DIY Mailbox Upgrade

One thing that I didn’t love about the house we bought was the mailbox. It was a light blue mailbox with painted flowers that was poorly and crookedly mounted on a white plastic base. There was almost no support, except a pipe they had shoved into the ground and placed the plastic post over. I know plenty of people who would love that painted mailbox, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. To each his (or in this case, her) own right? I like a more classic look. So the weekend we bought the house I immediately grabbed a new mailbox! First of all, I was unprepared to see how many options there were. The shape, size, and color of the mailbox itself created dozens of choices. Then there is the type and color of the stand. Plus, you can’t forget the house numbers- stickers, brushed metal, modern black, and more. After having a hunger induced mini breakdown I finally chose what I wanted to go with. Michael helped me pick out everything we would need to complete the project. Here is what we chose from Lowes (though I was at Home Depot the same day and they had basically the exact same thing for the exact same prices).

Shopping List: 

This is how we went about installing it all! First, we tore out the old one.  That wasn’t hard to do at all – like I said before, the previous owners had “installed it” by stabbing an old pipe into the ground and then sticking the cheap mailbox stand over it. For such a gorgeous house, I don’t understand such a tacky mailbox.

Second, we used our handy new post digger to dig our hole.  You’re going to want it to be as deep as 1/3 the total length of your post.  When we dug down it measured 26 inches, which was a tiny bit over 1/3, but better for me because the mailbox is the length I want for my height.  At first I was confused, maybe even skeptical about why we needed to buy a post digger when we already have a shovel.  However, I’ll have to admit that it made the job so easy and quick! I’m glad we didn’t skip that.

Next, ((but really on a different day because we have a baby so apparently that means projects take triple the amount of time expected)) I painted the mailbox post. I had bought a high quality paint made for outdoor use and it worked great.  The only thing I would change is we bought a cherry wood post.  I wouldn’t do that! I do not understand the science of it at all, but where the wood was naturally darker, it’s almost like the color seeped up over the white paint.  I can’t explain it! All I know is it took a second coat of white paint.  I wish we had gotten just the plain post- it was even a few dollars cheaper.  Anyways, one good thing is this dried fairly quickly.

After that, we brought the post out and stuck it into the hole.  I used a level to make sure it was completely straight! This is important.  Then we started the concrete mixture.  The instructions called for us to fill the hole 1/3 of the way up with water.  Then we dumped the entire bag of Sakrete into the hole.  You don’t have to mix or anything! We just added a little water to the top and triple checked the level as it hardened.  After about thirty minutes it had set! I was so impressed.  I would definitely recommend this product.

Then Michael attached the board to the mailbox base, allowing room for all of the ridges of he mailbox.  (Lay the board on top of the post where the mailbox will sit and screw directly down!) Then following the pre-drilled holes, he attached the mailbox to the screwed in wood panel. It finally looked like a real mailbox!!

Lastly, we attached the numbers.  I chose the ones we did because I found them to be sleek and attractive.  They were surprisingly harder to attach than expected. That said, I officially have a nice mailbox! I am so thrilled.  Thank you to my handsome husband who helped ((read: did most of)) this project.  I love you- and our new mailbox!

I hope y’all enjoyed this little DIY tutorial. Let me know if there is anything I should clear up! And stay tuned for more projects! We’re updating bathrooms, the kitchen, hallways, the yard, and more!


Dresser Restoration Project 

The second trimester is awesome. I finally feel like a person again! It’s great to have energy and to finally not be nauseous all the time. Since I finally feel human, we have started on the nursery. I want to have a lot of it done before I balloon so big I can’t help! So we recently set about restoring an old dresser. My great aunt gave it to me when I was really young. We were living in Thornton, Co so I’m thinking I was about 8. I have kept it all this time – thanks dad for letting me store it at your house. It desperately needed some love, but I could see so much potential.  

