Mother Earth Living

Try This: House Number Sign

Hammer it home.
By Susan Wasigner
March/April 2005
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Let people know at the front doorstep that your home is one of a kind. This house sign looks right at home on a Craftsman bungalow, but it’s perfect for any house that numbers hand-hammered originality above cast-in-the-mold conformity.

1. Start with a cast-off scrap of 2-by-4, about 12 to 15 inches long. It can be painted or not. Using a computer word-processing program, print out your house numbers in an extra large and blocky typeface (we used 300-point Copperplate Gothic). Make sure the numerals are less than 2 inches tall and at least 3/4 inch apart.

2. Scribble with a pencil lead on the back of the numbers, being sure to cover them completely. Place this on the wood and outline the numbers with a sharp pen. This will trace the numbers onto your wood.

3. We used 7/16-inch flathead tacks for this project (not thumbtacks) because they have relatively large heads yet are short and quick to hammer in. They come in a variety of metals and colors. We used about 2 ounces of aluminum tacks for the numbers and 6 ounces of copper for the background.

4. Start hammering in your nails, overlapping the heads slightly. Take your time and be careful along the edges as the tacks can chip off pieces of the wood. Angle the tacks inward and hammer slowly.

5. For the edging, we used scrap strips of copper sheathing. Use tin snips to cut them about 1/4 inch wider than the edge of your board. For the ends, cut the copper strips the same length as the ends of your sign. For the top and bottom of your sign, cut the copper strips about 11/2 inches too long. This excess will be folded up over the end copper and nailed into place. Nail the copper strips all the way around with two rows of copper tacks.

6. Now give the edging a hammered copper feel with soft hammer strikes all over the copper sheeting. The excess should be hammered down over the face of your sign to cover the first row or so of nails. Gentle yet numerous hammer taps will look best.

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