The Champagne Life on a DIY Budget Since 2007

DIY Pendleton Stripe Mail Sorter

after DIY pendleton stripe shutter project

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, I wanted to finally share this DIY project I created for Home Depot & Crafty Allie over the winter. It’s been so hard keeping this one under my hat, especially since you know about my long history and love affair with all things Pendleton.

Ever since my college days in New Hampshire, when I watched one of my handy up-country-bred dorm friends create a jewelry organizer out of an old window shutter, I’ve dreamed of making something similar for my place. The problem was, no matter how many DIY books and online tutorials I sifted through, none of them answered my single most pressing DIY question: How do you keep the mail from slipping through? Wouldn’t that be a nightmare? What in the world do you put on the back of the shutter, and how do you secure it? (TL;DR: with some plywood and tightly pinned finishing nails. Tutorial below & over here.)

shoestring pendleton shutter mail sorter assembly DIY

So, when the opportunity came to try to figure it out for myself for one of my DIY expert guest posts for Home Depot, of course I was up for the challenge. Inspired by this Apartment Therapy kitchen organizer, armed with a reclaimed closet door from Habitat for Humanity ReStore (about $8) and an array of Behr paint samples, I set about creating the dreamy, small-space-friendly, “vertical drop zone” I’d envisioned for years.

First, I brainstormed (read: got giddy and great advice on) modern paint schemes with my dear friend and personal design guru Kara, and we decided on a color block paint pattern — but I wanted something classic, with lasting aesthetic appeal, nothing too trendy. Immediately I knew what I was going to do.


yakima camp blanket pendleton stripes

My mom grew up in Yakima, Washington, just a few hours northeast of Portland and the Pendleton mill in Washougal, which we visited on our trip out to see my grandma on her 89th birthday last Memorial Day Weekend…and where I finally scored the Yakima Camp Blanket of my dreams at the Pendleton Mill Store Outlet. I’ve always been in love with those vintage, timeless, Pioneer-Days-inspired camping stripes, and every time I see them I’m wrapped in a warm hug of nostalgia thinking of my much-missed grandpa, of picking apples and cherries and walnuts with him on his beloved Yakima fruit orchards, and of his dedication to helping the school kids on the Yakima tribal reservation in any way he could. So, yeah, camp blanket stripes were definitely the way I needed to go. (Plus, it will look perfect in the main house or in my Wes-Anderson-inspired bunkie redesign.)

DIY pendleton stripe shutter mail sorter


Read the full assembly tutorial over on Crafty Allie, keep reading below for instructions on how I got that Pendleton look for pennies using inexpensive paint samples from Home Depot, or scroll through my complete Shutter Mail Sorter album of process photos on Flickr.


  • Window shutter or shuttered closet door, in good condition ($9, ReStore)
  • 2×4 plywood, cut to size (Home Depot can do this for you on site, $12)
  • 3/4″ wire brads (or finishing nails of similar size, $1.25)
  • Hammer (own)
  • Sandpaper (own)
  • Painter’s tape ($4, Home Depot)
  • Primer ($5.75, Home Depot – I used KILZ aerosol primer)
  • Paint samples (6 at $2.95 each, Home Depot – I used BEHR)
  • Foam trim brushes, small paint brushes, fine paint brushes
  • Wood putty (optional, if your shutter is dinged/beat up or has holes to fill from brackets)
  • LOADS of patience

First things first: make sure to get your shutter good and clean (scrub with soap & water, dry, lightly sand, use feather duster in between the slats and brush clean all over), especially if you are using a reclaimed shutter or shutter door from ReStore (or garage sale, Craigslist, salvage yard) like I did. Mine must have been formerly used as a pantry door, because it was caked with layers of old grease/oil and dust and smelled like years of smoking. Nothing like paint to cover up that smoker smell on thrifted wood furniture!

Next, you want to prime your shutter so the paint will coat evenly and nothing of the original shutter shows through. I used a can of spray-on aerosol primer, which worked great for covering large areas quickly (and because I’m not OCD enough to cover every crevice in between the slats — but if that’s your thing, grab a paint-on primer instead). Let the primer dry about an hour, or according to the directions on the packaging.

shoestring pendleton shutter sorter plywood primer

Once the primer is dry, it’s time for the (warning: incredibly tedious) task of painting the shutter a base color, waiting for each coat to dry, then laying out your striped design with painter’s tape, painting multiple coats of stripes, waiting for all of that to dry overnight, then going back to do a second round of painter’s tape so you can paint the striped bands right up against each other in the areas previously covered with tape, and finally waiting for the paint to dry overnight again, so plan ahead, and be patient. I covered our dining room table in old newspapers from the recycling bin and laid the shutter out flat…and warned my husband we’d be eating out or from the couch for a few days while I painted. Kudos to you if you have a garage and sawhorses you can use instead, I’m envious!

shoestring pendleton shutter sorter painters tape

Once your shutter is painted in multiple coats of the base color (either blue-gray or taupe for the Yakima Camp Blanket design) and dried overnight, it’s time to lay out your painter’s tape. The slats of the shutter proved to be really awesome for getting nice, even spacing for each and between each of the stripes, and making sure that each band was even/true to the design without needing to do too much measuring/math. For the thinnest stripes, I used a single slat, for the medium bands I used two slats, for the wide bands I used four slats, and for the large gap in between, I used the middle of the shutter and two slats above and below. (I’m going to use this area to paint & add some hooks for keys.) You’re going to need a mix of small foam trim brushes, small paint brushes, and fine paint brushes (for finishing) to get nice clean lines and bold color!

DIY pendleton stripe behr paint samples DIY

Here are the exact Behr Ultra Flat Matte paint sample colors ($2.95 each) I grabbed from Home Depot:

– Blue-Gray: Behr UL203 in Calligraphy (N490-6)
– Taupe: Behr UL204 in Camel Tan (CM)
– Yellow: Behr UL203 in Goldfish (300B-7)
– Navy Blue: Behr Ultra UL203 in Black Sapphire (PPU15-19)
– Hunter Green: Behr Ultra UL203 in Rainforest (M440-7)
– Red: Behr Ultra UL203 in 100 MPH (P170-7)

shoestring pendleton stripe paint project

To get the Pendleton Yakima Camp Blanket effect, my design went like this:

– Base color (allover): either blue-gray or taupe
– Middle (void, base color): center frame of sorter + two slats above and two slats below
– 2 slats on either side of Middle in taupe (if base color blue-gray) or blue-gray (if base color taupe)
– 1 slat void (on either side – repeat rest of stripes moving outwards in both directions)
– 1 slat band of warm mustard yellow
– 2 slat band of hunter green
– 1 slat band of navy blue
– 2 slat band of hunter green
– 1 slat band of warm mustard yellow
– 4 slat band of tomato/brick red
– 1 slat band of navy blue
– Rest of shutter void (base color)

Shutter sorter not your thing? use this same mix of paint to put Pendleton stripes on a canvas, a piece of furniture, a wall, anything really! Just substitute “1 slat” for one unit of measurement (inches, feet, etc.) for the same results. I had plenty of paint left over (in every color, even the base color!) to use on other projects individually, too.

If you do use this DIY tutorial to make something of your own, please please please come back and comment below (with a link, if you have one!) or tag me on Instagram: @MelissaMassello or @ShoestringMag.

Have you made a shutter project before? Or a copycat Pendleton project? I’d love to hear from you, too!