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How To Paint A Metal Mailbox (Not Your Average Decorative Mailbox)

Painted metal mailbox design idea

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.

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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

How to get an even coat when spray painting?

  • 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.

Yield: Redone Metal Mailbox

How To Paint A Metal Mailbox

white spray paint to create a frankenstrat design

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.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy




    1. Remove mailbox from the post.
    2. 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.
    3. Wrap flag in painter’s tape.
    4. Once the mailbox is dry, use a spray paint primer meant for metals.
    5. Then spray the whole mailbox white , black, or with the color of your choice. See spray painting tips above. 
    6. 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. You can even take the flag off and paint and add it back on. If you want a decorative mailbox idea, then keep reading.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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 otehr 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?

frog painter's tape used to create creative DIY mailbox 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. So if you are looking for a fun decorative painted mailbox, then we have you covered. 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 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 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

8. Add your creative painted mailbox back onto the post after repainted 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 or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

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

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