How we made a 24 slot Christmas Card Holder all Fancy in Red

It's almost that time of year again. To be honest I'm not the world's biggest fan of Christmas. I love that we celebrate Christ's birth but my issue with it is that we don't always do that, we don't really celebrate for the right reasons. My family is committed to teaching our children the Truths about this time of year and the history behind it. Our church does a good job of instilling the same thing in our family and in our church family. One way we do this is to offer FREE Christmas Card delivery to those within the church. They encourage us to use the Church "post office" and deliver Christmas Cards through it and then any money you save by doing so is donated to our Christmas Missionary offering. I thought it was a really cool idea when we started doing it. We've since been able to donate every year to this special offering. The old "post office" was getting a little tattered. It was made of cardboard and we needed a solution fast. Nick and Jenn to the rescue. Ha Ha but really, they asked us to build a new one and have it ready before Thanksgiving. 

sketchup drawing for the Christmas Card Mailbox by NJS Design Company.JPG

In college I used to start every single project in Sketchup. After I was long out of school I would use it occasionally to rearrange a room or to design a small piece of furniture here and there. It has only been in the past year or two that I've used it again in our design projects. What a time saver this program is. 


After the entire until was drawn up in Sketchup we began using the Dado blade set to cut grooves for the pieces so they would fit together perfectly and most importantly to me, be in line. 

sanding the cuts gently to remove burs- NJS Design Company

Sanding each row gently after it came off the saw to get any rough edges knocked down. 

dry fitting the boards first for the Christmas Card Holder- NJS Design Company

Dry fit each piece before applying any glue. You don't want to have to pull this thing apart. 

Here it is with glue and all clamped up. After it came out of the clamps it was able to stand on its own without a single screw, just the dado routed channels and some glue. 


Next we cut the center inserts that would slide into the shelves. We made sure to measure each row before cutting as one row was 1/16" off from the others. 

cutting the center dividers to size for Christmas Card Holder- NJS Design Company
Dry fit the dividers to make sure they're right before painting them- NJS Design Company

Dry fit them into place. They fit like a glove. Note: I was careful when painting not to get the red paint into the dado grooves so that it would not mess us up when sliding these pieces in later on. 

Painted all sides with 2 coats of General Finishes Brick Red as well as the center inserts. I did not have to use a primer as this stuff covers well with just 2 coats and that's another reason I spend the extra $ on General Finishes stuff, it saves me time, which is saving me money. 

first coat of waterlox top coat for the christmas card holder NJS Design Company

I actually use a top coat of Waterlox wet sanded with about 3 coats on the walnut. I would not put this much percision and expense in finishing a piece that I'd stained but since this was a solid walnut board I wanted the grain to pop as much as it could and the surface to be as smooth as possible. Waterlox will provide it decades of smooth and beautiful durability. If you click that link don't gasp at the $100 + a gallon tag. If you ever find yourself finishing solid hardwood it's well worth the investment. A little goes a long way and in this case we had some from some of our other walnut projects. 

painting the dividers after they are glued in

Make sure to paint the side edges of the divider plywood. These are the only pieces of plywood in this entire project and I sure could tell when it came time to paint them. Plywood does not like paint like solid wood does. But we survived. 

We just built a simple square leg table base with our Kreg Jig and painted it red to match. The picture on the right is comparing coat 1 and coat 2 of the Brick Red. You really need 2 or more coats to have the right color. 

final walnut board for the base of the christmas card holder- NJS Design Company

There's the final walnut board. Seriously if you could run your hands over it you'd wanna snuggle with it. Weird I know, but it's that good of a finish!

painting is all done

Final touch before delivery was to add these super cute name plates with letters of the alphabet. This might have been my favorite part of all of it (next to the walnut board). I just love little touches like these and I think it really pulled it all together. 

Christmas Card Mailbox by NJS Design Company.JPG

So what do you think? Would you want to get mail here? Does your church or community do any sort of offering like this, where you save the funds but donate it elsewhere? I'd love to hear about it if you do!