5 Easy Steps for Painting House Numbers

Recently, I added house numbers to an old oar that we positioned near the back door of our coastal home.  Around here,  UPS and Fedex deliver from an alley that runs behind the houses so I wanted to make it a little easier for them to find us!


I’ve used this easy method many times to create perfect numbers in just the size and style I want.  It’s inexpensive if you have some leftover paint supplies and it holds up really well outdoors.


1. Using any word processing software, create and print out your numbers in the font and size of your choice.  Depending on how big you want them, you may need to use multiple sheets of paper and tape them together. I used Word and selected Times New Roman for the font.


2.  Adjust the spacing between the numbers if you need to by cutting them apart, repositioning them and  taping the pieces together.

3.  On the back side of the paper (the side without the numbers) rub over the entire printed area using either a pencil  (if you are painting on a light colored surface) or chalk (if you are painting on a dark color surface). My oar is dark blue so we used chalk. It’s hard to see in the photo so I’m showing you a second photo where we used pencil.


Same technique but with pencil


4.  Tape your paper to the surface you are painting on so that the numbers are facing out. Put a little pressure on your pencil as you trace the outline of each number. This will transfer the numbers to the surface.


The chalk (or graphite) will transfer the outline of each number to the surface. Any excess chalk or graphite can be brushed off when you are done.


5.  Finally, paint the numbers, following your tracing.  A fine brush works best for outlining.  Fill in with a thicker brush.  Do as many coats as needed to get good coverage. It took 5 coats using gold craft paint!


If this is an exterior application, you’ll need to use either exterior paint or apply a sealer over top.  For my oar, we applied some Minwax Helmsman urethane that I had on hand over top of the craft paint.


I also added a few stripes in white simply by masking out the area to be painted.



I love this project.  It’s quick and easy and I didn’t need to buy anything! There is no limit  as to what you can paint on and the style and size of numbers or words you can use.  Here’s a few past projects that we used this technique on:

mailbox numbers


Vintage glass jars


A pumpkin


Happy painting!



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