Tara literally polishes up the mailbox

The old, sad mailbox. It had a white strip of tape with one number on it, crossed out, and a different handwritten number in felt pen beneath.
The old, sad mailbox. It had a white strip of tape with one number on it, crossed out, and a different handwritten number in felt pen beneath.

Not that the old mailbox was completely unusable, but it was rusted, a bit mossy, and bent. Mail arrived as expected. Tara and I still felt compelled to replace it with a new one. Something with character, that shows we are new around here and we take pride in our place.

I don’t know whose idea it was, but we loved the idea of painting it with old, clumped and gummy nail polish. Looks terrible on nails, but it could look great on a mailbox. We’ve been collecting nail polish for years. A lot of years. Some of it was gross. But perfect for this project.

Tara found strips of tape and taped the outside into a random pattern, taking care to stick it very well to the white enameled mailbox. They spent a couple of sunny days out on the deck, choosing the oldest polish in the worst shape and painting it on. (We also used up polish that was in good shape, but awful colour. Just why did we purchase that hideous peach one? Must have been a gift.)

Partially painted mailbox with a collection of nail polish handy.
Partially painted mailbox with a collection of nail polish handy.
Tara worked away at this project. At first I meant to add my touches and make it a team effort, but it turned out so beautifully I couldn't bring myself to interfere.
Tara worked away at this project. At first I meant to add my touches and make it a team effort, but it turned out so beautifully I couldn’t bring myself to interfere.
Tape removal day, while we ate some delish fish & chips at a place we found not too far away.
Tape removal day, while we ate some delish fish & chips at a place we found not too far away.

We found both the box and the reflective numbers at The Home Depot in Longview, Washington (just across the Lewis & Clark Bridge). After the polish was dry, Tara removed the tape, then applied the numbers: nice and bright so people trying to find us will now be easily able to use the mailbox (the house numbers are hard to see).

My step-father came for a visit for a couple days  down from Moyie Springs, Idaho. He was restless looking for projects, and asked if we wanted the mailbox mounted. Yes we did! While I was working at the computer, my step-father removed the old box and got the new one ready, then called Tara and me to see if we wanted to witness the installation. Yes we did!

Finished! Isn't it gorgeous?!
Finished! Isn’t it gorgeous?!
Close-up so you can see how amazingly beautiful the colours are. Sadly, nail polish does not seem designed to withstand sunlight, and there are signs of fading already. I'll check in after a year or so, and let you see how it holds up.
Close-up so you can see how amazingly beautiful the colours are. Sadly, nail polish does not seem designed to withstand sunlight, and there are signs of fading already. I’ll check in after a year or so, and let you see how it holds up.
Ready for mounting, in the back of my step-father's pickup.
Ready for mounting, in the back of my step-father’s pickup.
Woo hoo! Our new functional work of art is in its new home.
Woo hoo! Our new functional work of art is in its new home.
We've made our mark in the neighborhood. It's a shady street at all times, so hopefully sun damage will be slow.
We’ve made our mark in the neighborhood. It’s a shady street at all times, so hopefully sun damage will be slow.

39 thoughts on “Tara literally polishes up the mailbox

    1. I’ll let Tara know you like it. And yes! The fish and chips were so good! This is best kind of place: the only thing on the menu was fish and chips, everything was made fresh, after you ordered, and you could choose different kinds of fish for your meal. We went with cod, because it’s pretty reliable and less expensive. We will try the others next time. Of course, I thought of you and Jackie when I mentioned fish and chips on the photo!

  1. It looks like a crazy quilt!! My favorite kind of quilt in the whole world. I love it and the wonderful assortment of colors!!! I so wish I had a mailbox at my house. 😦 Tell Tara “well done”. I’m betting the whole place is starting to feel loved. Houses know those things. 🙂

    1. It does look like a crazy quilt! I’ll let Tara know you liked their work of art. I also think you are right that a home knows it’s being cared for. I am putting my Crystal touch all over the place, and it’s just my nature to pay attention to the state of things. This home doesn’t quite trust us yet – it’s only been a month – but the relationship is getting better, ha ha.

      1. You will have it humming soon enough. I’ve been here a year and still working strong. They are moving the deck up to the level of that little silly thing. It will make more sense then. Take your time and let the house speak to you. I really want a mailbox or at least a little free library. 🙂

      2. I love those free libraries I see all over Portland. Aren’t those just lovely? I can tell they get a lot of use, too, since the books tend to move around and disappear and reappear. I also love the poetry boxes – same idea of a little structure on a person’s property, but it has poetry displayed, that changes every week or so.

        I assumed you used a community mailbox for your post, since that is what the USPS prefers these days. Do you really want a mailbox? As I told Laurie, I’m sure Tara would love to make another one, and we have lots of polish left.

      3. I would love one but they don’t allow them. Or much of anything else here. I’ll make waves later after the deck is repaired from the fire. I don’t want them to notice any difference though we are raising it to one level :)))

      4. :)))) How did the housewarming go??? I so would rather have been there but the great-nieces wedding was really lovely in spite of the smoke. It went all the way to Albany!

      5. The party was so nice. Lots of people from work were able to come, plus friends and my Uncle from Scappoose and my brother and his girlfriend from Seattle. There were kids and dogs, just as I had hoped. Such a lovely day.

        Yes, after I received your email I remembered that you had told me about the wedding. I hate that the fires spread so much and the air suffered far and wide. I am hoping this rainy week will wipe at least some of them out, and seriously impede the others.

    1. Do you use a mailbox? Message me your number and I think Tara would get a charge out of making another one. We have plenty of polish left. I am so pleased with how beautifully it turned out. I think even better than if we had purchased colours and tried to plan it. Like Marlene said, a crazy quilt! Random pieces thrown together somehow work really well sometimes.

      1. I’m just now seeing your reply! It’s been two weeks since you made the offer and if it’s not too late, by all means, ask Tara. I’ll certainly pay for all expenses / shipping.

    1. Thank you Michael. We thought of that too, and put a clear coat on it. I hope that keeps it more colorful longer. I like the clam shell idea, and it seems appropriate, since the nail polish colours are iridescent like clam shells too.

    1. Probably not too late! You could still decorate it with something, and spray on a clear finish. If you have a handy step-father around, like I did, perhaps you could bring the mailbox back to the house and fix it up. In any case, you may need another one some day, and now you can start planning for what to do with it. 🙂

      1. You know since reading about your mailbox I have decided to fix mine up and use it in the garden to hold small tools.

  2. I once used four nail polish bottles to pain a stool for the grandkids. I used two coats of cleat nail polish 🙂 and although not exposed to sun it has lasted 5 years, Crystal.

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