Friday, March 21, 2014

You've Got Mail

"Please Mr. Postman look and see, if there's a letter in your bag for me."   William Garrett

This week it was time to start a project that I've had on my horizon for quite a while, but needed to find the time to do. Have you ever seen the decorative magnetic covers people put over their mailboxes? Well we used to have several of those, but when we moved to a house that didn't have the right kind of mailbox for it, I gave all my covers to a friend. Now I'm back in a house with a mailbox that needs some decorating. I looked to see if any of the companies that make the covers had a plain white one that I could decorate (i.e. tangle) myself, but no - I couldn't find any. 

That's when my husband thought of the magnetic vent covers we had from long ago. They're meant to be used to cover heating/air conditioning vents if you don't want the air coming out. Perfect! They are white, and just the right size to pretty much cover the side of my mailbox. The top of the box won't be covered, but with one on each side it will work great.

I decided to try using Sharpie markers. So I tested them on a scrap piece to make sure that they were permanent and water wouldn't affect them. They passed the test and I began my tangling. I got about 2/3 of the way through the first one. Then, to my dismay, I read a post by someone on one of the Facebook groups I belong to, stating that Sharpies will fade in the sun. Oh great! Now what? I decided to take out my Identi-pen and proceeded to go over every line I had drawn and every space I had blackened. It got a little tedious, but I must say I was really happy with how I was able to do that without messing up and veering off the lines. Finally I got through that and went on to complete the rest. After all that extra effort, I sure hope the Identi-pen holds up better than the sharpies! Here is the first side before I did any shading.

The next decision was what to use for shading. First I tried various brands and shades of gray markers, but was not happy with the look of any of them. That's when I decided to try my good old reliable pencil. It worked well to give the shading a natural look and blended easily with my smudger (aka tortillon), but I was a little worried that it would wipe right off the smooth surface, or wash right off in the rain. So I tested by rubbing with some water, and to my surprise it stayed put. I finished up the shading with pencil, and here it is. I hope this photo allows you to see the difference the shading really made.

And here it is as it is meant to be.

I've decided to wait to do another one for the other side until I see how well this holds up to the elements. And to be honest, this probably isn't the best time for me to put my beautiful new mailbox cover out, as there is construction going on across the street and I'm afraid it will get really dirty from the mess. So it may be a while before I know how well it withstands the weather and whether or not I should make one for the other side. I'll be back with the verdict at some point.


  1. Was glad to see this, Will be interested in how it holds up. I had been thinking about doing a similar thing and had not gotten around to trying anything yet. Did you think about putting a coat of varnish over to protect or use one of he acrylic sealers?

  2. Looking forward to hearing a follow up. It is really beautiful hope it all stands the test of time. Lovies

  3. Beautiful work.
    How about a Mod Podge covering?
    I used it a few years ago for tangle-coupaging a pair of wooden garden chairs,
    and they've held up wonderfully.

  4. Great idea and am thinking of doing something similar for my next mailbox cover. You can go to this link to see my cover...just scroll down. I posted it a few days ago. Mine is made of linoleum and acrylic paint. When finished it is covered with 3 coats of clear satin varnish (which is what you need to do). Also, I would like to recommend a shading idea I have used other place. Mix a tiny bit of black acrylic paint with acrylic mat medium to make a light transparent gray. This has worked well on furniture and plastic for me. Incidentally I stick my mailbox cover on with a strip of magnetic tape glued to the bottom edges.

  5. Caren, your mailbox idea is lovely.