When we bought our house in Myrtle Beach, we knew we wanted to decorate everything in a nautical style. One of the first projects we tackled was our mailbox. The old mailbox has several issues…it was in a terribly inconvenient location, it was falling over and it was UGLY!
Did I mention UGLY?!? SO, we knew that pitiful thing had to go. It took me a couple of weeks of thinking about it to come up with a design that I liked, and then we got to work! First we bought a new metal mailbox that was large enough to hold all of the mail we seem to get each day. (I cannot imagine WHO ordered all those garden catalogues!) Then we went looking for a nice old post. We lucked out because a neighbor happened to have an old dock piling laying around on his property and offered it to us! What a guy! I love the fact that it is all beat up and weathered and even has some random hardware still stuck in it. So, we took the post, and cut it into three pieces. Now here is where it gets a bit tricky. We wanted our posts to be staggered in height, but we knew the middle pot needed to be the right height for the mailbox to sit on. So, for our situation, due to the size of our mailbox, that meant the middle post needed to be about 36 inches tall. Then we made the shorter pole one foot shorter than the middle pole…so, it ended up being two feel long. Lastly, the taller pole needed to be three feet taller than the middle pole…plus we had to allow some extra length because 18” of the tall pole gets stuck into the ground, so the tall pole was three feet long PLUS 18”, for a total of 4 1/2 feet. Just to clarify, our poles sizes are 4 1/2’, 3’ and 2’. Not nearly as complicated as I just made it sound!
After cutting our posts, we dug a hole (On the opposite side of our driveway) about 18” deep. We used a post hole digger, and it went pretty quickly. We made the hole just a bit wider than our pole so we could fill in with dirt after we set the pole in place. If you are worried about the pole not being steady or strong enough, you could also pour cement into the hole after your pole is in place. So, now the large pole in standing in place, we filled in around the hole with dirt and packed it really firmly. Then, we just set the other two poles in place against the tall pole. We packed a little dirt around the base of them just to hold them in place temporarily. At this point, we attached the mailbox from inside with two screws. We screwed them directly into the post for stability. In the top of the tallest post, we drilled a hole right in the center about 1” in diameter and about 2 1/2” deep. I will explain this later.
Next, we wrapped rope around the poles to hold them together, and to add to the nautical style. We used a 3/4” thick rope, and we needed about 15” to wrap our posts. Your length may vary, depending on the diameter of your posts, and the pattern you wrap the rope in. We started in the back so the end of the rope would not show, and we wrapped it in a random pattern that we came up with after trying several different ways. Every so often, including at the starting point, we nailed a u-shaped nail (also known as a horseshoe nail) over the piece of rope to help secure it and keep it from slipping down. If you look closely in this picture, you can see the u-nail on the bottom piece of rope near the right hand edge.
We continued wrapping until we got to the end of the rope, and then used another u-nail to secure the end on the back. We bought a concrete pelican statue at our local garden center, and secured him to the post with liquid nails so he won’t “fly away”. Then, we took a standard solar yard light and cut off the long post on the bottom to make it approximately 3 inches long. We stuck that directly into the hole we drilled on the top of the tallest post. You could substitute all sorts of things for the pelican if you are not into coastal decor, just let your imagination run wild!
The last step was to add our address numbers to the mailbox. I wanted it to really stand out, so I took an old weathered piece of board and cut it to about 7’ x 10”. I painted it white, and then scuffed it up with sandpaper to give it a more weathered look. Then I attached metal house numbers from our local home center using tiny screws that came with the numbers. I added a small, 14” long piece of chain to the top of the sign using eye hooks, and then attached the sign to the mailbox by screwing directly through one of the chain links into the front of the post.
We love our new mailbox, and the mailman even walked up to the door to let us know he likes it too!
“One of the sweetest things in life: A letter from a friend.” – Andy Rooney
Salty kisses and sandy hugs! xoxo – Michele