Titania needs a PO Box
September 12, 2018 1:10 PM   Subscribe

So, how can an all-thumbs dad build a mailbox for his daughter's fairy friends that will survive the elements?

My six year old daughter has been writing to the fairy queen and she has been writing back. This has all been happening in the summer, and the letters both ways have just been left in the side garden.

I want to make a winter mailbox that can stay outside and survive, but I'm not great at DIY. Any suggestions on what to do? I'm open to buying something, but it would be to at least be decorateable.
posted by selfnoise to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Are the letters standard-size? If so, an unfinished prefab wooden box, obtainable at craft stores like Michael's and similar, might do the trick. You'd want to finish it with outdoor paint or stain -- also obtainable at craft stores. You could put on a base coat and invite your daughter to decorate it, then seal the whole thing with clear outdoor spray sealant.
posted by halation at 1:17 PM on September 12, 2018

All the fairies I know would be happy to leave their secret notes in a garden rock that has been covered in glitter and bedazzled.
posted by phunniemee at 1:19 PM on September 12, 2018 [13 favorites]

I like to make outdoor stuff with cedar fence planks. They resist rot for years, weather to a pleasing (to me) grey, don't warp, and are easy to cut. You could probably create a mailbox type box out of one plank. For long term projects I use rust-proof fittings. Galvanized would last several years.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:30 PM on September 12, 2018

Perhaps a vintage mailbox?
posted by 10ch at 1:34 PM on September 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

The fairies of my acquaintance leave their post in a decorated tin can nailed sideways to a tree, or in the US I suppose to a fence or mailbox post.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:34 PM on September 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

A small birdhouse might be a good base to build from.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:01 PM on September 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

What about a mason jar that she helps decorate with tissue paper and Elmer's glue or Modge Podge Outdoor? You guys can cut shapes out of tissue paper, like flowers or leaves or abstract designs or whatever strikes her fancy, and glue/podge them on to the outside of the jar. It may eventually wear off (both types of adhesive are only water resistant, not waterproof), but you could sell this as Titania liking novel designs and wanting her to make a new one or something. The mason jar with a lid with a proper seal will be water proof, though, so her letters should stay dry.
posted by Illuminated Clocks at 2:20 PM on September 12, 2018

And while you're at it, keep all those letters (both ways) to put in a scrapbook that you give to your daughter on her 16th (or 18th or 21st) birthday.
posted by John Borrowman at 2:21 PM on September 12, 2018 [7 favorites]

This tin mailbox is $5 and looks durable enough to last a winter. The two of you can paint it and glue on decorations and put on stickers / glitter to her heart's content.
posted by ananci at 3:03 PM on September 12, 2018

Whatever you do, be sure to avoid using any cold iron.

As with some of the suggestions above, maybe something glass would be both pretty and durable? Glass jar, one of those glass jewelry boxes...? If the glass alone isn't enough you and/or she could paint some designs on it with waterproof paint. Find it a nice niche where nobody's likely to step on it.
posted by huimangm at 3:47 PM on September 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

Michael's craft store has tons of tiny houses that can be used for this purpose. Either buy a pre-made one, or buy a plain undecorated one to decorate (either by yourself as a surprise for your daughter to discover, or to decorate together to make a gift for the fairies).
posted by erst at 3:56 PM on September 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nthing the secret rock or the mason jar. If there is an appropriate place out of the weather a simple solution would be a basic wall mounted mailbox from a big box store or from Amazon. For extra weather proofing you could add some weatherstripping.

I really like the empty tins from Republic of Tea, also. Easy to decorate - spray with some primer and decoupage decorations, then seal. And the lids fit snugly, but should be easy for small hands to manage.
posted by Altomentis at 4:12 PM on September 12, 2018

I see a wall-mount mailboxes for $14-$18 on Amazon. You could attach it to a piece of wood. (Painted galvanized steel so can be decorated.)

You might want to check nextdoor or fb neighborhood sale groups...somebody may have something free that you could have for fairypost!
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:43 PM on September 12, 2018

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