human behavior

The Shoddy Craftsman: DIY Plywood Mailbox

Posted in Crafts by humanb on March 22, 2013

Back in September, I did a series of craft projects to decorate my mother-in-law’s bare and never-used front porch. I made a house number mosaic, a mosaic bench seat, a piece of driftwood wall art inspired by my own driftwood piece, and a piece of scrap wood wall art.  I also made her a mosaic poolside table for her backyard deck, a beer coaster collage for a bedroom,  and a book cover collage for another bedroom. Some projects were more successful than others, but I think they all served to improve the look of the areas they adorned.

That left her mailbox…


Her mailbox had fallen down in a storm, and was now supported by a bungee cord tied to an ugly utility pole. The maroon paint was stripped away from the bottom of the box, and the gold address stickers never did work well.

In my mother-in-law’s defence, my husband and I bought her that mailbox and improperly installed it when she was away. So it was high time I redeemed myself.

I was inspired by this mailbox I found online:


It’s made of metal, and I’m no metal worker, so I tried my hand at a similar mailbox made from plywood. Here’s the result:


An improvement? Undoubtedly. Well-made? Not so much. I should have used pine, but I’ve only owned a jigsaw for a few months now, and I’ve never had any instruction in furniture or box making. I didn’t even have a how-to-guide for this one…


I made a handheld model out of index cards and tape first, and then tried to replicate the model in plywood.


I love that it looks like an envelope, and the grain detail in the front right corner looks pretty cool. The house numbers are painted wood.


To deliver mail, the postman has to lift the ‘envelope’ flap…


Note the ugly square pieces of wood glued at the ends and the rubber strip underneath the flap to prevent rain water from soaking the mail inside. I couldn’t come up with a more elegant solution. Note also the jarring silver brackets fixing the wooden post to the mailbox. I wanted to use brown or black brackets, but had no luck at the big-box hardware store. Ah well.

To retrieve mail, you simply lift open the back flap…


I should have considered a more elegant handle, and if I could have figured out how to hide my hinges inside, it would’ve looked better.

But truth be told, I’m pretty proud of my first woodworking attempt. It’s not likely to last very long, being made of plywood, but that’s an excellent excuse for trying this project again. 😉

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5 Responses

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  1. edublan said, on March 22, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Certainly you got a cool design!!!
    I was willing to see it finished and installed.
    I like it a lot.
    I keep following your blog😜.

    Best regards,
    Ana & Edu

    • humanb said, on March 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Gracias! How nice that you’re still reading. I hope you’re both well!

  2. Anonymous said, on March 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Nice. My plastic mailbox has a red flag that will not stay up. Unfortunately, my mail box is not in front of my house but up a long lane on a pole with others. If not, I would be inspired to find one like this. What are your suggestions for house numbers? Anyway to make them a work of art?

    • humanb said, on March 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks. If your house numbers are on your house, a large simple metal number in crisp black or something is probably best. But you could also try a small mosaic with just the numbers. 🙂

  3. heyjude08 said, on July 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Well, I can say with authority that your mother-in-law likes the mailbox very much. Besides the groovy grain and the sharp numbers and the uniqueness of it, it was made with more love than glue and is terrific. How many women can say their daughter-in-law made them anything more than a cup of tea? You should post a picture with the perfectly chosen plant that now softens the poles more and adds natural grace.

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