diy projects

Mailbox Update & DIY

post-mailbox-diy Mail is kind of a big deal to me. Why you ask? I have a background in print design and I love sending and receiving snail mail. It so much more personal! Because of my love for mail (and curb appeal), I’m sharing an awesome and affordable mailbox DIY that jazzes up any plain, boring mail fixture. This is probably the post simple DIY I’ve ever posted. Click through to read about my mailbox update and get the project details.

After living in Ohio without a mailbox, I realllllly appreciate having a mail courier in Salt Lake. I used to walk to the post office every single day to retrieve my mail. That doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but eventually it gets old and is pretty inconvenient in bad weather. This time around, we have a wall-mounted mailbox… as in, it’s attached to the house. We pretty much went from the most inconvenient mail situation to the most convenient. I don’t even have to walk to the end of my driveway! I truly feel like I’ve won the mailbox lottery. So what’s the problem, you ask?

Do you guys remember me snapping the UGLY mailbox upon moving into our new home? Check out the before image below in case you missed it. It doesn’t get much worse than that. I knew after the exterior door was replaced (more on that next week), we would have to give the mailbox vignette a little love. Unfortunately, that meant nixing it all together, but I’m pretty sure the old box was original to the home and had a good long run.

ugly-mailbox-before I knew I wanted something simple, budget friendly, and large enough to fit newspapers and magazines. I fell in love with this pretty box from Rejuvenation, but couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money. I landed on a durable, minimal mailbox from the Home Depot… knowing I wanted to add something to it. Before I get into that, I selected this mailbox because it’s powder coated and resistant to rust. The last thing I wanted to do is purchase a mailbox that will scratch, dent, and look shabby in a few years time.

simple-black-mailbox Let’s dive into the DIY! As a graphic designer, typography is important to me- really important. The thing I loved most about the Rejuvenaton box was that it used the word “post” rather than “mail”… it felt different and European. For some reason I was attracted to that! Long story short, I designed custom type for my new mailbox (download it here if you’d like to add it to your own box). I also wanted it to look a little bolder than the Rejuvenation version, so it would stand out in a busy front entry vignette.

What you’ll need for this project:
– Vinyl lettering (send this file to your preferred shop)
– Everyday surface cleaner (I used Method)
– Paper towels
– Ruler
– Pencil
– Mailbox
– Bone folder or squeegee

vinyl-mailbox-diy Step 1 // Order the decal. Luckily, my first graphic design job in high school was working for a local vinyl and sign shop. My time there opened my eyes to so many possibilities when it came to projects like this. I’m still great friends with the owner and asked if she could run the artwork I designed through the plotter. Within a week, I had my vinyl letters and was ready to adhere the type to my mailbox.

Usually these small projects cost anywhere from $5 to $35. Any local sign or vinyl shop can do this for you- or you can even contact the same place that cut my letters and they’ll gladly mail a decal to you. If you’re not into my design, you can also ask them to layout something different. The possibilities are endless. You could add your address, your last name, a monogram, your house number, post, mail… whatever you want!

Step 2 // Clean the mailbox. It’s important to wipe the surface with household cleaner, making sure all the dirt, dust, and debris is wiped away. Allow the mailbox to dry completely before proceeding.

mailbox-update-and-diy Step 3 // Measure and mark a placement line. Depending on your decal, the top paper will be lined to the top or bottom of the lettering. Mark a level line that will help you know where to position the artwork once you’re ready to install.

mail-diy Step 4 // Gently peel back the decal. Taking the top paper, gently pull the corner upward, lifting the vinyl lettering away from the backing. Make sure the lettering is pulling away… sometimes when decals are mailed and exposed to weather, they want to stick to the backing paper.

vinyl-mailbox-lettering Once peeled, it should look like this… reversed type on the sticky material. Be careful not to touch the letters. Any dirt, fingerprints, or dust that clings to the backside will result in an uneven decal. You’ll definitely notice once it’s installed!

lettering-diy Step 5 // Position the decal. Since my backing paper was lined to the bottom of the type (see the smallest bit of lettering poking out the bottom?), I carefully placed the type baseline onto the guideline I previously sketched with pencil. Tag the corners so the paper is sticking to the box, but the center decal is loosely resting on the surface.

