A couple of weeks ago I shared 14 easy DIY projects to update your curb appeal, and it REALLY made me think about our poor neglected front yard. Everyday I come home I look at my plain ‘ol beat up mailbox and want to change it. I have wanted to do something about it forever, but didn’t actually do anything until this last week.We bought our house 5 years ago and have barely done anything to this little 1920′s home. Home improvement projects can be intimidating/pricey/and so very final. Know what I mean?
So, I got some guts and changed the mailbox. The best part about this project: it was free for me. I already had all the supplies to fix up this old guy. If you don’t have a crazy supply of spray paint/wood/and glue lying around, not a problem. It may cost you around $15 to update your dated mailbox.
- an old mailbox
- medium-grit sandpaper
- white metal primer spray paint
- gold spray paint
- hot pink spray paint
- clear acrylic sealer spray
- E6000 adhesive
- black acrylic paint
- roughly 42 inches of 2 inch wide x 1/4 inch thick pine wood (the amount you need will depend on your mailbox)
Remove any lose paint and rough up the metal surface with the medium-grit sandpaper.
Remove any dirt/dust with a wet rag.
Spray in the inside of the mailbox: In a well ventilated area (preferably outside wearing a mask and eye protection), spray paint the inside of your mailbox with multiple coats of the white primer (following dry time instructions on your paint can). Follow the primer with 2 – 3 coats of hot pink spray paint. Let the inside of your mailbox dry completely (24 hours +). When the paint has had a chance to dry for 24 + hours, cover the inside surface of the mailbox with painters tape and plastic to protect it from this next step.
Spray the outside of the mailbox: In a well ventilated area (preferably outside wearing a mask and eye protection), spray paint the outside of your mailbox with multiple coats of the white primer, following dry time instructions on your paint can. Follow the primer with multiple coats of gold spray paint. I applied around 6 coats of this stuff. Let the inside of your mailbox dry completely (48 hours +).
Note: metal can be difficult to paint. If not done properly, it will peel or chip off easily. It’s pretty important to follow your spray paint instructions on your can. I find getting all the coats of paint done within 2 – 3 hours is best. If you wait too long in between coats, sometimes the paint will bubble. Applying multiple thin coats of paint will help avoid drips of paint.
When I finished the painting steps I decided I really didn’t like the fleur de lis piece of the mailbox, so I pried it off and added a wooden frame over the space.
I used 42 inches of 2 inch wide by 1/4 thick pine wood. Your amount will depend on the size of your mailbox. You’ll need two pieces for the front, and 4 little pieces for the side. Measure out your wood pieces for the front and sides. Use a mitor box and saw to cut angled corners for your wood pieces.
Note: Don’t have a mitor box or saw? You can find them for pretty cheap at any home improvement store, or you can skip the side pieces and just put the wood on the front of the mailbox. I think that would still look lovely.
Use your E6000 adhesive to glue the wood pieces onto your mailbox. Let the adhesive dry overnight.
Create a house number template on your computer and print it out. The font size will depend on your mailbox. Cut out the font template you made. Use a pencil to trace the numbers in the center of the wood frame. FYI: I used the free Chunkfive font for my template.
Use a fine point paintbrush to carefully paint the black acrylic paint into your traced numbers on the wood. Let the paint dry a couple hours and use a pencil to erase any left over pencil marks.
Let’s finish this project! Use your clear acrylic spray to seal the whole mailbox. Note: the spray will dull the gold a bit and darken the wood, but it will add some more protection to the paint and wood (so it was worth it in my mind). Let the spray dry for 24 – 48 hours.
Install your fancy new mailbox!
I’m so happy with how this turned out (my favorite part is the pop of hot pink inside).
- Chelsey, The Paper Mama
In just a few short weeks the OFFICIAL start to Fall will be here. That means school starting, less vacation, and yeah… less sunshine (at least in Oregon). I don’t know about you, but I needed a small update to my calendar and work area. That’s what inspired my Calendar Work Station.
