My Letterbox DIY

This is my first DIY so please bear with me 🙂

Things You’ll Need

Spray Glue – $4.97
3 – 12x12x6 cardboard boxes – $5.91
Xacto Knife – (on hand) $0
Scissors – (on hand) $0
12 sheets of 12×12 Decorative Paper in Color Scheme – (on hand) $0
Sand Paper – $1.96
White Spray Paint – $.96
Screw Driver – (on hand) $0
10 Hinges – $3.94
Black Duct Tape – (on hand) $0
Fabric Ribbon & Trim – (on hand) $0
Hot Glue Gun w/ Glue Sticks – (on hand) $0
Glue Stick – $.25
White Printer Paper – (on hand) $0
Pen or Word Processor & Printer – (on hand) $0
Craft Paper – (on hand) $0

Total Cost – $17.99


Back a few months ago, I fell in love with this beautiful antique letterbox for holding our place cards. After searching high and low for the perfect box, I couldn’t find one anywhere near our price range. So I decided to make one 🙂


Well seeing how I’ve never made one of these before or seen a tutorial for doing so, this was largely a test of trial and error. So bear with me as I recount my steps 🙂

Step 1:
I started off by taking 2 of the boxes – which were still unfolded – and cutting off one of the narrow sides on each box.


Step 2:
Then I took the taped together the long sides of each box to form the frame for a larger box. (as you can tell the pictures explain this a lot better than I can)


Step 3:
Now you can tape the bottom of the box so that you have an actual box shape.


Step 4:
Seeing that we only need a 6″ deep box, now I cut the flaps off the top of the box. Save all the extra cardboard b/c you will be using it later.


Step 5:
I took the 2 long flaps and taped them together. I then taped them into place in the horizontal center of the box to form a shelf halfway through it. Now I just had to make the dividers form my cubbies.


Step 6:
The Dividers – here is where the shorter flaps came in handy. Seeing how they measured the exact height and width as the height and depth of my box they required no trimming. I simply had to find the 6″ halfway point and sketch a line to follow. Then using the Xacto knife, I cut a 1/8″ slit along the line stopping 1/4″ from cutting all the way through the piece.



In order for the dividers to butt flush against the middle shelf, I needed to cut a 1/4″ x 1/4″ notch in the shelf for the divider to rest in.


Therefore, these notches need to be set 4″ apart from each other along the shelf to create perfectly spaced cubbies.


Once the grooves are cut, you just slip the divider onto the shelf and hook it into the notch. Secure in place with tape.


This is where the 3rd box comes into play. Cut it’s short flaps for more dividers.

Step 7:
By the end it should look something like this.


Step 8:
It was at this point that I over-layed all the sides and edges of the box with the black duct tape. This is essential in pulling off the whitewashed look later.


Step 9:
Here’s where I headed outside to take care of the messy stuff. I started off my sanding the duct tape… yes, sanding duct tape! Not too much, just lightly to help the spray paint adhere. I roughed up some parts more than others to help the white wash effect.


Step 10:
For the back, I rolled up a large piece of craft paper. After spraying a coat of spray glue, I immediately unrolled the paper onto the box, smoothing as I unrolled to avoid any ripples or air bubbles.


Step 11:
Now I just trimmed the excess paper off with the Xacto knife. (it’s really starting to come along, isn’t it?)


Step 12:
Onto the spraying. I sprayed an uneven coat of white paper over the duct taped sides. Because it’s been over 110 degrees here the paint was instantly drying so I didn’t have to wait before roughing up the coat by sanding portions of this.


After I’d sand, I’d spray a bit more paint. I just kept repeating this process until I got a look I was happy with. I loved how the duct tape strips ended up looking like wood planks.


I finished it off by spraying the back all white.

Step 13:
Using either craft paper or in my case left over scrapbook paper (these were left over from our paper fan favors), I cut little rectangles which I spray glued into the back of each cubby.


Step 14:
The hardest part was lining the cubby walls. It takes one sheet of 12×12 paper for each cubby. I started off by cutting each sheet in half.


I started by pre-creasing the paper to fit snugly inside each cubby. Then spraying the cubby first with glue (trust me on this one… it was a true trial and error there…) slip the paper inside and smooth against the walls. I found it helps to do the bottom of the cubby with the first paper. Then repeat the step to cover the top of the cubby with the second half of the paper. Don’t expect it to be perfect… a lot of mine weren’t but we’ll cover that in a minute…


Step 15:
Once all the cubbies were lined, I trimmed away the excess paper with my Xacto knife and brought the box back inside.


Step 16:
Seeing as how I had a few slip-ups with the paper linings, I busted out my scrap trim collection. I have a large assortment of blacks and whites.


I started by hot gluing some ribbon over the cubby edges. Make sure you fold down the ends so that they don’t unravel. And I did the vertical pieces first so that the horizontal strip would finish it off.


Also feel free to hot glue trim anywhere you want to cover inside the cubbies.

Step 17:
Using a screw driver, I started screwing the hinges into the top of each cubby.


I’m only using 10 cubbies for place cards so i picked 2 that would go hinge-less.


Step 18:
Once I had the hinges in place, I hot glued a decorative trim around the top and side edges of the box. This hid any tape strips that showed through on the edges.


Step 19:
Using the remaining cardboard from the extra box, I measured 1.5″x3.75″ strips which I cut out with the Xacto.


I then cut a 2×8.5 strip of white computer paper.


With the glue stick, I attached the front of the cardboard to the back side of the paper.


Then I glued over the top long edge followed by the bottom long edge.


Following the same premise as gift wrapping a box, I made triangle flaps which I glued into place on the cardboard.


I repeated this step 10 times for my handing signs.


Step 20:
Using a word processor and a pretty calligraphy font, I printed out letter ranges for my signs. I had them measure less than a 1″ tall to allow room at the top of each sign to attach to the hinges.


I simply cut each letter range out and glued it onto it’s own sign.


Step 21:
Now I just needed to screw each sign into place on it’s own hinge.


Be sure to put them in the correct alphabetical order 🙂


Step 22:
The finished product!


I used little knick knacks to embellish my letterbox and am more than pleased with the finished results. It turned out exactly how I wanted it and it surprisingly sturdy/heavy. In all I probably spent 10 hrs and under $20 on this project and I think it was worth every minute 🙂

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