Victorian Letter Holder

A letter holder was an item Victorian ladies like to create because not only was it functional but it was also another item on which they could display their handiwork. These holders could be quickly and easily made or they could be very time consuming and intricate. How fancy they were was dependent upon where the letter holder was to be placed. If in a public space, the lady of the house might want to impress visitors with her handiwork and make it very fancy. If it were to be placed in the family area, nice and neat, but not necessarily fancy, would be in order. Since most Victorians were prolific letter writers, a letter holder would have been a convenient, if not an absolute necessity.

Below you will find directions for a letter holder that would be fit for the "public" rooms of the house. Although the instructions that follow were published in 1889, most, if not all the items, can be purchased today.

Ornamental and Useful Letter Holder

This pretty and useful article may be easily made, and in point of convenience will more than repay the little trouble necessary to its construction. The foundation may be of wire or splint-work, or a grass table mat with serrated edges. In this case it is nothing but pasteboard, and the pointed border is formed of straws that were soaked in warm water until they were pliable Victorian Letter Holderenough to be bent into the shapes illustrated. After they were bent they were interwoven and sewed to the foundation. The back of the latter was next covered with yellow satin, though silesia would have done as well. Then the upper half of the front was smoothly overlaid with olive velvet that was gummed down at its edges, but might have been sewed quite as well. Another section of velvet folded over at the top, and lined with yellow satin, was next secured to the lower half and forms the pocket. Over the circular edges of the velvet a narrow puffing of olive satin was next fastened, and hung with tiny gilt bells; and finally olive and yellow satin ribbons intermingled as represented, was added as a means of suspending it from the wall and at the same time handsomely completing it. The lettering seen upon the pocket is done in gilt thread, though yellow floss would be quite as effective. The envelopes may be bona fide, or they may be imitated in painting or embroidery. In this case sections of Bristol board were cut out and with India ink out-lined to represent the front and back of an addressed envelope; a postage stamp was added and then they were gummed in place. Wire frames, gilded, silvered or bronzed may be used in making holders of this description, and to reduce the expense and at the same time make almost as pretty an effect, a heavy silk cord may take the place of the ribbon.

A letter holder is a great craft that can give your home that "Victorian" feel for little money. It would also make a great gift for anyone who loves Victorian style items.

If you make one and would like to share the results with others, contact me.

We all like to see how others interpret instructions to projects. Your creation could inspire someone to make their own. Who's letter holder will be displayed here first? Any takers?

Return to top of page.

Return from Letter Holder to Victorian Crafts page

The Last and Best Book of Art Needlework
The Last and Best of Art Needlework, 1895
Over 100 pages of authentic Victorian instructions and patterns from 1895!

Beeton's Book Of Needlework
433 pages!

Sign up for VEAC! Everything you wanted to know about Victorian embroidery, needlework, crafts and more!

Your E-mail Address
Your First Name

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you VEAC.

Priscilla Bead Work Book
Priscilla's Bead Work Book, 1912
Make Beautiful Victorian Beaded Purses, Jewelry & Accessories - Starting TODAY!

Site Build It!