Upcycled Thrift Store Mail Holder

upcycled thrift store mail holder

Oh, how I miss thrift stores! There’s nothing like finding a diamond in the rough and turning it into something useful and attractive. Luckily for me, I have a basement full of treasures from the pre-pandemic days. As I’m working on a command center, I decided to make an upcycled mail holder out of a dated wooden box.

unpainted dated thrift store box

This old, forgotten box is probably from the 70’s. It has a hole in the top so it can be attached to the wall. I cleaned it up and got it ready for a coat of paint.

sanding a thrift store box before applying paint

It had a shiny finish, so I gave it a light sanding to give it some tooth. This will allow the paint to better adhere to the wood.

wiping away the dust after sanding a thrift store box

Then I wiped away the dust with a wet paper towel.

applying Dixie Belle BOSS to a thrift store box to avoid bleed through

I was afraid this piece had the potential for bleed through, which happens when tannins seep through the paint and make it look yellow. As I was planning to paint the box a light color, I decided to give it a coat of Dixie Belle BOSS.

can of Dixie Belle BOSS

BOSS is a great product to prep items that may have some issues. If you find a piece of furniture that you love but it reeks of cigarette smoke, BOSS will seal the piece before painting and block the odor. It’s a great product!

painting a thrift store box with gray chalk paint to create an upcycled mail holder

Once the BOSS was dry (about an hour), I applied two coats of Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in Manatee Gray. What a difference already!

can of Dixie Belle Manatee Gray chalk mineral paint

The final touch was to apply a stencil. I had mesh letter stencils from A Maker’s Studio in my stash, so I spelled out the word MAIL.

applying stencils to an upcycled mail holder

These stencils are designed to be used with a washable chalk paste or a permanent gel ink, which I don’t have in my stock. Instead, I used some Dixie Belle paint that had dried into a paste.

applying paint to stencils

I applied the paint, an off white (Drop Cloth) with a plastic spreader. And then…things went wrong.

removing stencils from an upcycled mail holder

When I removed the stencils, the paint was very faint in most places. I tried to reapply the paint, but it didn’t help much. So, I went to plan B.

tracing over painted stencils with a black Sharpie

I took a Sharpie and traced over the stencils. It’s not perfect, but I do like the overall look of my upcyled mail holder.

upcycled thrift store mail holder

The stencil font reminds me a little of Rae Dunn. You’ve got to see how great the mail holder now looks in my command center!

Thanks for stopping by!


PS…if you love thrift store upcycles like me, check out these projects:

Easy DIY Farmhouse Style Cake Pan Tiered Tray

How to Make a Chalkboard Holiday Serving Tray

How to Update a Gold Mirror with Chalk Paint

Similar Posts


  1. What a lovely upcycle! I’ve been buying some things online but it’s not the same. There’s something magical about entering a thrift store – you never know what treasure you’ll find!

  2. I miss thrift store so much Rebecca and like you I have a bit of a stash to work with. Love what you did with the wooden box,

  3. I love the shape of this, what a find! Can’t wait to see your command center! I can’t wait until the world opens either. I took for granted popping in places to grab supplies or taking an afternoon to browse through thrift stores and home decor places. I think that’s where a lot of my inspiration comes from.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.