I’ve done a few MMS Milk Paint makeovers on metal pieces.
There’s the metal hospital desk.
And this beverage cart.
So it’s only fitting that the time came to paint a metal mailbox.
This particular mailbox belongs to Brenda at Painted Table Designs. It’s one of many boring black mailboxes in the suite of businesses where the shop is located. Brenda asked me if I could paint it last week, so a slow Monday gave me the opportunity to give it a Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint makeover!
The key to painting metal is to clean it thoroughly first. Because mailboxes are always outside, I used odorless mineral spirits and gave it a proper wipe-down. You should have seen the rag when I was done. It was icky. Plus, the mailboxes are right by the road, so they are constantly pummeled with dirt and road grime. (Yes, that’s a real thing…road grime.)
Brenda picked Shutter Gray as her color of choice. It’s a gorgeous French blue/gray that looks fabulous with just about anything! She’s going to put her business label on it once it’s dry, and I think it will look fabulous.
I forgot a mini whisk when I packed up my painting stuff this morning, so I used a wooden stir stick and it worked just fine!
I also dribbled in a little bit of Bonding Agent.
Bonding Agent helps give MMS Milk Paint a smoother texture and improves its adhesive properties on smooth and slick surfaces, such as metal mailboxes!
I tried not to dribble in too much because Brenda wanted a chippy look. (Spoiler alert – the mailbox wound up not chipping at all, so I was too heavy-handed with the Bonding Agent. See? Even professional painters mess up!) After mixing up my Shutter Gray, I went to town.
After a few brush strokes, things were looking fresh and clean.
If you’ve never used MMS Milk Paint before, rest assured that the first coat goes on streaky, ugly, and uneven. If your first coat looks anything like this, you’re doing the right thing!
Getting around the left side and the back of the mailbox was a piece of cake. The right side was a bit more challenging because I had a neighboring mailbox to avoid.
After some comical bending and standing up on tip-toe, my first coat was on and drying quickly in the hot Pennsylvania weather. The customers who were coming in and out of the coffee house next door got a fun show at the same time.
That, dear friends, is what we call a win-win.
The mailbox needed two full coats plus a handful of touch-up spots. Here it is after both coats. It looks so much fresher and cleaner than its buddies on the fence. (No offense, guys.)
Once it was completely dry, I used 120 grit sandpaper and began rubbing away at the edges and along the lettering to bring out some details.
The back had really great texture, which showed up when I started distressing.
Both sides had this rectangle name area, which I made sure to rub away.
The letters are my favorite though. Aren’t they so sweet?
I’m pretty sure the Postmaster General would approve of this makeover!
There’s that texture I was talking about on the back!
I didn’t paint the inside, but I did make sure to get the edges.
Here’s the box after I finished distressing.
Because the mailbox would be exposed to heat, sun, wind, rain, hail, snow and road grime, I wanted to use an exterior sealer that would protect it against the elements. Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat is good for high traffic areas, but it’s not meant to be used outside. Whenever I need to seal something for outdoor use, I use General Finishes Exterior 450.
With that said, Exterior 450 is meant to be used on wood surfaces, so I’m not 100% sure how it will hold up on a metal mailbox. It was the only exterior sealer I had on hand, so I thought I would try it out and see how it goes. You always take a risk when you mix products from different brands and lines, and to be honest with all of you, I think it’s important to share when I’m not sure how things will turn out.
I did see some minor discoloring in a few spots, so I’m not sure if that was the sealer reacting with the Milk Paint, or if the sealer was picking up something that was on the metal.
Here’s one spot where you can really see it. In the lip below the “POSTMASTER” letters, you can see a yellowy-lime green spot. When you step back, it’s not noticeable, but like I said, this is the risk you run when you mix products.
Here’s what the mailbox looks like all finished. I know it’s a bit silly to put a wreath on a mailbox, but I wanted to dress it up and make it look pretty.
So, what do you think? Are you going to give your mailbox a makeover? If you do, let me know how it goes!