* backtack part 1

Posted on September 16th, 2005 by maitreya. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

So, my grand plan for my backtack project is a kit for letterboxing. The idea is, people hide boxes and post clues to their location on the web. In these boxes, there’s usually a stamp and a book. You also bring a stamp and a book. You stamp your book with the stamp in the box, and you stamp their book with your stamp. The stamps are usually handcarved. I started doing this a while back, and it’s pretty fun. Everywhere you go, you end up checking if there are nearby letterboxes. Mostly you hike to them, but lots of them are in city parks. My backtack partner seems pretty outdoorsy (ooh, a hint!), so I think she will like this even though she didn’t really suggest it.

So, this presents several crafting opportunities. First, you need a cute bag to toss in your pack with your stamp, stamp pad, book, compass, clues, and whatnot. I’ve already started the bag. The pattern’s from this Japanese bag-making book, with very useful consultations with my Baked Ideas tutorial for a very similar bag (previous post), and smallhand’s tutorial/translation of the Japanese pattern. I still have to put the lining in, but you get the idea. The awesome fabric was a gift from Amy, and the handle is grosgrain ribbon, doubled and topstitched. I changed the proportions a bit to give it the more rectangular shape and so there’s a seam on the bottom instead of along the sides.


Second, the craft kit will be all about stamp-carving. I don’t have any nifty carving tools myself, but I’m going to get some for the kit. Then, there’s the book. I think I’ll recover a little blank book I have. Finally, there’s the accessories, like stamp pads and maybe a compass. I might also include a book about carving, though there are some nice tutorials on the web so it’s not strictly necessary. We’ll see how much cash I have left at the end, since I have to save some for mailing overseas (ooh another hint!)

13 Responses to “backtack part 1”

  1. Rosemary McCracken Says:

    Oh my gosh! I missed out on Back-Tack II (new blogger), but this has all the makings of a *-along of its own! (I love stamp carving, it’s relatively cheap) Great idea!!

  2. laura r. Says:

    i have been wanting to make this bag & was looking around yesteday & then you post all this valuable information!

  3. Radha Says:

    There’s a clue on the website for a box on the island that Stephen’s school is on, so I think we’ll go try to find it. We’re going to carve a stamp from that Japanese stamp carving kit thing you gave me a year or two ago. There’s another box hidden somewhere in town nearby, too, that we might go looking for. It looked like those were the only two in my area, though..

  4. emmajane Says:

    What a great idea!! A friend of mine does geocaching (letterboxing with a GPS, sort of..) she absolutely loves it! The bag looks fantastic too, congrats!

  5. moki Says:

    I’ve wanted to try letterboxing! I know where one is hid in my town and I think about it everytime I drive by.

  6. Roxanne Says:

    Cool blog! I’m tagging you…see my blog for details.

  7. amy k. Says:

    god, this is sooooo cool. and the bag looks amazing. I need to get more creative for my back-back pal. you have inspiried me and so happy to see what you did the the fabic.

  8. maggie ann Says:

    I’ve never heard of this before! Interesting…and the fabric is very appealing, I like it! lst time visitor, enjoying reading your posts.

  9. hillary Says:

    so cool! I’ve never heard of this before. such a fun idea and just inspired for a back-tack idea! your bt pal is very lucky.

  10. La Fae Says:

    Hooray for letterboxing. I absolutely love it. Handcarved eraser stampsa rea personal passion of mine as are scavenger hunts. I discovered Lb throuhg a friend a year or so ago. I was in awe and awonder!

  11. holly Says:

    i just went on my first letterboxing adventure a few weeks ago. i didn’t find the box, but i did have fun making the stamp and getting my “kit” together!

  12. Siri Says:

    Do you know if that fabric is vintage or new? Somebody made me a triangle shaped pillow when I was little out of what appears to be a similar fabric, if not the exact same. I was just back at my parents house in Seattle last week and found the pillow amongst some things I still have left there. I’ll be back there again in September and I’ll be sure to take another look at it an probably bring it home with me.


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