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Wooden Letters to Santa Mailbox

Decorate for Christmas with your own vintage inspired Santa mailbox.

Nothing says Christmas like writing a letter to Santa and placing it in a large red mailbox. But you do not need to go to the mall to mail off your letters to Santa…

Instead, build your very own Letters to Santa mailbox! It makes the perfect DIY Christmas decor that will wow everyone.

I partnered with Kreg Tools to build the mailbox using their amazing pocket hole jig. Use any of the Kreg Jigs, or use this as an excuse to upgrade to my favorite 720Pro. It will make shop time more fun and easy!

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

And right now there are some great sales on some of my favorite Kreg tools. Check them out here.

Red stained wood Santa mailbox with North Pole in white on the top.

Large Santa Mailbox

I made a fun crafty mailboxes for Christmas a few years ago. And my kids always ask when will I bring it out.

Even though they are older, they look forward to writing their letter to Santa every year. The tradition of thoughtfully coming up their Christmas list is just so much fun.

So this year I decided to take the tradition up a notch!

Back of the Christmas mailbox showing the door to access the letters open and closed.

This gorgeous letters to Santa mailbox is built from wood and embellished with wood trim and appliques. It looks like a vintage mailbox in an old Christmas movie.

The main mailbox body is built from standard dimensional lumber. All you need are 2x2s, 1x2s, a 1×8 and 1×12.

Then it is time to get creative and decorate your own mailbox however you want. I used rope trim that made me think of candy canes to create dimension all around the mailbox.

To add more vintage charm to the front, a simple moulding is used around the opening. Then a beautiful wood applique is added in the center.

And the entire thing gets festive once it is stained red. I love that the grain of the wood still shows through.

Close up of the trim detail on the DIY letters to Santa mailbox.

You can use your new mailbox decor anywhere you want to add some Christmas cheer.

Here are just a few ideas of how to decorate with your Letters to Santa Mailbox:

  • Place it next to the Christmas tree
  • Decorate your front porch around it
  • Place it in your entryway
  • Put it on the hearth by your fireplace
  • Donate it to a school, church, or local business
3' tall Santa mailbox sitting next to a console table decorated for Christmas.

How to Build a Christmas Mailbox

Tools needed:


  • Printable PDF Woodworking Plans
  • Wood products
    • (1) 8′ long 1×12 board
    • (1) 8′ long 1×8 board
    • (2) 8′ long 2×2 boards
    • (1 1/2) 8′ long 1×2 boards
    • Decorative trim
    • Wood appliques
    • (1) 5′ long 3 1/2″ tall base board
  • 1 1/4″ Kreg pocket hole screws
  • 1 1/4″ brad nails
  • 5/8″ brad nails
  • 2″ hinges
  • strong round magnet
  • Knob or small piece of dowel

Overall Dimensions:

3D drawing of the Santa mailbox with dimensions noted on it.

STEP 1- Cut and prep pieces

Cut out 36″ long pieces from the 2×2 boards for the corners, 1×8 boards for the sides and 1×12 board for the front.

For the back, cut a 24 1/2″ and 5 1/2″ piece.

Detailed cut lists can be found in the PDF build plans.

Kati cutting boards on a sliding miter saw.

Set your Kreg pocket hole jig set for 3/4″ thick material. Drill pocket holes in the back sides of the side, front, and back pieces.

Make sure to add pocket holes every 5-6 inches along the boards.

Drilling pocket hole screws in the sides of the boards with the Kreg 720Pro.

On the front, measure out where you will put your mail slot according to the plans.

Drill 1″ holes for each side of the opening.

Then draw a straight line between the two circles. Make sure the line just touches the top and bottom of the circles.

Drilling holes on the front piece and drawing a line between them with a square.

Using a jigsaw, cut along the lines.

The inside should fall out. Sand the slot smooth now (it will be harder later).

Cutting along the line between the two holes with a jigsaw and hand sanding the opening.

STEP 2- Assemble mailbox

Now you are ready to assemble the mailbox. Because you will need to be working inside the tall, slender box, it can get tricky.

