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How to make beautiful, customized mailboxes for your kids’ bedrooms

A clever way to pass notes, leave treats, or distribute chore lists to your kids

The idea of little mailboxes outside of children's rooms is nothing new. It's a charming, whimsical way to deliver just about anything to your little loved ones — a sweet note, a small toy, or even a list of chores they've yet to do. When they get a little older, you can drop forgotten, discarded things they've left around the house, such as earbuds or homework. Mailboxes for kids are a pretty great little system.

The problem with many kids' mailboxes we've seen on the market is that they're just — simply put — ugly. Cheap plastic, primary-colored, horrible little things. So we had the idea to make them ourselves. Ones that serve not only as delivery vessels, but also look charming in the hallway as well.

We turned to Amazon and found these great little boxes. They are just the right size, come with preinstalled hooks for easy hanging, and are sturdy enough to withstand the doors of toddlers and teenagers alike. Read on for an easy tutorial on how to make your kids customized mailboxes that will be purposeful and lovely in your home.

Difficulty

Easy

Duration

1 hour

What You Need

  • Mailbox

  • Letters

  • Spray paint (two colors)

  • Sandpaper

  • Wood stain

  • Wood glue, glue gun, or another strong adhesive

  • Old rag (that you feel OK about ruining)

Letters on a white paper
Lindsay Parrill/NewFolks

Get organized

Step 1: Sort through your letters and find the ones you’ll need.

Step 2: Before you get to painting or gluing, check to be sure your letters will fit where you want to put them. The name we used, Carsten, at seven letters, seems to be the limit.

Step 3: If you have a longer name, you’ll want to use smaller letters.

"Carsten" on metal
Lindsay Parrill/NewFolks

Paint

Step 1: Find a good place to paint, and get to it!

Step 2: Paint both the outside and inside of the mailbox for a nicer, more professional look,

Step 3: Find something to hold the lid open while painting to make this step a little easier.

For the letters in Carsten’s name, we went with metallic spray paint for the letters, as it has a very cool contrast next to the paint of the mailbox. For the box itself, we used an army green with a satin finish, but this is totally customizable to your preference.

Sand (optional)

Once your paint is dry, you can sand the edges slightly for a more antiqued look. This step is totally optional, but we love the character it brings to the finished product.

Stain (optional)

Step 1: If you’ve chosen to sand and "roughen up" your mailbox a bit, it’s also very attractive to rub in a bit of wood stain where you’ve sanded. Keep in mind that a little bit of stain goes a long way.

Step 2: Dip your rag into just a bit and wipe over where you want it. Working quickly, wipe a clean part of the cloth over where you’ve stained to wipe off excess. Subtlety is the key here.

Propping up a mailbox
Lindsay Parrill/NewFolks

Prop it up

Once your paint and stain are completely dry, you can glue on your letters.

Because of the slope of this particular mailbox, you’ll need to find some sort of support for the flap while the glue on your letters dries. We found a boxed cake mix to be superb for this purpose!

Glue

Step 1: Use a glue that dries clear and relatively quickly (but not so quickly that you can’t readjust a crooked letter for a minute or two).

Step 2: Don't use too much or you'll have glue smooshing out from under your letters. If this happens, wipe it away with a damp cloth while the glue is still wet.

Display of finished customized mailbox
Lindsay Parrill/NewFolks

Enjoy!

While the glue dries, make sure the flap of the mailbox remains open (cake box, optional) so your letters don’t slip and slide.

Once everything is dry, it's ready to hang!

These look absolutely beautiful when hung on bedroom doors, but they're equally cute and just as useful when installed on your kids' walls, or even just sitting atop tables or desks.

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Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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