| |

How To Paint A Decorative Metal Mailbox

This post will answer all you need to know about painting a mailbox. Whether you are painting a fun design or freshening yours up. Learn how to make your mailbox the coolest in the neighborhood.

red frankenstrat painted design on mailbox with white post and American flag

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy.

Normally the DIY painting projects are 100% my domain. However, my husband wanted to try his hand at a fun decorative mailbox project. If you are a Van Halen fan, you will love what he did. He was very proud when neighbors understood his tribute to the band.

If you have no idea what his inspiration was, you can check out Eddie Van Halen’s guitar in this Rolling Stone article. You don’t have to make your decorative mailbox a tribute to the band, but you can use these tips to help you with your fun creative mailbox design.

How to prep a metal mailbox for painting?

If your mailbox is in rough shape, use a metal wire brush to scrape off access flakes. Use an all-purpose cleaner or dish soap and water to thoroughly clean the box. Lightly scuff with extra-fine sandpaper and wipe clean.

Also, make sure you follow all USPS guidelines when adding DIY elements to your mailbox.

Recommended Supplies

  • Rustoleum Spray Paint in colors of your choice
  • Painter’s Tape-This kind is the best for clean and crisp lines.
  • Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint-if you need to paint your post.
  • Paint Brush
  • Razor Blade-this optional but may help you when taking off the tape.

What is the best paint for a metal mailbox?

We used Rustoleum Spray Paint High-Performance Enamel. Our mailbox has held up through all different types of weather.

Rustoleum srapy paint and Sherwin Williams Exterior Latex Paint used to paint a mailbox

Tips For Using Spray Paint

  • Work in a well-ventilated area
  • Make sure the valve is clean
  • Use large sweeping motions about 6-8 inches away from the item you are spraying
  • Do not stop and spray in one area
  • Watch for overspray (check your surroundings)
  • Avoid hot and humid days
  • Watch for drips
  • Light coats are best
  • If your finger cramps, try this handle

Read More>>>22 Clever DIY Spray Paint Projects

What kind of paint for a mailbox post?

Using a quality exterior acrylic latex paint will last on your wooden post. No need to use oil-based paint as new technology allows these paints to be self-priming and mildew resistant. We used Sherwin Williams Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex.

Stayed tuned for how to create a unique decorative mailbox

Of course, you could just stop right now and go spray your metal mailbox one color. However, my husband had other plans. We know not everyone will love this design, but my husband loves that we probably have one of the most unique mailbox designs in the whole city.

What painter’s tape should you use for decorative mailboxes?

hand pulling off painter's tape on red and white mailbox decorative design.

We have had great success creating painter’s tape chevron accent wall and geometric painted accent wall in our daughter’s room. We will only use this green painter’s tape for those projects. This decorative mailbox design was no exception.

How To Paint Frankenstrat Pattern

Of course, my husband did not just want a normal mailbox design. Keep reading if you are looking for a fun decorative painted mailbox.

First, you might be asking what is a Frankenstrat pattern.

Frankenstrat was Eddie Van Halen’s guitar that had this fun line painting on it and what inspired this creative mailbox. Not an Eddie Van Halen fan? You can still use this painter’s tape layering technique to create your own fun design.

1. Follow the steps above to start with a fresh black mailbox.

2. Tape out diagonal lines in Frankenstrat-inspired pattern. If you want the front of the box to be majority black, then cover the front door.

taped creative mailbox design

3. Spray the whole mailbox white.

white spray paint on top of painter's tape on mailbox to create a frankenstrat design.

4. Let dry. Leave both layers of “black and white” taped spots.

5. Retape new diagonal lines. Spray with red. Remember where the tape is will be white and black.

red spray painted metal mailbox with taped diagonal line designs.

6. Let dry.

7. Take the painter’s tape off. If the tape is not easily coming off then use a razor blade to help you remove the tape. Don’t just keep pulling.

red,white and black spray painted mailbox design with partially removed painter's tape.

8. Add your creative painted mailbox back onto the post after repaintng it with SW Duration Exterior Latex Paint

9. Add new numbers (we like these modern ones from Etsy but stuck with the ones we already had) or you can always spray paint your old numbers.

red frankenstrat painted design on mailbox with white post and American flag

Optional: We don’t have a great place to put a flag on our house. My husband chose to add a flag holder to our post to display his flag. We know this might just be too much for some people’s taste, but it definitely showcases my husband’s personality. 

Follow us on Pinterest, YouTube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

We just love our creative painted mailbox as it for sure showcases my husband’s fun personality.

How To Paint A Metal Mailbox

Here are the basic steps for how to paint a mailbox. Keep reading in the post to learn how to paint a very unique decorative mailbox design.
Print Tutorial
white spray paint to create a frankenstrat design
Prep:10 minutes
Active Time:1 hour
Additional Time:1 hour
Total Time:2 hours 10 minutes


  • Wire Brush (optional)
  • Sponge or Rag



  • Remove mailbox from the post.
  • Clean the mailbox with soap and water. You can also scuff it up a little with extra fine sandpaper or use a paint prep surface cleaner to make sure the paint adheres.
  • Wrap flag in painter’s tape.
  • Once the mailbox is dry, use a spray paint meant for metals.
  • Then spray the whole mailbox white, black, or with the color of your choice. See spray painting tips above. 
  • Wait for each layer to dry, and repeat until you are happy with the even appearance of color.


  • If you only want one color for your mailbox, then go ahead and put it back up.
  • If you want a decorative mailbox idea, you can see how we used painter’s tape and different layers of spray paint for a fun look.
Author: Erin Nutter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tutorial Rating

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.