I planned out the steps to make it easy to access all the pocket holes and attach all the pieces.

Start with attaching the side board to one of the corner pieces. Make sure the back is flush with the back of the corner.

Secure with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws and wood glue.

Attaching one of the side pieces to a corner piece with pocket holes.

Then attach another corner piece to the other side of the side board.

The Kreg right angle clamp is a great second set of hands when attaching boards with pocket hole screws.

Again secure with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

Repeat for the second side board.

Attaching a corner to the other side of the side piece.

Next attach the front to one of the side boards.

Make sure the back is flush with the back of the corner piece.

Quick grip bar clamps are helpful in holding the pieces in place while you secure with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

Attaching the front of the mailbox to one assembled side.

Then attach the other assembled side to the other side of the front piece.

I used a combination of bar clamps and right angle clamps to hold things while I drove in the screws.

Since you are working in a tight space you will need to use a shorter Kreg driver bit or a 90 degree drill adapter.

Attaching the second assembled side to the front piece.

Next add the top part of the back between the two sides. This is the larger back piece.

Attach it to the top of the mailbox. Secure with wood glue and pocket hole screws.

Attaching the top of the back to the sides of the assembled mailbox.

Next, measure the width of the bottom of the mailbox. Cut a piece of 1×8 to this length for the bottom piece.

Drill pocket holes in all four sides of the bottom.

Drilling pocket holes with the Kreg jig.

Attach the bottom to the front and one side of the mailbox. If you attach both sides right now, it will be too tight to get the final back piece in.

Secure with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

I didn’t use wood glue on the bottom because it would be hard to get the pieces in place without getting glue everywhere.

Attaching the bottom to the mailbox inside the sides and front.

Then carefully position the lower back piece so it is flush with the bottom.

Secure it to the sides and then secure the remaining side and back of the bottom.

Attaching the lower back piece to the mailbox.

STEP 3- Add trim and decorations

Measure and cut 1×2 boards to fit between the corner boards on the front, back and sides.

On all pieces, attach a 1×2 trim flush with the top, one 8″ below the top trim (just below the mail opening), and the last one 3″ up from the bottom.

Secure these with wood glue and 1 1/4″ brain nails.

Attaching 1x2 trim to the side of the assembled mailbox body.

On the front of the mailbox, attach a piece of 1×2 between the corners about 1″ above the mail slot.

Glue this in place and clamp to dry.

Then for extra security, add a couple screws from the inside of the mailbox into this board.

Attaching a 1x2 above the mail slot on the front.

Cut trim to decorate the front of your maibox.

I used a simple decorative moulding to create a frame inside the corners and 1×2 trim.

I cut the pieces to length with a 45 degree angle on the ends. Then attached it to the mailbox with wood glue and 5/8″ brad nails.

Attaching wood trim around the square on the front below the mail slot.

The applique I bought was too large for the mailbox, so I cut the sides off.

Cutting a piece of wood applique by hand.

Then I attached the center piece to the top of the area.

Secure the applique with wood glue and 5/8″ brad nails.

The sides were used at the bottom of the box to add a little more grandier.

Attaching wood applique on the front of the Santa mailbox with a brad nailer.

Use a 1 1/4-1 1/2″ wide molding to trim the center of the mailbox over the 1×2 trim.

I used a rope moulding since it looked like candy canes. Cut the ends at a 45 degree angle and attach with wood glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails.

Position your brad nails in the grooves and indents of your trim to hide the nail holes. This will eliminate the need to fill them.

Adding rope trim around the entire mailbox with mitered corners.

Measure the top of the mailbox and cut a piece from the remaining 1×12 board to fit it.

You will have to rip down the one side of the board. Use a tablesaw, jigsaw, circular.

Glue and nail it into place on the top of the mailbox.

Attaching the top to the mailbox with a nailer.

Add more trim to the top around the entire mailbox to hide the edge of the top board.

This finishes the top of the mailbox off nicely.

Secure with wood glue and brad nails.

Adding rope trim to the top to cover up the edges of the top board.

