Painting By Numbers

The south- and snowplow-facing numbers on the mailbox weren’t up to the challenge:

Mailbox - faded numbers
Mailbox – faded numbers

I wiped the crud off the reflective labels with denatured alcohol before painting, but that was the extent of the surface preparation.

I’m not getting graded on my ability to paint within the lines using a foam brush and that’s a Good Thing:

Mailbox - repainted numbers
Mailbox – repainted numbers

That’s Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer, chosen entirely because it was oil-based, outdoor-rated, and near the front of the shelf. I’m not going to topcoat it; that stuff is on its own. The slight color variations show still-wet primer here & there.

The north-facing numbers were in better shape, so a few dabs covered the obvious problems.

Hey, I wiped that peeling paint off the top of the box, too…

15 thoughts on “Painting By Numbers

  1. that is pretty good to know.. speaking of paint, have you seen any of the glow in the dark paint in the US yet? I am looking to do a top coat of my bike for when I ride early am or at night or even at dust

    1. Other than kiddie-size containers of GITD paint for craft projects, nope. I doubt it’d suffice for outdoor use, though, and I’m certain it wouldn’t be bright enough to matter.

      Blinky LEDs FTW!

          1. Home Desperate sells Rust-Oleum GitD paint for $10 a 10-ounce can. The reviews are underwhelming on the Depot website.

            On reflective: You can get 2″ strips of red/white reflective sticky. Commonly used on semi-trailers and such. We use lengths of this on the driveway gate in lieu of lighting the thing. I think I bought mine at the local farm and ranch supply, though any supplier for utility trailers or a large truck stop should have it.

            The border collie’s new leash uses a cloth-covered rope, and that cloth uses reflective roving in the pattern.

  2. 3M makes some nice reflective tape that could be cut out for the numbers. I’ve seen it used on the back of motorcycles and helmets. Very visible with just a bit of light.

    1. Turns out that white background is Genuine 3M Retroreflective Tape: they’re standard mailbox labels, but the numbers eroded. The tape itself is in fine condition, so I figured I could simply refresh the digits.

      Perhaps the primer will outlast the original ink…

      On the other paw, “cut out for the numbers” sounds like a great excuse for either a vinyl cutter that actually works or, heck, a full-throttle laser cutter!

        1. TEM00 mode destabilization? [wince]

          That said, plinking the retroreflector on the utility pole in the back yard with a laser pointer shows how wonderfully well those prisms work: that red spot is blinding!

      1. I bought one of those cheap Chinese vinyl cutters and am pleased to report it does actually work.

        1. As I see the worst case, you get a project kit…

          The same might not be true with a cheap laser cutter, as replacing the tube and optics might cost far more than it’s worth.

          1. I actually bought a cheap laser cutter too, fully expecting it to effectively be a kit, as it was cheaper than buying the components individually. The engineering was somewhat interesting: the things that mattered (tube, optics, gantry, laser power supply) were made quite nicely, the other stuff was pretty minimal. On arrival, the orange viewing window was cracked, I replaced it with a thicker clear one (the color is irrelevant at 10.6µm, so I went with practicality). The power supply didn’t work at all (internal AC plug wasn’t connected: as it was a locking plug, that meant it had never been connected, plugging it in miraculously fixed it, although it obviously had never been tested, it looked like decent quality construction). The controller board was all through-hole parts, connected to a chAMP-36 parallel port connector designed for MS-DOS software I ignored. The capacitors were already oozing. I yanked it and replaced it with an EiBot board. It works nicely, I’m currently running it with the Eggbot plugins for InkScape. I’ll probably give GRBL a whirl as well.

            1. Ah! Now that you remind me, I recall the power supply plug story from quite a while back.

              If I ever get one, I’d also scrap the controller (Corel Draw? WTF?) and retrofit something useful; the machinery doesn’t care what’s driving it. Good to hear that’s feasible!

  3. I paint over my mailbox with wood varnish yearly–I just pick next almost-empty project leftover can from the shelf; it’s probably sometimes air-hardening oil, sometimes polyurethane). It gives it a nice sheen for a while, and protects from peeling and rusting.

    1. My father used to use that principle when painting rooms: when he decided a wall needed painting, he’d find a can of paint in the basement and use it up. We had rooms with four different wall colors; I thought it was perfectly normal…

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