The mailbox that came with the house just looked kinda…meh. The gold numbers looked so out of the box blech. So time for a mailbox makeover. I took the mailbox off the wall and brought it in the house. The mailman refused to deliver my mail because I didn’t have a mailbox (which was the dumbest thing ever because I said he could just leave it on the floor).
So here’s what I used for my mailbox makeover:
- X-Acto Knife, or Rotary Cutter
- DIY Goo Gone (baking soda and canola oil) or Goo Gone
- Optional: Gloves
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
- Rubbing Alcohol and Cotton Balls
- White Vinyl
- Transfer Paper
- Optional: Silhouette Cameo
To start, I need removed the most annoying part of this stupid mailbox. There’s this center piece that lets you lock the mailbox but it just flaps open and shut and slams down on my fingers all the time. I opened up the box, exposed the hinge that the flap was attached with and pulled out the piece of metal that held it in.
Next, I needed to remove the original number stickers on the mailbox. To do this, I used the blade of the rotary cutter and pushed it at an angle under the stickers to lift it off. Probably wasn’t the best idea to do it with a round blade, so use an X-acto knife if you have one.
I did this to the front and sides of the mailbox until I removed all the stickers.
I was left with gooey, sticky sticker goop. I swear I had a small bottle of goo gone laying around. Now that I actually needed to use it, I couldn’t find it. This always happens to me. I was at home and not really in the mood to drive anywhere to buy a new bottle so I Googled a DIY version that I found at DIYnCrafts. Its basically two parts baking soda and one part canola oil. The recipe says you can use any oil, but canola is what I had on hand. I mixed the stuff up in a plastic cup (1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp canola oil), put on some gloves, and slathered it on the mailbox.
So, it didn’t really work all by itself. I was looking around for something else to use and found some Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges. I broke off a piece and started scrubbing away at it with the DIY Goo Gone mix. WIN. It totally worked and cleaned a bunch of nasty dirt off too.
After a bit of scrubbing with the sponge all the sticky stuff came off and I rinsed the mailbox in water and wiped the whole thing clean. To make extra sure it was clean and ready for some vinyl, I used some cotton balls dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe the surface too.
Next, I designed my new numbers in my Silhouette Studio program. I did this based on some house numbers I bought for the front of the house. I put some circles around each number and added the stripes. Here’s the Studio and PDF files for the cut file I used. Just replace the numbers I used with your own.
I loaded the vinyl into my Silhouette Cameo and hit the cut button with the standard vinyl settings. If you don’t have a Silhouette Cameo, just trace the design onto the vinyl and cut with an X-acto knife, being sure to cut only through the vinyl and not through the paper backing.
Next, I peeled back the excess vinyl around the design. The thought of wasting all that vinyl killed me so I cut around the design and saved any large pieces I might be able to reuse later before peeling off the excess vinyl around the design. Waste makes me cringe.
Then, I took my transfer paper and applied it to the design. I had some scraps left over from another project that left me with pieces smaller than the design, but I just pieced the two together over the design.
Once I applied the transfer paper, I flipped it over and peeled away at the vinyl backing (light blue paper). I carefully scored the backing around the numbers design with an X-acto knife (being super super careful not to cut into the vinyl) so I could peel back just the backing for the numbers. I wanted to focus on applying the numbers correctly first before dealing with the decorative lines.
Next, I lined up the design where I wanted it on the mailbox and applied carefully to the mailbox. I started by placing the design down from the right side and smoothing the design down with my hand towards the left to make sure there were no air bubbles.
Once the numbers were placed, I peeled back the transfer paper, but only around the numbers. Since I hadn’t placed the decorative striping, I didn’t want to peel the transfer paper off the stripes quite yet. I peeled back the transfer paper super super carefully, making sure that none of the vinyl came up in the process.
To finish up, I had to place the striping detail. I removed the vinyl backing and used the transfer paper as a guide/tool to place the stripes. I held the transfer paper and moved it up and down, eyeballing the straightness of the lines and smoothed the vinyl stripes down with my finger (from the numbers design outward to prevent any gapping/bubbling). I wrapped the excess vinyl around the back of the mailbox so you can’t see any jagged edges from the front or sides.
Note: Since the mailbox tapers towards the bottom, there was some minor gapping around the corners as I applied the stripes around the corner, but since vinyl is slightly stretchy and forgiving, I very carefully pulled it a little to stretch it around the corner.
So…my problem with cutting out designs is that the negative stuff (what I cut out) is wasted. I just can’t bring myself to throw that stuff away. Instead, I saved it and stuck it to the inside of the box. Tah dah!
Now my mailman is EXTRA sure its the right address when he drops the mail into the box (even though its obviously on the front too).
Here’s what it looks like hung up on the wall.
I’m happy to report that the mail man was glad I put the mailbox back so he could properly deliver my mail. He also complimented me on the new numbers which made me do a little dance on the inside. Fixing up the house…one small thing at a time.