How Custom Painted Mailboxes are Made by Cottage and Cabana

Beautiful custom painted mailboxes are left out in the elements and take a beating, so correctly painting and sealing the mailbox is priority.  The following article will show the process of how Cottage and Cabana paints steel enamel coated mailboxes.

The first step in painting custom painted mailboxes is to prepare the mailbox for painting.  In its production, a mailbox might have oil residue left on it, and in shipping and storage it can collect dirt and dust, so the mailbox needs to be cleaned. Dish soap removes both, dirt and oil, so we use dish soap and water and then rinse and dry well. Then the mailbox flag needs to be removed or taped up with painters tape if it cannot be removed.

The next step is priming the mailbox.  Understanding that the purpose for priming is to ready the mailbox to best receive the paint, and there is more than just one way to prime a mailbox for painting.  The enamel coating on metal mailboxes is too smooth and the paint on your paintbrush will not adhere to it very well, so the enamel needs to be roughed up a bit.  Our preferred method is to use fine grade (around 300) sandpaper and sand the entire mailbox.  The reason this is our preferred method is that it creates a surface where the clear coat sealer will also adhere much better.  Once the shine has been lightly sanded off the mailbox, wipe the mailbox off with a damp cloth.

Now is the time for the magic to begin.  The mailbox is ready to be decoratively hand painted.  We use acrylic paints as well as enamel paints.  They are relatively inexpensive, have a large assortment of colors available, are easy to work with, and offer soap and water clean up.

The last step is to seal the mailbox.  Once the mailbox has been decoratively painted, we leave it over night to dry thoroughly.  Giving it ample time to thoroughly dry is another way to help the sealer adhere to the mailbox.  The purpose of sealing the mailbox is to add a clear outer covering that forms a shield/shell in which to protect the mailbox’s painted artwork.  There are clear coat sealers which can be brushed on or sprayed on, as well as made for metal and plastic application. Though the spray clear coat is more expensive, it is our preference because of its ease of use.  Spray the clear coat in slow and steady even sections, being careful to lightly coat every inch of the mailbox.  We apply 3 light coats of the clear coat sealer.

Once the clear coat is completely dry (the can will indicate the wait time) reattach the flag.  Now its time to mount your beautiful custom painted mailbox and show your artwork off to the world.


hand painted mailbox with beach palms
Beach Palms Hand Painted Mailbox by Cottage and Cabana
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