Introduction: Vanlife - a Petrolheads Postbox

About: I am a Marine Engineer in the RNZN (45 years done in various navies) and am looking forward to retirement!!! so I can do more messing about with tools

One day all of you Vanlife Guys and Gals are going to have to settle down.

Kids will come along, there will be rent or mortgages and you will hark back to your old, free life on the road.

Bummer Dude!!!

So here's a little project to remind you of your younger days, your former life, when you had few responsibilities and considerably more hair.

When you still had Mo-Jo instead of Oh-No!!

The Vanlife Postbox in all its glory

Step 1: Materials

A Rural Postbox ( I got this one from Bunnings - a tad over $95 NZ - I'm sure they will be cheaper in the states)

Spray Paint (various colours) $6 a can

Painters Tape $4

Acrylic paint (left over from other projects)

Varnish/Paint etc that I had lying around

I also used an offcut of marine ply and a couple of M6 bolts that were lying around


Paint brushes (mainly artists brushes)

Craft Knife

Step 2: Preparation

I went for the Red and Black Postbox as it had the most striking colours but fill your boots to what colour you use.

(there are blue and yellow, light and dark green etc)

These approximate the shape of the classic VW camper van

First off I took it apart and gave it a light "sand" with Scotchbrite where the paint was going to be to help it adhere better

Step 3: Mask Up

I masked up the areas I didn't want painted (Red sides and Black bumpers (Fenders)

I also cut out the VW logo and (not shown) bumper over-riders and badge bar

Note in keeping I have used NZ Petrolhead magazine as a mask!

Step 4: First Paint

Now the roof on classic VW's are generally white, plus there is a V shape on the front (with the outer segments being body colour). So first I sprayed all the bits that I needed to be white.

It took a few coats but just spray thin coats from the aerosol until you have the coverage you want

I sprayed, let dry for 10 minutes and then next coat etc, I have got decent coverage with no runs !!!!

Then let it dry thoroughly (patience doesn't come easily to me and I started the next stage a bit early which caused a couple of issues with paint leeching!! Sorted it out with a bit of respraying though)

Step 5: More Masking

After the main colour had been sprayed, it was time to start masking up for details.

Again painters tape was used after the white had dried for 24 hours (yeah right !!! I tried doing this after 6 hours)

I then painted the front red bits with enamel

Step 6: Windows, Curtains Etc

These were hand painted in the masked areas using Acrylic paint (brown interior with blue curtains)

Step 7: Unmasking

I carefully peeled off the masking tape to reveal the details

Using a permanent marker I outlined the windows, drew in the wipers and number plate.

Also painted on lights and indicators

Step 8: Finishing Touches

I thought that the whole thing would look more rounded off with some accessories.

I cut a lozenge of Marine Ply and using a belt sander made a surfboard for the roof

I figured that it needed a fin, so I cut one and screwed it on the board centreline.

I then varnished this with a dab of yacht varnish I found in an old tin

Step 9: Securing Arrangement for Surfboard

I drilled 2 holes through the surfboard and bolted 2 M6 bolts through them.

I then marked out and drilled 2 holes in the postbox roof.

Step 10: Bolt on the Board

I bolted the board to the roof and there it was done!

So I just have to go and bolt it to the post by the gate and I can contemplate my lost youth!!

Enjoy Dudes and Dudettes

Outside Contest 2017

Participated in the
Outside Contest 2017

#Vanlife Contest

Participated in the
#Vanlife Contest

Box Contest 2017

Participated in the
Box Contest 2017