Introduction: Simple Dot Matrix House Number Plaque

About: Architect, Urban Designer, all-round tinkerer of odds and ends. Small solutions for big city living. Dreaming of lands faraway where garages are big enough to build a workshop in, or lakes are there for taking…

Ever since we finished rebuilding our house, I've been on the look out for minimalist and contemporary solutions for adding a house number to our gate post. Hardware store brass numbers were out of the question. Stainless steel numbers would have cost a bomb, and would basically look the same as everyone else on our street.

After a year without a house number, I finally hit on this brainwave: a super simple and easy (and cheap) way to stencil on a retro dot-matrix house number straight onto the plaster surface of our gate post. No need for a laser cut stencil, no need to mess with adhesive transfer sheets, nothing.

It took me just over an hour to do, on a weeknight after work. I really like the result, and the wife is happy that we finally have a house number. :)

Step 1: Materials

So the super secret material for creating the dot matrix numbers without any transfer sheets and without any custom stencils is... a packet of old-fashioned sticker dots, sold at most stationery stores.

I never knew what these dots were good for, until now!


1 pack sticker dots (they are available in different sizes)

1 roll masking tape

garbage bags for masking

1 can of spray paint

Total cost for me was about $7, not including the garbage bags and masking tape which I already had in copious quantities at home.

Step 2: Creating the Stencil

The file above shows the typical Dot Matrix style fonts, built around a 5x7 grid of dots. The young'uns out there probably have no idea what a dot matrix printer is, but yes, once upon a time text print-outs on nan office printer looked like that.

Conveniently, the sticker dots come in a grid already, so I just had to cut out my sheet of dots into the same shape as the desired dot-matrix number, and position it on the wall. Sorry that I didn't take pictures of this step. Basically I peeled back part of the backing sheet to expose half of each sticker dot, while keeping the dots still on one sheet of backing paper so that their relative positions were aligned. Then after sticking half of each dot down on the wall, I peeled away the backing sheet from the other half, and pressed everything flat onto the wall.

The rest of the area was masked with simple masking tape and garbage bags, to create a wrap-around corner plaque effect. It looks more 3D this way, rather than just a flat square painted on a wall.

Step 3: Spray

I just sprayed the exposed area with my favourite dark grey spray paint, to match the colour theme of the rest of the house. Everything is white and dark grey. Everything.

Peeling off the garbage bags was easy. Peeling off the sticker dots was a pain. I had to use tweezers, and you gotta make sure the paint is quite dry. I made the mistake of thinking that I should remove the dots BEFORE the paint dried, and the paint kind of stretched elastically with the dot, ruining the perfect circular shape.

That's all!

This is my first instructable. Simple, and I hope some of you people are inspired by this.


ucn, Singapore.