Picture of Modern Industrial House Numbers

We were looking for a way to save money on modern standoff house numbers (which can cost up to $50 per number online).

We decided to use what we already had left over after our project, a half empty box of screws!

The beauty of this project is it can be installed anywhere, by anyone and your numbers can be done in whatever font, style and color that best fits your home!

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

All you need to get started is:
- a driver (handheld screwdriver works fine, but a power driver will make quicker work)
- a box of stainless steel/exterior screws (i used number 8 at 1 5/8")
- a printed set of numbers to use as a template (more on this in the next step)
- a hammer, rock or blunt object to tap the screws.

Step 2: Layout/Grid

Picture of Layout/Grid
Find a set set of numbers you want on your home...
This could be a font you like in a word processor or a fancy set of numbers you found using a google image search (or ones you drew by hand).  

Once you've got your numbers, overlay them with a gird and mark at each point where the numbers and grid overlap.

I decided to use the computer and photoshop for this step, but you could just as easily draw numbers by hand and use tracing paper or a printed out grid.  The idea is simply to give yourself an easy grid to transfer to the wood you plan to put the numbers onto later.  

Hint: the closer you can make the spacing of your grid to the size of the heads on your screws, the tighter the pattern will be when your numbers are completed.
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Bridpath made it!4 months ago

Fantastic Intractable. I made a wall plaque for my kids for Christmas of their house numbers. My son's wife loved it. I used a gold cabinet screw that was had a flat bottom. When I did the first layer I kept noticing the little gaps between the screws so I then put a screw in each rectangular gap. Therefore this is a double layer of screws which makes it quite heavy but gives a very solid look. My wood was splitting because of the extra screws so I attached a piece of plywood on the back and bolted them together to solve that issue. When I do one for my house I will layer plywood together and pretrial a number of the holes to avoid the splits. Beautiful look and will look great outside my kids home. Thanks

Bridpath Bridpath4 months ago

One other thing I forgot to add: has a excellent website for graph papers that I used to create my numbers. The papers can be made with any distance between the centers and was very helpful in setting up my design.

ddsouza1 year ago

Great Job!!!!

Being financially challenged as well, I decided to cut 12" high numbers from Baltic Birch ply

bjwpg ddsouza5 months ago

What a lovely looking job, 'ddsouza'. Another really stylish, professional looking alternative to the typical plain numbers. I also like how you made your numbers 'stand off' as well :)

fixfireleo1 year ago

what a great idea! numbers are indeed expensive. i have more drywall screws than i could ever use and the dark screws will stand out on my light color mailbox post! i just wonder if it might be a safety hazard to leave them sticking out that far and if they will "collect" stuff like fibers, hair, grass, etc??

bjwpg fixfireleo5 months ago

That's a good thought, 'fixfireleo', about the dirt collecting due to how the screws are in such high relief. That might happen, especially if the screw numbers are close to a porch light (cobwebs and the like). But I'm thinking that a quick swoosh with even a cheapie power washer would clean all that sort of detritus off instantly. One might even get away with just the nozzle on a garden hose :)

Lokisgodhi11 months ago

The problem I'm seeing is the temptation for people swiping a
couple whenever they need a screw for a project and they find that
they're out.

Super cool. Might have to try this at my house...!

immaculatelation made it!1 year ago

Cool idea. I decided to do this. However, I'm installing it on our front newel post and didn't want to fill it full of holes. So I decided to screw short screws into a plank of 3/16" plywood to hang on the post. I'm painting it white to match the newel post and using black oxide screws for contrast. I may clear-coat the screws to make them last longer in the weather. The plywood address plaque will be installed with 4 small stainless screws unless I come up with something more creative. EDIT: I decided to add one screw to each number and screw all the way through to the post to hold the plaque in place. I should have just chosen one screw already there in each number to drive home instead. You can see the extra screw in the zero and it looks kinda funny.

House Numbers.jpg

Oh, btw: thanks for making this instructable! When I saw it, I kicked myself for not thinking of it. I really needed new numbers and I already had all the materials I needed. I'm going to make a sign on a larger scale for the end of the driveway as well with our last name on it.

Cool idea. I decided to do this. However, I'm installing it on our front newel post and didn't want to fill it full of holes. So I decided to screw short screws into a plank of 3/16" plywood to hang on the post. I'm painting it white to match the newel post and using black oxide screws for contrast. I may clear-coat the screws to make them last longer in the weather. The plywood address plaque will be installed with 4 small stainless screws unless I come up with something more creative.

