Swap Hosting 101: Part 1
By Dana Driscoll
Hosting swaps can be a fun and exciting step for any Mail Artist to take, although the logistics of hosting
a swap can be challenging! As someone who has hosted over forty swaps, I’ve provided examples,
instructions, and suggestions for how to make your first hosting experience a success. This article
walks you through hosting a Mail Art swap with suggestions and tips to keep you organized. In this
two-part article series, I’ll cover how to choose a swap theme, write clear swap guidelines, storing
and organizing cards. In the second part, I’ll cover swapping cards out, mailing cards, and possible
problems that can arise in swaps.
Why Host a Swap?
A number of reasons exist for why people host swaps, including the “fun-factor,” the ability to build a
collection of cards, and the community connection.
First of all, hosting swaps are a lot of fun. I love coming up with new themes, and then getting to see all
of the cards that people create! To me, seeing the new cards alone is worth the commitment of swap
hosting. It’s fun to see how different artists interpret a theme or how swap participants can use the
same medium so differently. I also really enjoy posting challenging and fun swaps!
The second reason to host is that you are able to build a collection of themed cards. I often host swaps
for themes that I am interested in collecting—like trees, a favorite theme of mine. When the cards
arrive, I will get to see all of the wonderful inspirational trees and also pick out some of my favorites.
A third reason to host the swap is that it contributes to the mail art community and helps you build
relationships with other traders. I have many participants who have joined swap after swap that I run,
and through this I have gotten to know them and their art quite well. I enjoy building friendships through
Choosing a Swap Theme
Mail Art swaps come in all shapes, sizes, and themes! You can run a few different kinds of swaps, but
the two mos