I wanted a red mailbox. Someday I want to live in a red house with white trim (like the classic Swedish country home). Red makes me happy. Deciding what to do on the red to make it unique and maybe even say a little about me, that took more time.
I didn't want to buy a lot of supplies for this little project, which quickly lead to the decision to use spray paint. That way there was no paint thinner to buy (and then figure out how to dispose of), no brushes to purchase, no temptation to buy lots of colors and then potentially worry about if I had the painting skills to make my ideas happen.
In the end I decided I would make my mailbox into a quilt block - wonderfully geometric and an example of one of my hobbies.
Outdoor gloss spray paint: Main color, Secondary Color and Flag color. You won't need much paint (especially for the flag) so you may be able to use leftovers from other projects.
Drop cloth/cut open trash bag - to protect the ground
- If the mailbox has been in use, wash it with your choice of cleaners. This may take some work if there's pitch or other resistant dirt. Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer is often effective in loosening pine pitch. I also had to remove some paper that had been decopaged on to my mailbox by a previous DIY mailbox decorator.
- Open the mailbox and slide out the pin that holds the flag on. Place the three pieces (pin, flag and circular base for the flag) somewhere safe.
- Spread out your ground covering, make sure there's no breeze (I learned the importance of this the hard way) and spray the entire exterior of the mailbox in your secondary color. Allow to dry according to the directions on the spray paint. I admit I didn't do this step so my secondary color is the mailbox's original, slightly faded black. It worked, but the color looks a bit dull compared to the fresh primary color.
- Using the painter's tape, make a design. There are many (more exact) ways to do this than what I did, but I know myself. If I started trying to measure exact angles and the like, I would have given up in frustration and never completed the project. Instead I opted to use the lines of the mailbox as my guide.
On my mailbox there was a rectangle embossed across the top and sides. I followed the lines of that rectangle with my tape to get started, then used those lines as a point of reference for any lines I added.
- Feel free to experiment. Drawing with tape is very forgiving. I found having a flexible ruler was helpful in making my design reasonably symmetrical.
- No matter what design you make, there are a couple things to keep in mind. 1) make sure your tape ends overlap other pieces of tape. This will create a clean, square end and guard against any primary color finding a way under the tape.
2). When you're done taping, take the time to rub all the pieces of tape, to ensure the edges stick to the mailbox completely. Otherwise you can get some bleed through.
- When you're satisfied with your design, spray the entire box in the primary color and allow to dry. Now is a good time to paint your flag too, if you want to.
- When the paint is dry (really dry, not just tacky) start removing the tape. If you liked peeling dried glue off your hands as a child, you're going to love this.
- Reassemble the flag. Sit back and enjoy what you've created.