For this creation I wanted to use ALL materials I already had at my home. Some leftover plywood from building our chicken coop, old jars, rubber bands, and some spray paint that was almost gone; all this went into creating this project. Technically this calendar work station cost me nothing, but if I really calculated the original cost for all the needed items: under $15. This is a very relaxed and easy to recreate DIY. Hopefully very little stress. Here’s how I made it:
- 13 inches wide by 30 inches high piece of plywood
- Two small shelf brackets
- Some wood that will have a final measure of 11 inches long by 6 inches wide
- Mini document clips
- Four large rubberbands
- 3 small canning jars with bands and lids
- E6000 adhesive
- Contact paper
- Painter’s tape
- Small amounts of primer + paint spray paint
- Cut your wood. We had some leftover wood pieces that I started with, but you can always go to Lowes and they’ll cut a couple sizes for you.
- Print out the Weekday Letters printout. Place the letters under the contact paper, then trace with a pen.
- Cut out the letters with a sharp X-acto knife. From here you can decide if you’d like your calendar to start with Sunday or Monday. Just move the S’s around to where you need them. I chose to go with Monday – Sunday, so both S’s were at the end of the letters.
- Peel the paper off the sticky contact paper and apply it to the plywood. Press down the contact paper very well, to hopefully prevent bleeding when painting.
- Tape off the rest of the plywood to prep for the spray paint. I used a paper bag and painters tape to create a couple of lines to spray gold on the board.
- Spray the letters and lines of the board. I chose black for the letters and gold for the lines. Let dry, then peel off tape/contact paper.
- Optional: Spray paint the shelf boards, shelf brackets, and jar bands. Let dry.
- Screw the shelf brackets onto the bottom of the shelf boards.
- Prep the jar lids for hanging under the shelf. Use E6000 to adhere the jar lids to the jar bands. Let dry.
- Evenly arrange the glued jar lids on the bottom of the shelf. Screw them into the shelf.
- Center and screw the prepped shelf onto the bottom section of your plywood board.
- Print out the calendar and notes (trim as needed). On the calendar, number the days of the month you are currently in.
- Space out the the four large rubber bands on the plywood board and place the calendar + notes. Secure with the mini document clips.
- Fill your jars and screw them under the shelf.
- Add some goodies to the shelf.
- Hang, enjoy.
Also, let your little kiddo help you decorate your shelf… and you may have a fun shark added to the work station. Hee.
Happy organized Fall!
- Chelsey, The Paper Mama
Trend: Filing Cabinet Side Table
The ‘ol filing cabinet, once used for organizing our many MANY papers, is now headed towards extinction. I don’t know about you, but the majority of my bills and other items are digital and saved on my mass storage drive. I’m no longer weighed down with a crazy collection of wasted paper. So, what do we do with this “antique” filing systems? We find a new use.
I found this little file cabinet at a thrift shop for $5. It was scratched/dented and not the prettiest color. I always see these cabinets hanging around at thrift shops and this got me thinking… how can I reuse these relics? I turned this short tabletop file cabinet into a little side table. To see how I did this, check it out below.
- First, clean up your filing cabinet. Then, use some painters tape to cover up anything you don’t want painted. I wanted to keep the silver handles clean for this side table. I used an X-acto knife to trim off any excess tape. Pull out the drawers to spray separately.
- Next, in a well ventilated space (preferably outdoors), spray two layers of primer paint. Let it dry at least an hour.
- Add some color! I used 3 layers of a pale blue spray paint, from Valspar. Since this color ONLY came in matte, I added a shiny clear coating over the entire table. Let dry for at least 48 hours.
- Prep your table legs. I liked the shape and style of the Waddell Table Legs, from Lowes. The only down side, the legs were way too tall for a side table. SO, I cut each leg down to 14.5 inches high and drilled a hole (using a 5/16 inch wood drill bit) to add a new hole for each table leg. Add these 5/16 inch hanger bolts to replace the bolt section you cut off on these legs.
- Place these table leg tops on each corner of the bottom of the cabinet and use a permanent marker to mark a hole in the center. Use a 5/16 inch metal drill bit to drill a hole for each corner.
- Put each table leg top on the INSIDE of the cabinet, in each corner, and screw in the legs (one at a time).
- Place in your office, living room, studio, or right next to your table. Enjoy.
ENJOY! I use this little table to store my ribbons, tapes, and other things I need quickly.
- Chelsey, The Paper Mama