FABRIC MAILBOX TUTORIAL

08.03.09

I thought I’d share a little project I worked out for the kids at my church. If I were really ambitious I’d make one for my own kids too. And one for me, for receiving notes. My cute 6-year-old is forever writing me the best love notes. We could write and reciprocate all day long, dropping off notes and drawings in each other’s official family mailboxes.

Fabric Mailbox Tutorial2

Supplies needed
1 piece of felt, 20 x 15 inches
1 piece fabric of your choice, same size
2 sheets plastic canvas (near the embroidery section at the craft store)
1 piece floral wire of a thicker gauge, about 9 1/2 inches long
2 strong small magnets
1 set purse closure magnets
a copy of this pattern: Fabric Mailbox Pattern (4050)

Fabric Mailbox 1cUse the pattern to trace the 5 pieces on the plastic canvas, then cut them out:
the bottom
the front (you’ll see it’s slightly shorter than the back)
the back
the top (the only piece that has just measurements on the pattern, not the full size drawing)
the flag

Fabric Mailbox 2Fabric Mailbox 1Place the felt and your fabric of choice wrong sides together. Place the plastic canvas pieces on top with slight space between, where the folds will be (3/8-inch should do). Plan to cut out a square tab on top of the front door of the mailbox (on the pattern this is represented by a dotted line). Plan to add an extra inch at the end of the long rectangle (where the dome of the mailbox will meet the bottom). Pin down and cut the fabric all around the canvas pieces, adding enough room for a seam (I used about 1/2-inch seam).

Take the canvas off and stitch around all the edges, leaving the end of the long rectangle open for turning the fabric right side out.

Fabric Mailbox 16Turn fabric right side out. Insert a magnet in the tab on the top of the front door of the mailbox. Stitch a line across the tab to keep the magnet in place.

Fabric Mailbox 3Slip all pieces of canvas into their proper places. If you find they fit too tightly, just trim a bit off.

Turn in the bottom edges of the opening, pin, and stitch closed.
Fabric Mailbox 4

Stitch in the four places the mailbox will fold, between the canvas pieces  (see the black lines on the picture).

Fabric Mailbox 7Fabric Mailbox 6A very small slit at the opening of the mailbox should allow you to to slip your floral wire in. The floral wire’s job is to shape the opening of the mailbox. Slip in your floral wire and cut it with wire cutters if it is too long. Shape it to the opening of the mailbox. Tack it down in four or five spots so it doesn’t slip out of place.

Fabric Mailbox 8Fabric Mailbox 9I hope you’ve enjoyed all the machine sewing because it is mostly over. Time to hand stitch!

Form the mailbox and start stitching from the back bottom corner. Use a blanket stitch to sew the back closed. Tuck the extra fabric under on the open side and then stitch along that edge where the top meets the bottom. The basic form of your mailbox is now done.

Fabric Mailbox 8aMake a small square pouch from the felt for your second small magnet. Put your magnet between the pieces and stitch it closed (you can use the machine), then stitch it to the top of the mailbox where the door will latch closed.

Fabric Mailbox 13Figure out where you’d like the hinge of the flag to go. Push the two prongs against the mailbox so they leave a little indent where you need to make holes. Poke two holes through the side wall of the mailbox using a sharp knife. I had no problem cutting though the fabric, canvas, and felt. I also squeezed some fabric glue over the holes to prevent the fabric from fraying.
Fabric Mailbox 10

Push the prongs of the purse magnet through the holes. Slip the disk on the back of the magnet, inside the mailbox, and use pliers to bend the prongs down.

Fabric Mailbox 11Lay your piece of canvas that will be the flag over two pieces of felt. Cut out two pieces of felt around the flag leaving a 1/4-inch seam (you will not be turning it inside out). Lay out one piece of felt and pin the piece of canvas in place on top. Leave the other piece of felt aside for now. Insert the other half of the purse magnet. Cut two slits for the prongs, through the felt then through the canvas. Push the prongs through again as shown, slip the disk in place over the canvas, and use pliers to bend the prongs down. Pin the top piece of fabric over the flag and use a basic hand stitch to stitch around the outside.

Fabric Mailbox 12Put your flag in place. If it starts to slip you have one more step. Use super glue to glue down two O-shaped pieces of fabric on each side of the purse magnet. Make sure both sides dry completely before you put the flag back in place. This provides just enough friction so the flag stays just where you want it: up when the mailbox is full and down when it’s empty!

Fabric Mailbox 14TROUBLESHOOTING
I found I had gaps at the bottom of the door, so I stitched a quarter of an inch or so up the door openings and was very happy with the results.

Fabric Mailbox 20Fabric Mailbox 21Now put your mailbox out and wait for the sweet notes to come flooding in!

