Quick Fix: Made-to-Match Mail Slot

Do you remember how funky our front door looked when we bought it?  Let me refresh your memory:

before - our front door

Hideous, right?

Well, after we spruced it up and stained it and made it look a little less prison-like, we added some snazzy new hardware to our refurbished front door:

our refinished and restained front door

I love the black satin finish of the entry hardware – doesn’t it look rich against the stained door?

When we ordered the hardware for the front door, we were able to pick one finish for the exterior and another finish for the interior – pretty snazzy!  That way, the door hardware on the interior could match the satin nickel finish that we have on all of the rest of the door levers throughout the house:

our mailbox slot

We also picked out a new black mail slot for the front door – unfortunately, we couldn’t pick a different finish for the interior, so we’ve been stuck with this mismatched look in our entryway for the past six months.

our mailbox slot

After staring at this unsightly sight month after month, I finally decided to take action.  I marched into Home Depot and marched out with two cans of magic that were destined to transform our mismatched mail slot into something a little more coordinated.  Something a little like this:

mailbox slot

Here’s how it all went down:

1.  Buy some magic in a can.  A full arsenal of spray paint is a must-have for any DIY-er.  In this case, I added a metal primer and a brushed metal spray paint to my collection:

spray paint primer for metal brushed metal spray paint

The primer wasn’t absolutely necessary since our mail slot doesn’t get a lot of use (or any, actually – we have a mailbox, too), but I decided that a little extra sticking power never hurt anyone.

2.  Take it all off.  Armed with my handy Phillips-head screwdriver, I tackled the four tiny screws that were holding the interior side of our mail slot into place.  The result was none too pretty:

our mailbox slot

3.  Make a work station.  Newspapers, drop cloths, whatever you have on hand makes the perfect work station for a spray painting party.  I happened to have a random cardboard box lying around so I stuck the screws into the cardboard so that they would stand up and propped open the mail slot with a little stick.  MacGuyver would have been proud:

painting our mailbox slot

4.  Get into prime form.  If you thought this project was easy so far, get ready for this step – it’s about to get even easier.  Whip out your can of primer spray paint and spray thin coats of primer all over the mail slot (and screws) in thin, quick bursts.  I took a little practice shot on the cardboard just to get in fighting form.

priming mailbox slot

5.  Give your trigger finger a workout.  After you’ve let the primer dry (30 minutes or so should do the trick), it’s time for the star of the show – the brushed metal spray paint.  I don’t know of a spray paint that matches satin nickel hardware exactly – that brown undertone is hard to match.  Maybe a coat of brown underneath the brushed metal paint would do the trick?  If anyone knows, chime in and let us all know!

Anyway, after a few passes with my brushed metal spray paint the mail slot looked like this:

spray painting mailbox slot

Not too shabby!!

6.  Screw it up.  Give the schmancy new mail slot some time to dry, then screw it back up and admire.  Let’s take another look at that now-matching mail slot:

mailbox slot

This was hands-down the easiest project I’ve ever done.  And talk about (virtually) instant gratification!!  Excluding dry time, this project took about 5 minutes.  It doesn’t get much better than that!!

Are you a sucker for spray paint?  Fill us in on your favorite project that you tackled with a can of spray paint!

This post is shared with Tales from Bloggeritaville, Blue Cricket Design, The Thrifty Home, We Are THAT Family, and Domestically Speaking.

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  1. Averill says:

    Looks great! I’m thinking about spray painting some of my dark brown (not-so-amazing) furniture a glossy black to mimic lacquer but I’m concerned that the wood grain will come through. Do you think I should go for a matte finish instead?

  2. natalie says:

    amazing transformation. Great job!

    How about some house numbers. I like it when they say
    No. 356 in a neat font. Someone posted a few ideas a while back but I can’t remember who.

  3. Tonya says:

    Great job Liz! I’m so impressed, your mail slot looks great! Your mailperson must be very tall, as the mail slot seems so high :-)

  4. Lucinda says:

    I wonder why the former owners put in a mailslot and mailbox. Do you recieve mail in both? I’ve always wanted a mail slot I think it would be great when you go out of town. I had an apartment once that had a mailslot and I just loved it.

  5. Kristina says:

    Good ‘ole spray paint! God bless it. It looks great and I’m curious why it is up so high. I know ya’ll didn’t install it but I don’t think I could ever reach that if I were a mail carrier. Am I just not in the mail slot loop these days?

  6. Meredith says:

    Looks great! What an easy way to spruce up an accessory. I agree with others – why put in 2 mail slots, including 1 at head level?!?

  7. Michelle says:

    MY HUSBAND LOVES SPRAY PAINT! We use it for everything. Quick fix for picture frames, especially. He even uses it to create old guitars into art!