Brilliant work mate, nice one. Itching to try this.....

Wonder how it would look with nails?

I'm wondering the same thing about my brass shells collected from the shooting range.

kimblebear1 year ago

Fantastic Idea- looks really good

cool idea.

Well, if you used a laser printer, you actually did use a laser to align the screws.

A lovely, thoughtful, and inspiringly simple Instructable.

Thank you.

soulbone1 year ago

Nice. I like silvery shine the screws make

shepnstein1 year ago


Excellent idea - I can't believe the amount of money they wanted for large readable house numbers. Rockin' this on the weekend =) Cheers!


And behind the screws a grid of LED lights, either solid, colored in your choice or even RGB programmable setup to provide backlighting to make the address POP at night.

Maybe a layer of 1/4" Luan with the wire traces routed between the screw holes to a solar panel/battery power supply.

Predrill the panel for both the LEDS and the screw holes, install and test the lights and wiring.

Contact cement the panel and the main backing board together, then install the screws.

Heh, you think like I do, GrumpyOldGoat.

"It looks FANTASTIC as it is, but what could we add to make it even better? LEDS!"

Maybe even Solar Powered.
Alderin1 year ago

Very cool!

I love the concept, method, and result of this project, especially the
re-use of material (screws) possibly slated for disposal. I personally
would have gone with a hexagonal pattern, but that is just because I like hexagons too much.

For a purpose-build project, I would definitely use a separate piece of wood and not go directly into the wall or siding. GrumpyOldGoat suggested LEDs in holes between the screw holes, which could work well as long as the electronics were well protected from the elements, and definitely pre-drill everything, and hope the board has some strength left after all the holes are put in it. :-)

Then maybe also or instead glue retro-reflective beads or pieces of reflector panel to the screw heads when they are all at the same level. Shiny!

GNiessen1 year ago

It looks like you are getting some splintering, which is breaking your paint layer. It would be a good idea to pre-drill the oles with a drill as large as the screw shaft. And it might be good to lay down a layer of fresh paint before inserting the screws.

harmlok1 year ago

What a perfect idea ! Thanks

SkinnE1 year ago

A beautiful idea, and nicely done. Could you please show us some photos from different distances. I can appreciate maybe you don't want to advertise your home address to the world wide web, but perhaps there's some way you can disguise that and still give an overview of the design.

I like the idea, and I see a lot of potential for alternatives to get added in. Of course other fonts, but there's a lot of deck screws on the market that come pre-painted in several different colors.

I think I would use long deck screws to hold fender washers on top of short lengths of plastic tubing, cut from a bulk length of PVC or whatever can handle being outdoors in the sun.

To keep the screws, or nails, from rusting the wood, maybe it would be a good idea to use some of that recycled plastic lumber used for decks and fencing? At the very least, don't just screw a ton of steel directly into your house! Use a few of the screws to attach a board for a decorative/protective backplate & sink all your number screws into the board. That way, you can paint the backplate a basic black or whatever makes for a nice contrast to the screwheads. And if you have a more diabolical bent, you could run the screws from the backside of the board so the pointy ends are facing outwards!

dopeium1 year ago

This looks really good! I would probably clear coat the screws and wood underneath just to rust proof and protect the wood from water seeping in around the screws

bzeng dopeium1 year ago

What would be the best method to protect the wood underneath from water seepage after the screws are screwed in? Or does it have to be done before you screw in the screws?

Don't use real wood. Use plastic lumber instead.

brydanger (author)  dopeium1 year ago

the screws are stainless steel and intended for outdoor use and mine happens to be under a large overhang, but if you did this somewhere exposed, treating the wood to protect from waters a great idea!


lbrewer421 year ago

I hope all the enthusiastic people here saying they have extra screws make sure they see you used stainless steel - otherwise they are in for a rusted, rust-stain-on-building mess. I really like the appearance of this project !

tordel1 year ago

awesome, i wanna do that too

Nice work... Now You got me the Idea of using spare screws I left some year ago... :)

Perfect! Nice idea

acirilo1 year ago

Excelente ideia, parabéns pelo trabalho!

vinz3nt1 year ago
Great idea!


jpoliti1 year ago

Great idea. Making magic from a box a screws.

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