Is there anything more exciting to kids than a cardboard box? Yes: a cardboard box that’s been painted and lettered to look like their own personal mailbox! Read on for the super-easy instructions that’ll get your kids going totally postal… all in good fun, of course.
What you’ll need:
Acrylic paint (we used blue) and paintbrush
Large letter stickers
Felt, velcro stickers, glue, and scissors (optional, for making “envelopes”)
Step 1: Tape up your box on all sides
Use packing tape to tape up your empty box so that all sides are solid and sturdy. Go ahead and give your little helpers some tape, too. They may not tape it on the right place, but they’ll have fun trying (and you’re going to paint over the whole thing anyway).
Step 2: Make some cuts
Use a pencil to make lines on your box where you’d like the mail slot, package slot, and mail retrieval slot (on the back end) to be. Then, use a box cutter (way easier than scissors — we tried!) to cut your box along the lines.
Step 3: Bring on the color!
Paint your mailbox. Several coats will probably be needed to cover the cardboard as well as hide any stickers, patterns, or writing. We wanted our mailbox to look just like the one on the street corner, so we opted for a few coats of royal blue; however, there are no rules! Want to go rainbows and polka dots? Go for it! You can even sprinkle glitter on the paint while it’s still drying if you want to make a “magical” sort of box (this might be a great way for the Tooth Fairy or any other, otherworldly friends to deliver gifts and trinkets to wishful kiddos).
Step 4: Add some stickers
When the paint is completely dry, use the letter stickers to label the “Letters” and “Packages” slots on the front of your mailbox. We also spelled out “MAIL” on both sides of our mailbox. If you want to get really formal, you could instead slap on a real U.S. Postal Service logo on the sides of your mailbox. You can find a large one to print here.
Note: It helps to use a ruler when you apply the letters, just so you get them all on a straight line.
Step 5: (Optional) Make some play “mail”
After my overeager little mail-sender crushed a few too many paper envelopes trying to squish letters into the mail slot, I realized it would be better to make a pliable envelope that she could easily stuff into the slots. To do this, take a piece of felt and fold it in half with one side extending longer than the other so it can be folded over to make an envelope shape. Use a hot glue gun (if you have one) to seal the sides of the envelope together; then, cut the overhanging “lip” to make a triangle(-ish) shape. Use Velcro stickers to fasten the letters shut.
Do your kids like to send letters? Share your mail-worthy ideas with us in the comments section below!
— All copy and photos by Melissa Heckscher
*This post was inspired by a similar mailbox craft project at Thisheartofmineblog.com.