While I have been steadily working on models and tutorials for more house designs, I also have several other models I have previously made that I need to finish landscaping. For one of them I wanted a US Mail drop box. While I thought I could cut one out by hand fairly quickly, I realized that it might be an accessory other people would want for their village, particularly if you made Teri Hanson’s Post Office that she designed for Putz House Monthly. You can’t have a Post Office without mail drop boxes out front!
That would have been my only accessory design for now, until Lucy Foxworth of Paper Glitter Glue put out a pattern for a Paper Mailbox for Valentine’s Day. I wanted 3D mailboxes for my houses too! I downloaded the pattern thinking to shrink it to use as a 3D mailbox for my village, but it is way too detailed for that. Though super cute, Lucy designed it as a Valentine’s decoration that you can stuff full of candy and give as a gift, not as an accessory for a holiday village. So I made a very simple 3D mailbox that you can use with the houses in your village.
I include two different kind of posts for the mailbox. You can also place it on top of a wall or a fence. Consider varying the size of the mailboxes in your village. I notice that some of my neighbors have large mailboxes, while others have ones that are quite small.
Though my intention is to cut all of these out of aluminum cans as accessories for the building I have made, I made my models for this blogpost out of cardstock so that the tutorial would be easier to follow.
How You Make the 3D Mailboxes
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Materials to Make the 3D Mailboxes
- My free pattern for the 3D Mailboxes from the A Cottage in the Forest Library – get the password for free by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
- Medium Weight Cardstock or aluminum cans – your choice!
- Glue – for the Cardstock I like Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue. I put it in a bottle with a thin metal tip. For aluminum cans, I use Aleene’s The Ultimate Glue.
- A Cutting Machine like a Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore or, if you are going to make the pattern from the PDF, a hand-held craft blade like an X-Acto knife or Cricut TrueControl Knife. I recently bought a new type of hand-held knife called the Excel Knife. It is nice in that it uses the cheaper craft blades, but the blade doesn’t work its way loose like the blade in my X-Acto knife often does.
- Bone folder (optional, but strongly suggested.) A bone folder helps you make sharp folds when you are using cardstock or cardboard. I have found it even helps with aluminum cans. I now use my bone folder to deepen score lines all the time.
- Multi-surface satin finish acrylic paints or Ranger distress inks in the color of your choice (optional, it you use white cardstock.)
How To Make The 3D Mailboxes
Download the 3D Mailboxes Pattern
Download the 3D Mailboxes pattern from A Cottage in the Forest Library. Don’t forget to unzip it. The pattern is available in multiple formats – as a SVG (scalable vector graphics), DXF (drawing eXchange format) or PDF file. I now include a 1″ square in with all of my SVG files. Scale the pattern so that the square is 1″ to make the mailboxes in the size they were designed. Of course the wonderful thing about SVG files is that you can easily scale them to make your mailboxes whatever size you would like.
Import the 3D Mailboxes into Design Software and Cut
As of this blog post, a Cricut Design Space update broke the attached score lines. You will need to go through the pattern in Design Space and change the score lines to Score and then attach them to their object.
Here is a great tutorial from Jennifer Maker’s website on attaching score lines. I have started making all of my score lines red so that you can tell that they are intended to be are score lines.
Decide which type of post you want for your house’s mailbox. Cut out all of your pieces using my pattern.
Fold and Assemble US Mail Drop Box
The score lines are very close together. I suggest scoring them deeper, then using a straight edge like a ruler to help fold them. I often use a jewelry plier to grasp the cardstock and help me fold it. Use a skewer to roll the upper back of the dropbox.
Glue one side of the bottom onto the drop box. You do not need to add the bottom at all if you don’t want to, it just makes the drop box sturdier if you will be moving it around.
Glue the drop box into a square, then glue the second set of bottom legs into place.
Fold down the front part of the drop box and glue into place. Then apply glue to the tab on top as well as the curved back and glue into place.
You can find US Postal graphics on the internet. I printed one out and glued it onto the sides of the drop box.
Fold and Assemble the Mailboxes
Roll the top of the mailbox around a skewer to curve it. Fold the post(s).
glue the tab to the other side of the mailbox, creating the curve. Place a line of glue around one of the curved edges of the mailbox and press the end into place. You may need to pinch the mailbox into shape. You can glue the other end if you don’t want your mailbox open. Glue on the flag. Glue the posts. The T posts have little squares to finish the ends you will see.
Glue the mailboxes onto the posts. The T-post is front heavy and will not stand up by itself, so needs to be glued to your base to stand up.
That’s it! Enjoy adding your 3D Mailboxes to your Holiday Village! I would love to see pictures of your village using the mailboxes. Please share photos with me by emailing me at Jackie@acottageintheforest.com.
FREE CUT FILES & PATTERN FOR THE 3D Mailboxes
Download the 3D Mailboxes
Get the password for the library with the free 3D Mailboxes pattern and SVG/DXF/PDF files here by filling out this form:
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