Mail sorter & key holder makeover

Black letter bin on the wall, photo

I bought this mail sorter on clearance at Target a couple years ago. It’s seen better days, and it’s not exactly the look I go for anymore. To quote my sister, it’s “really ugly.” So I gave it a makeover. A little paint, two label holders, and three cup hooks made it more my style and more functional. (This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I may earn a small commission. You can read my full disclosure here.)

Wood letter bin hanging on the wall, photo

My first DIY projects appeared in Sunset magazine’s now defunct blog, Home By Sunset. This post is an updated version of “Just add paint & bling,” originally published August 1, 2007.

Black letter bin on the wall, closeup photo
Wood letter bin hanging on the wall, photo

How to makeover a mail sorter

The mail sorter disassembled, photo

1. I unscrewed and removed each bin, then sanded the entire surface with fine sand paper. After removing the sanding dust with tack cloth, I painted on a coat of primer. When that was dry, I painted three coats of the same black paint that I used to paint the drawer unit (in the first photo).

Tip #1 Disposable gloves will prevent the tack cloth’s sticky substance from getting on your hands. That stuff doesn’t come off.

Tip #2 Use paint that’s made for wood. It will give you a harder finish, but will take longer to dry. I used Benjamin Moore Metal & Wood Enamel in Space Black (2119-10).

Cut piece of wood, photo

2. After removing the bins, I discovered that the bottoms were little more than ⅛-inch thick, which wouldn’t be enough to screw cup hooks into. So I found a scrap piece of wood at The Home Depot that was the perfect thickness. I cut a piece to fit in the bottom of the bin (with a coping saw because it’s the only saw I had on hand, but a miter saw would be better). Then I sanded it and painted one side with black paint.

Drilling holes for cup hooks, photo

3. When the paint was dry, I clamped the piece of wood to the bottom bin and drilled pilot holes in the spots I had already measured and marked. Then I screwed each cup hook into the pre-drilled holes.

Black letter bin on the wall, closeup photo

4. After I screwed the bins back in place, I measured and marked where I wanted each label holder to go. Then, I pre-drilled holes and attached the label holders. Finally, I made “In” and “Out” labels on my computer and dropped them into each holder. All I had to do next was hang it back on the wall and let it fully dry over the next few days.

Crafty Nest mail sorter and key holder Pinterest image

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