are the answers:
      1, No handwritten sentiments, as the guidelines state. There’s a link that explains it more, but we can’t send those.
      2. Yes, our policy changes as of Jan 1 2013; it’s just too much labor for our volunteer shippers to tuck everyone’s cards.
      3. Yes, make cards with your friends! :)
      4. It depends on what you make; lots of kids love to get crafty, but their cards aren’t always the kinds our heroes are wanting to send home. Check out the gallery to see if your cards are like those – if so, rock on! http://operationwritehome.org/cards
      5/6. Yes! Just send the form you need filled out and we’ll do that. Usually your school will have a form, and it’ll list the guidelines etc. You can send it in with your cards or email it once your cards are done.
      7. Any gender is fine :)
      Thanks!
      Sandy

      • Kaitlyn

        Hello,
        I made a bunch of any hero cards, and was wondering if I could put my email in the cards so I could hear from the soldiers who get them?
        Thanks

  8. Hello. I live in France and I love what you do. I would like to know how I can participate and make cards for you as I have no base or shipper close by.
    I left a message on the fb wall and some very sweet persons told me that even international crafters are welcome to help but I don’t quite understand the process for someone overseas.
    Hope you can provide me with some answers so I can jump it and start creating for your heroes.
    Thanks in advance.
    Nadège

  9. Shelley

    What weight cardstock is acceptable? The cardstock at Michaels and JoAnn’s is only 65 lb.. Stamping up paper is 80 lb . Where is the best place to get cardstock, especially in assorted color packages? Thanks!

  10. Deanna phipps

    I thought I saw on the OWH page something about buying evnelopes in bulk am I wrong? Now that i am participating in OWH i’ll need more evelopes

    OWH Our Wonderful Heros. It just came to me

  11. A couple of ?s: First is embossing powder acceptable as long as it doesn’t have glitter on it? Also, can I put my name on the back of the card along with the OWH stamp or just the OWH stamp?

  12. I plan to sign up for this program – have been looking for something my niece and I can do together. I see that most of your cards are “scrapbooked”. I prefer to paint mine – is that acceptable?

    • I think so? As long as they follow the guidelines, etc. Use some nice paper so they don’t crinkle with paint :)

      • I was thinking along the lines of pen & ink with watercolor, using watercolor paper, which absorbs the water and doesn’t crinkle. It’s easy to cut to size. My niece and I made our first cards yesterday – so exciting!! Now I just have to order a stamp. Thanks for the comments back.

  13. I have 20 cards to send out Thursday! I am looking forward to beinga great part of this group!!

  14. Can we use pre-colored clip art on the cards, I have tons of cute clip art from PcCrafters ( too bad they are no longer in business ) but they have some really cute designs. Some did come in black/white so I can ‘color’ those, but my favorites are the pre-colored ones. Thank you !

    • Yes, Debbie, those are fine because they’re specifically made for paper crafting. If you are on the OWH FB page, you’ll see a few other card makers use those from time to time as well.

  15. Thanks so much Kathryn, I’ve enjoyed looking at the cards being made …. I have my supplies ready, just need time now to get started !

  16. Brandy Eckenroth

    I love this encouraging and inspiring website <3

  17. Rhonda Taylor

    Omg…! I got a Mother’s Day card from my son. It was so special, not only because it was from him, but that someone took the time to make such a beautiful card. I love it. The name in the back is J Canne. If you see this, thank you soooo much.

  18. Lynn Gee

    1. I print my cards on a printer with my company logo and email on the back. Can I continue to do this? 2. Do I have to use a rubber stamp to put in your name/logo or can I design it to be automatically printed on the back of the cards – (saves manual labor.)

  19. Hi, My name is Allyson and I am an Ohio card designer. My cards with envelopes are made of origami paper, wood hearts or stars, marker, ink, and
    soft ribbon tied on the side.Would you like a sample? Please let me know who to send it to. Many thanks.

    • Hi Alice. My only concern would be the wood embellishments. Please see our guidelines for cardmaking – I think that will give you a good idea of what can and can’t be mailed. Click on addresses at the top of this page for mailing info. Also click on “get busy” for tons of info, videos and tutorials. Hope you will join us!

  20. Jayde Cropper

    Can you be British and still send them to OWH?

    • Absolutely! I know we have cardmakers from Canada as well, so please feel free to join in the fun!

  21. May I make my cards any size if I provide envelopes for them? Thank you.

  22. Hi! I have a question regarding cards for soldiers. Do you only want handmade cards or will you accept store bought cards as well? What about the note cards that organizations like the Paralyzed Veterans and the Sierra Club send? If you will accept cards other than handmade, I have a bunch for you!!

    • No, as the guidelines clearly state right above, no storebought cards or parts of them. That includes the freebies. Those are not the high quality handmade cards our heroes desire.

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