mailbox-diy Step 6 // Apply the decal. Using a bone folder or squeegee (or even a credit card), apply pressure and swipe from top to bottom in a single motion. Continue with a few more passes until you’re confident it’s stuck to the mailbox. When doing this in cold weather, a hairdryer may be needed. It was pretty chilly in Salt Lake when I did this project- around 40 degrees. I definitely used the dryer to make sure everything was nice and permanent, baking the decal onto the surface. It needs to get pretty hot. I used my standard hair dryer on high heat for 10 minutes, holding it less than an inch away from the surface. Again, this is only necessary for cold weather or if you’re working with a tricky mailbox texture.

mailbox-lettering-diy Step 7 // Remove the backing paper. Gently remove the backing paper, as well as your pencil mark. You can use an eraser or household cleaner to remove the line.

mailbox-lettering That’s it! The decal will last for years (3-12 depending on the material) and is a permanent addition to your mailbox. I sort of love looking at the before and after… such a huge difference!

before-and-after I’ll find any excuse to send a handwritten note or card. In fact, my grandma and I have been sending the same Christmas card back and forth for 10+ years now. We date and a write a new note each holiday. Anyway, this little project made me so happy and it certainly helped the curb appeal of our new home in a big way. Stay tuned for the front entrance reveal next week to see the mailbox in a vignette along with a new front door, my vintage door knocker, updated house numbers, and a new outdoor plant!

wall-mount-mailbox-diy So what do you think? Are you guys going to give this one a try? How do you feel about the word post vs. mail? Let’s take a vote!! Shop the post below for more wall-mounted mailboxes.

18 Comments

  • Reply
    Dana Moss
    November 7, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Gorgeous! Love this DIY. I wish we had a front door mailbox. Ours is across the street in our neighbor’s yard, lol. Looking forward to updating our beaten down mailbox someday.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 7, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks, Dana! I can’t even believe I get mail delivered to my house. Ha! Such a nice change. Glad you liked this one! Fingers crossed for your new mailbox soon. xo

      • Reply
        Colette
        January 7, 2017 at 11:48 pm

        I love this and want to make it. I’m trying to download the vinyl lettering in Dropbox and file seems to be blank. Any chance you could help me
        Thanks for your time

        • Reply
          Sarah
          January 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm

          Hi Colette, sorry about that! I realized after moving some things around the link was broken. I’ve updated the post, and you can also download the template here. Thank you! xo

          • Colette
            January 8, 2017 at 5:02 pm

            Thank you!! So glad I get to make this now!!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Telfer
    November 7, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I love this – so simple but looks really great!!

  • Reply
    Amy
    November 7, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Sarah,
    Any thoughts on good online resources for decals- would like to make house #’s.
    Amy

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 7, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Hi Amy, I actually have a post on house numbers scheduled! Stay tuned. xo

  • Reply
    Mei
    November 8, 2016 at 5:07 am

    This is something I’ve been wanting to do since moving into our fixer upper 3+ years ago. Our mailbox is terrible…and what do you know…it’s the exact same one as your old one! Except (a terribly dirty) white. Thank you for the budget friendly DIY!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      I feel your pain, Mei! So glad you liked this budget DIY. Good luck! xo

  • Reply
    Ardith
    November 8, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Night-to-day improvement, Sarah. Your post box looks fab. Cheers, Ardith

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you, Ardith!! xo

  • Reply
    Suzanne Severns
    November 18, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Sarah, If I call HD Graphics in Orleans and ask for your Post letters will they know what I’m talking about or what should I ask for. I’m so excited to do this and thrilled to have found your feed just days ago. Thank you for all you do!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Hi Suzanne! Yes ma’am. Give them a call (812-865-1498) and ask for Nikki. Be sure to tell her I sent you! She has the template on file :) Let me know if you have any trouble at all. xo

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    November 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Sarah!!
    Nikki was so kind and helpful. Thank you so much for all of YOUR help!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      She’s a gem!! So glad she was able to help you. Let me know how the project goes, Suzanne! xo

  • Reply
    Elena
    November 27, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Sarah, what is the height of the letters?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 28, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Elena, they’re 1.5″ tall. xo

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