I started by running to Lowes to buy supplies. Here’s what we ended up buying. * I bought the cheapest paint brushes at Lowes in an effort to make this as economical a project as possible. 

  • Chalk paint $29.99
  • Paint brush (large) $3.98
  • Paint brush (trim brush) $.94 
  • Plastic dropcloth $2.98
  • Sandpaper $5.97

Next we picked up the dresser and brought it home. It was still cold out so we covered the nursery in plastic so we could work inside. Since we were just using chalk paint I wasn’t too nervous.

STEP ONE: First we wiped every inch of the dresser down with a wet rag. I was surprised at how filthy it was, inside and out. We pulled out every dresser drawer as we washed them and removed all of the old hardware. Next we lightly sanded over the dresser, really just emphasizing on any raised nicks. Also, I had to sand off a lot of nail polish from my childhood. (According to all of the different blogs I read, sanding before chalk painting is not required, but I wanted to be careful). 

STEP TWO: Next I started painting! The chalk paint went on so well. I was honestly surprised. In no time I had the base and the drawers painted! I let them dry for a few hours and then did another coat. We were beyond thrilled with how it turned out!! 

STEP THREE: While I painted Michael started on the hardware. Originally we were going to replace all of the handles. However, nothing I found was perfect. Michael suggested trying to keep the original handles, but painting them gold. They are gorgeous so I agreed. He pulled out the bottle of gold spray paint we used on our IKEA frames for the living room (Design Master Color Tool in Antique Gold). First he soaked the handles and scrubbed them off with a toothbrush. After they dried he took them outside and spray painted them. He gave them a solid coat and then brought them in to me to see what I thought. I LOVE THEM. They belong in a fairy tale. I was beyond pleased. Once the dresser and the handles were undeniably dry we reassembled. 

STEP FOUR: The last piece of the project was inserting drawer liners. (Well, technically this step was done between paint coats, but you get the point). This dresser is old and I was worried that the wood might have little splinters that could get caught in baby’s clothes. So while we were at Lowes we picked up drawer liner. It was great because it had like a ruler printed on the back of the paper so you could cut to size. This was definitely a two person job though. Honestly, it was the hardest part! I wanted it to sit just perfect so poor Michael patiently sat and helped aligned paper over and over again until it was perfect! It was completely worth it though. The drawers are adorable.  

I LOVE the finished project and I’m so happy I listened to Michael about the handles. The touch of gold is great. Overall our cost was $43.86. (We did already have the gold spray paint to that could add an extra $8 to your project). That’s an amazing price for a darling, great quality dresser! Another thing I love- I have plenty of leftover paint. So as this little one grows up and inevitably draws on this dresser I can fix it up in a matter of minutes. Hopefully it will last her a long time! 

DIY Wooden Chalkboard 

This chalkboard was part of my Coffee Station DIY project that I posted about last week. I absolutely love it!!

I started with a piece of wood cut down to 16×28. Yours obviously doesn’t need to be that size, but it fits in perfectly with the coffee mug hooks! I brought it home and used my 220 fine sandpaper to sand all the sides and edges.

Next I started taping off the edges with painters tape. This was literally the most time consuming because I needed it to line the edges perfectly and it had to lay completely flat.

Once this was done I used American Decor Chalk Acrylic to paint the face of the chalkboard. It was fifty percent off at Joanns! (Make sure you paint only with the grain in long strokes.)

The first coat looked great once it dried, but I put on a second coat just to be sure. After it was dry I pulled it off for the great reveal!!

Next I used the same “dark walnut 2716” wood stain. I just painted the exposed wood, taking care not to apply any to the chalk paint. In retrospect it might have been easier to stain the board first, however I didn’t know if the stain would effect the chalk paint.  It wasn’t a big deal to me to just stain second! Then I let the board hang out in the sun to dry.

The final step was to (have Michael) attach picture hanging metal pieces to the back, one in each top corner. Then I was in business!!! Seriously so easy and totally affordable.  In all it cost me about $15 to make!