Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tangle a mailbox?!

I go way back with mailboxes.  It all started with an idea to distinguish our mailbox from the neighbors' in the cookie cutter neighborhood we lived in as newlyweds.  That particular one was rusted to the post and I stood outside with my supplies and painted it roadside.

We moved not long afterward, and soon the collection began...

My devoted husband - when I first asked him to pick up a mailbox for me at the store - replied,
"Don't we already have one?" 
I smiled. He brought one home.

Over the years, I've decorated dozens of mailboxes.  We change them out with the seasons, holidays, and important family milestones.  Our neighbors have come to anticipate a new box and will remind us if we haven't switched one out for some time.

My Halloween mailbox, after a twenty year run, is just too rusty to use again this year.  My inspiration for painting a new one came from watching Suzanne McNeill's video on tangling pumpkins and the back cover of Sandy Bartholomew's Totally Tangled.  Instead of tangling a real pumpkin, I thought to paint one instead and to incorporate Sandy's web and spider idea.

Here is a  photo diary of how I painted the mailbox, just in case you get the bug to do one yourself!

The particulars:

First I tape two pieces of copy paper together to fit the length of the mailbox.  The 8.5" height is perfect for the space.


Then I sketch my design out in pencil like so:

Once I am satisfied with the design, I outline the drawing in a Sharpie marker. 

Next, I flip the paper over and scribble with a soft pencil over the lines of my art work - it's homemade carbon paper :)

When that is finished, I position the paper on the mailbox and use a few pieces of tape to secure it.

I use a mechanical pencil and trace the design on each side of the box.  The goal is to get a nice, single lined pattern on the mailbox like this:

And then the fun begins!  I use acrylic paint and apply thin coats.  The first thin coat is important, because the next one will grab onto it and begin a nice build up.  Since the mailbox is glossy, the acrylic paint does scrape off easily.  I use my fingernail to make any corrections on edges.  Here is the box with one coat of paint:

And here it is with three coats of paint:

Once the painting is complete, I use a medium Sharpie PAINT marker to outline the images and add the thicker lines.  Once that is finished I use a fine Sharpie PAINT marker to add details and begin tangling.  Ohhh! So much fun!

But alas, I have a confession to make.  Once I started to tangle the pumpkins, I didn't look up until they were complete.  I was in that 'zen mode' and didn't take pictures of the progress! 

With apologies for missing in-between steps - here is our new mailbox, tangled and ready for Halloween:

For added durability, I use a matte acrylic spray finish over the painted areas - two or three light coats with time to dry between sprays.

Last weekend, my husband announced that he was going to Home Depot.
I asked him to pick up a mailbox. 
His reply: "How many?"
I smiled.

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