Fabric Mailbox 15

NEW: I’ve recently created two indexes for browsing several ideas at a glance: one for gifts, one for gift wrap. I hope you’ll find them worth a peek. If you have any feedback, please send it my way! Thanks, as always, for visiting.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Lanimoz August 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Too Delightful! Genius Organizational Tool!

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Amy August 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm

What a CUTE idea! Found this via One Pretty Thing! I can’t wait to make it for my daughter’s Valentine’s Day cards next year! Thanks for the great tutorial.

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beth August 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm

oh thats way cuter than the one I made awhile back. I blogged about our felt mail set here: http://mamabeefromthehive.blogspot.com/2009/05/mails-here.html

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Anne Weaver August 3, 2009 at 8:21 pm

WOW!!! This is so cool!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-sew-a-fabric-mailbox/2009/08/03/
–Anne

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Floralshowers Craft Blog August 3, 2009 at 8:33 pm

I am in serious craft-love! I “played” mail all the time as a child – where was my cute mailbox when I needed one?!

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Katrina August 4, 2009 at 5:40 am

I love this mail box! You did a great job with the tutorial! I don’t know why but I love lots and lots of pictures for tutorials. I think it makes the whole thing more simple.

Katrina

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Sandra August 4, 2009 at 5:57 am

I love this!! My oldest of three boys is OBSESSED with all things mail. He is 6 but when he was 4, his top-of-the-birthday-list request was a mailman costume–which he received and consistently donned every day for weeks to greet our carrier when our mail came. Our mailman said it was the first time he’s felt idolized :). I think I have to do this–thanks for such a detailed tute!

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Sewmarm August 4, 2009 at 5:58 am

This was a very clear tutorial with good detail. The result was very neat and adorable. It looks like it could be a great gift idea, too!

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Jennifer August 4, 2009 at 4:55 pm

LOVE this! I looked for a similar pattern last Christmas to make for my kids. Now I can save to make later. Thanks!

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Luciana Borges August 16, 2009 at 4:01 pm

This was a very clear tutorial with good detail. Kisses, Luciana.

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Emily September 27, 2009 at 7:04 pm

I used your tutorial to make a mailbox for my nephew! Thanks so much!!!

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Sister Diane October 29, 2009 at 7:44 am

What a great idea, and what a lovely tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing this!

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vanessa October 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I love this idea and I love your blog! So glad I found it.

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Heather December 5, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Great tutorial. I was just a little confused because you don’t say how to cut the fabric/felt. It may just be me though! ;)

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Heather December 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm

wanted to edit what I just wrote, sorry — the confusion was because the supplies called for a 15×20 piece of felt and my plastic canvas pieces wouldn’t fit on a piece that size. fortunately I had extra.

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Noelle December 21, 2009 at 6:43 am

I just made this for my 18 mo old for Christmas, and it turned out beautifully! I am SO happy with the result. The directions were easy to follow and everything lined up etc. We can’t wait for her to use it, she loves to go to the mailbox with me so now in the cold months she can have fun getting the mail! I wish I could post a pic…I used a red/orange flannel for the outside and cool orange and white swirl for the inside, and gray polka dot for the inside of the front “door” and for the tab on top that hold the magnet. I used burgundy felt for the flag. Thanks again for making this wonderful gift possible!

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AmberLee December 21, 2009 at 6:54 am

Thanks, Noelle! I’m so thrilled that it turned out. It was so good of you to take the time to stop by and let me know. Merry Christmas!

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Carine Calé January 19, 2010 at 4:29 am

Amazing Tutorial!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And Thank You very much!!!!

Best Regards,
Carine Calé

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Mariane August 22, 2010 at 12:20 am

What a FAB-U-LOUS tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing. I wanted to finish this so much that I stayed up until 5 in the morning – was so worth it, seeing my 3 year old’s reaction.

I’ve blogged about it here: http://cookyousomenoodles.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/youve-got-mail/

Thanks Amberlee

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creativejewishmom/sara October 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm

this is beyond adorable! I just can’t resist linking to it on my weekly linking party so that I can share it with my readers….hope that’s okay, and thanks so much! all the best, sara

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Marie November 18, 2010 at 4:54 am

I think I know what santa is going to do in his workshop the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the tutorial

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Louisa February 4, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Thanks so much for sharing the tutorial! I had great fun making a mailbox this week!

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Adeela April 30, 2011 at 7:48 am

I made a mailbox using this tutorial.

http://sewkool.blogspot.com/2011/04/mailbox-with-envelopes.html

Adeela

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Katie January 30, 2012 at 7:34 am

Super cute. Love this. Thanks so much for the fun tutorial!

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Erin February 7, 2012 at 11:40 am

I’m having a hard time with things fitting too. I can make the adjustments it just isn’t working like the tutorial says it should. Also, shouldn’t it say to put the fabric and felt RIGHT SIDES together? if you put wrong sides together and then sew, it won’t work.

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