For several years I have painted mailboxes for my parents' home. The last one I painted for them was five years ago and it was starting to show its age, so this summer I decided that they were due for a new one. The past few mailboxes have been more illustrative, so this time I decided to go with a more graphic design inspired look for a change.
The mailbox I started with was originally a bronze color, but I primed it with a pearly white finish for the base of the design. Once the base coat was dry, I used painters tape in varying widths to mask out the herringbone inspired pattern. I didn't do any measuring for the pattern, just eyeballed everything for the stripes. I wanted the color blocks to be similar in size but with enough variety to add more visual interest.
Then it was simply a matter of going through with three different shades of blue and aqua house paint (acrylic paint would work fine, too, but I had these colors on hand from a previous project) and a sponge brush to dab in the color. I used a sponge brush instead of a normal brush so that I would have a flatter finish with the color. I tested how a normal brush looked, but I wasn't happy with being able to see the brushstroke lines. I did use a normal paintbrush for painting in the lettering.
The lettering was put on the mailbox out by first printing out the address using my computer (the font used was Futura). I then flipped the printouts over, and on the back of the paper I covered where the lettering was with pencil. If you're trying this at home, you can just hold the paper up to a light to make sure that the back is sufficiently covered with pencil to cover the letters. Once that was done, I taped the sheet to the mailbox, with the pencil covered back against the metal and the printed lettering on top. I then simply traced over the printed letters, and the pencil on the back of the paper transfers your tracing on to the surface of the mailbox. It's the same concept as carbon paper.
After all of the painting was completed and all of the tape removed, I sealed everything with Rust-Oleum's Crystal Clear Enamel spray to make the paint last longer against weather elements. Then it was just a matter of installing the hardware and the mailbox was done. Ta-da!