$500 for a mailbox and post! No way! Do it for next to nothing. It’s really very easy to do.
Every time I would go to get the mail the entire upper portion would shake as I struggled to pull the plastic mailbox door open. Each time I was nervous that this faded box with peeling stickers was finally going to fall off and come crashing to the ground. It had one small rusty bracket attached to the backside that was preventing this from happening. There was also some old caulk between the cross beam and the upper post that was dirty and worn, but was also just barely doing it’s job.
I planned on fixing this. My thought was complete replacement. I searched and searched for the perfect mailbox and post system. I found it. It was over $500.00. But, it came with a plaque with my address on it. I kept trying to justify it in my mind. The luxurious catalog with overpriced kitchen appliances, furniture, cleaning products, garage maintenance, shelving systems, etc. kept coming and tempting me, telling me “oh, but your front entrance and entire yard could look this good, if only you purchased this mailbox.”Ha, I had them beat.” I thought to myself. I knew the brand and could get it for just a few dollars less on their website (still over $500.00 dollars).
My mind kept going and I just couldn’t wrap it around paying that much for a mailbox. Then I saw it, my dream mailbox in another subdivision. Worn from the sun and with bird poop all over it (along with what looked like mini concertina wire on top to keep the birds from pooping on – which didn’t work). It scewed my vision of that perfect yard and perfect garden topped off with the finest of the fine mailboxes.
This is when I decided to get creative. I searched pictures of diy mailboxes. Some of which I liked; some of which where creative, but odd. Nothing compared to my delusions of grandeur that these magazine photos had created. I was going to keep searching.
That night the wind was coming from the west at 30 mph. Somehow it caught that crossbeam just right and flipped the entire upper portion backwards on the post. Holding on by the rusty bracket the mailbox was upside down on the wrong side of the main post. My husband left first in the morning and as is typical, did not notice anything different. When I left about a half an hour later I certainly noticed. I stopped and yanked that last piece off like yanking out a tooth that is holding on by a string. I put it on the ground next to the mailbox – we did not receive mail that Friday.
I quickly realized that my mailbox transformation was coming sooner than I had anticipated. It needed to be done quickly if I wanted to receive mail – if I wanted to receive any more of those catalogs with the expensive mailboxes. So, I quickly got to work.
I went to my local Ace Hardware and checked out their mailboxes. I decided that I really liked the look of the oversized copper Gibraltar mailbox. I searched for numbers and a post cap, also in copper. No such luck. The post cap available was only in black plastic. There were beautiful numbers in nickel and bronze that were $8.99 each. I looked at those and looked at the black plastic numbers available for $.99. It was easy to make up my mind. I purchased the mailbox, the post cap, the 6 $.99 numbers, and a can of copper paint.
At home I had a left over metal Ikea shelf bracket. This would work perfectly as a brace under the cross beam. Although functional it was also ornate enough to act as a pretty accent, but not too much to take away from the simplicity look that I was going for. I painted that copper and it looked even better than I first envisioned.
I had a fraction of a 2×6 that was left over from another project, some sample paint in the color I have been thinking about repainting the trim on the house, and some leftover wood putty. The main post seemed pretty sturdy and stable.
- PREP WORK: I began by using the wood putty to fill in any gaps, cracks, or holes in the main post. Then began building a newspaper while the putty dried.
2. BUILDING A NEWSPAPER BOX: I looked online and decided on a shape and look for my mailbox. I took measurements. Using a circular saw I cut the pieces to the size I needed. On either side I adjusted the bevel for a 45 degree angle cut. I drilled three holes along the upper and lower portion of each side (for a total of 12) and used screws to hold the box together. I painted the box and the upper extension post.
NOTE: Please take into consideration the United States Post Office Mailbox Guidelines when choosing your mailbox design and taking measurements. (fig a. and fig b. are directly from the United States Post Office website, usps.com)
3. PAINT ALL ACCENT PIECES. Since I wanted a nice, uniform look, and because I had picked out a copper mailbox. I painted the numbers, the post cap and a metal bracket copper.
4. SAND AND PAINT THE POST. I chose to wait until the following day to finish my project. I sanded the post and painted it.
5. ATTACH NEWSPAPER BOX TO POST. I used 4 screw to screw the box directly onto the top of the post in all 4 corners. I attached the metal bracket to the post and the under side of the newspaper box.
6. ATTACH UPPER POST. I attached the upper post using a screw on each side and drilling inward at an angle. I now had my platform for my mailbox.
7. ATTACH MAILBOX. I attached my Gibraltar Mailbox per instructions.
8. ADD ACCENT PIECES. I nailed the painted numbers to the side of my newspaper box and the post cap to the top of the upper post.
Enjoy your weekend and updating your mailbox,