  8. Liz says:

    Ha, you guys are echoing the exact same things that my husband and I said when we first moved in – why two places for mail, and why so darn high?!? We think it’s up super high because the little old ladies that used to live here were very VERY security conscious – hence the iron bars on every potential entrance into the house! I think they thought that a lower mail slot would allow someone with ridiculously skinny arms unlock the door. :) We would have done away with the mailbox and just used the mail slot, but we figured that mail dropped from such a height would leave some interesting messes at our front door. :) Ah, well!


    I think your success with the glossy black will depend on the type of wood that you’re painting. A super grainy wood like oak (especially if it was manufactured on the end grain) will be tough, but something smoother like maple could turn out great. I would suggest doing a test patch on an inconspicuous patch (maybe inside) on one of your pieces – I hope the glossy black works out, it sounds beautiful!!

    ~ Liz

  9. Desiree says:

    Love the spray paint! I just did some picture frames and breathed, or should I say sprayed, some new life right back into them (wah wah waaaaaaaah) :-) Cheesetastic I know but I couldn’t resist!

    Anyway, I’m all about the design blogs since we moved into our place May 1st and I’m loving yours – especially since you live in Dallas! We should do a Dallas blogger thing (and by that I mean we should all have drinks) sometime!

    PS – we used to live downtown and I’d see the Joule every time we went out – loved seeing it from the inside!

  10. Bridget B says:

    Hi Liz,

    The mail slot looks great! We recently spray-painted our brass colored fire place screen to a brushed nickel color. It came out a little dull, so we’re going to take your advice and spray a coat of clear gloss on it.

    • Liz says:


      Wow, how did you like living downtown?? I’ve always wondered what that would be like! And the idea of a Dallas blogger thing is intriguing . . . :)

      Bridget B,

      Good luck with your fireplace screen!! We’d love to hear how it goes! :)

      ~ Liz

  11. Desiree says:

    I loved it – we were at the Mosaic and it was great. However, it is definitely a party building and you don’t always want the party in your backyard. It was pretty handy to just stumble home instead of worrying about driving after a night out! :-) I mean, not that I know anything about that…

    Kristina (Purple Pea) is putting together a thrift store day on July 25, don’t know if you know about it and/or if you’re going. But our new house is in Kessler Park so I’m still pretty close to uptown and I work downtown so just let me know if you ever want to do a happy hour or something. I’m always down to meet new people and make new girlfriends. Drew’s always after me that I don’t have enough girlfriends – I just tell him it’s because I haven’t met anyone as cool as me. :-)

  12. LOVE it! It looks awesome!

  13. Lisa says:

    It came out really nice! It’s amazing what you can do with spray paint.

  14. Rhonda says:

    This is my first time to stop here. Nice to meet you. I love spray paint!! Your mail slot looks fantastic…however, I cannot, cannot, get over your door! What a TRANSFORMATION!! That is one of the best transformations I’ve seen in a while…amazing! It looks brand new!

    I’m off to check out more of your blog!!

    • Liz says:


      Thanks so much!! We LOVE our door, too – we felt pretty hopeless about it when we first bought the house and were afraid that we were going to have to replace it – a costly endeavor that we were definitely not looking forward to! We were so pleased with how it turned out, and I’m so glad you like it!

      ~ Liz

  15. Jennifer says:

    Ingenious! Good job:)

  16. Roeshel says:

    Great transformation and rescue! It looks gorgeous!

  17. Visiting from Kimba’s party. :) Isn’t it funny how much of a difference a quick little project can take? I always wonder why I just didn’t get it done already. :) Looks great!

  18. Phil says:

    Good job!! I found a good article on mail slot receptacles. It probably wouldn’t be beneficial for your door though, as your slot is above a window, but it may be really helpful to others.



  19. WOW! Now THAT is COOL! Great work!

    Thanks for linking up to Thrifty Thursday!


    Tales from Bloggertiaville


  20. Roxanna Morgan says:

    This project was a disaster for me. I read your post & decided this is exactly what I want to do with my shiny brass slot. I wanted the outside slot black & the inside slot to oil rubbed bronze. I first sprayed the inside slot & it was prefect, then when installing I chipped it. So I removed the slot & headed outside to spray again. The weather had turned colder that morning & yes, when I sprayed the paint it bubbled. Oh my gosh, what to do now! I thought well, I will just go buy me a new black slot. No such luck, went to every hardware store in town & no black slot. So, I went home & dipped the slot in mineral spirits & scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed until all of the paint was removed & then reinstalled it. So “BIG” lesson learned…..first prime & never spray paint in cold weather as the instructions on the can states. I am not giving up on this project, I am just going to wait until this Spring when the weather is warmer. BUT just in case it still does not work for me, where did you purchase your black mail slot? Thanks.

    • Liz says:


      Ugh, I’m sorry this project turned out to be such a pain for you! Yes, spray paint is surprisingly picky about temperatures. :(

      We got our black mail slot at the now-defunct Home Depot Expot, but I just did a quick search googling “black mail slot” and there seems to be a decent number of sources out there. Good luck!!

      ~ Liz