Cut your baseboards to fit around the base of the mailbox.

I made my own wood baseboards by using the Kreg router table.

Using a decorative router bit, set the fence so it is flush with the front of the router bit. Then use the fence to hold the board straight as you router the design in the top.

Cutting the top of a 1x4 board with a roman ogee router bit on a router table.

Attach the baseboards to the bottom of the mailbox with 1 1/4″ brad nails.

Attaching base to the mailbox with a brad nailer.

STEP 4- Attach back closure

Last thing to do is to close up the opening in the back of the mailbox.

Cut a piece of 1×12 so it is 1/4″ smaller than the opening. Then rip 1/8″ off one side of the board to allow it to move freely in the opening.

You can do this easily on a miter saw.

Attach hinges to the piece.

Adding hinges to the back closure piece.

Then attach the hinges to the bottom of the back opening.

You will need a 90 degree drill adapter to get into the tight opening.

Double check that the door closes, if not, trim the piece until it fits nicely.

Attaching the hinges to the back opening of the mailbox.

On the top front of the door, add a knob or piece of dowel as a handle.

If using a knob, make sure the screw is flush with the back, not proud.

If using a scrap of dowel, drill a hole the size of your dowel halfway through the door piece.

Then pre-drill a pilot hole in the center of it all the way through.

Drilling a pilot hole through the center of a hole in the back from a forstner bit.

Add glue and secure your dowel into the hole.

Use a scrap of wood and a hammer to tap it into place.

Glueing a piece of dowel into the hole and tapping it in place with a hammer.

Flip the board over and pre-drill through the hole again into the dowel.

Add a wood screw so it is flush with the back.

The screw is not needed to hold the dowel in place (the glue will do that), but it will hold tight to the magnet to keep the door closed.

Drilling a hole into the dowel from the back and adding a wood screw.

Cut a 2″ piece of 1×2 board. Drill a hole the same size and depth as your magnet in one side (about 1/2″ in from the edge).

Glue your magnet into the piece.

Make sure to check which side is attracted to your screw so you don’t have the wrong polarity of the magnet facing out.

Super glueing a magnet into a hole on a small scrap of 1x2.

Position the 1×2 on the back of the opening so the magnet is where the screw lands when the door is closed.

Add glue to it and clamp it into place to dry.

Glueing the scrap of 1x2 to the inside opening on the back of the mailbox.

Now you can reattach your door and watch it snap closed and stay that way!

STEP 5- Finish

Fill any visible nail holes with stainable wood putty. Then sand your mailbox.

Stain or paint your Santa mailbox red.

I used a Varathane Barn Red stain so the wood grain would still show through, but it would be a nice strong red color.

Staining the letters to Santa mailbox with a red wood stain.

Stain the piece in sections, then remove excess stain before moving onto the next section.

This will prevent the stain from drying on the mailbox as you work the stain in all the details from the trim.

Staining the mailbox using a foam brush to get into the details.

Once the stain is dry, cut out the words “North Pole” from white vinyl to add to the top of the mailbox.

If you do not have a vinyl cutter, you could paint the words instead.

To easily line up the vinyl, only remove the backing from half the words. Then line that up inside opening being careful not to press down the exposed half until you are happy with the placement. Secure the vinyl then carefully remove the remaining backing.

Adding white North Pole vinyl to the top area of the mailbox.

Scrape the vinyl onto the wood to adhere with the transfer paper still in place.

Then carefully peel it back exposing your beautiful lettering.

Peeling back the transfer tape from the adhered vinyl.

Now you are ready to display your new Letter to Santa mailbox!

The kids are so excited to fill it up with their Christmas wishes. The magic of Christmas is my favorite part.

I am so happy I get to make amazing things to help them stay hopeful and young as long as possible.

Red DIY Letters to Santa mailbox sitting next to a Christmas vignette.

Merry Christmas!

-Kati with picture of blog author Kati

Thank you to Kreg Tools for sponsoring this post. I only recommend products that I use and love and all opinions are 100% my own. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

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