Thread House Numbers

I don’t know what I did before Pinterest.  So many fantastic ideas in one place, I finally have a motivation to get things done.  I have Pinterest and Young House Love to thank for today’s post inspiration.  YHL offered up a Pinterest challenge, so I thought I’d take part.  What did I make?  Thread house numbers, inspired by this pin.  We have house numbers on our mailbox, but we’ve been told they’re hard to see.  To remedy that situation in a stylish, non-traditional way, I thought a DIY thread project was in order.

To start, I painted a scrap piece of MDF and created a template in Photoshop.  If you don’t have Photoshop, you could print large numbers and make dots with a pen to mark the nail holes.

Then, gather tons of one inch nails and pound them in.  Here’s a tip: to keep the nails the same depth, use a 1/2 inch piece of scrap lumber to pound against.  Here’s another tip: if you are terrible at pounding a nail in straight, try this around your husband.  If he’s anything like mine, he’ll get annoyed with your stupidity struggling and help finish pounding nails for you, at a much quicker rate, too.

Because the nails I used were white, the hammering scuffed up the surface.

With the nails in place, spray paint your MDF and nails for a crisp white look.  This is what happens when your three-year old steals your camera.  Apparently my spray painting is pretty interesting to Vincent and Jack.

Now, use a heavy-duty thread to wrap around.  If you’re keeping this inside, plain thread would probably work.  Start by cutting a long piece, tying one end to a nail and working from nail to nail in a criss-cross pattern.  I waited to wrap the edges until I had filled in the center.

Once wrapped, tie the loose end around another nail.  I wrapped several numbers and propped the board up to see if they showed up well.  I decided to add a second layer to darken the numbers.  It helped to make an even more random cross pattern to fill any gaps.

Much better.  It was time to hang my masterpiece.  I attached a picture hook to the back.  To keep the numbers from getting damaged, I placed several 3/4 inch thick pieces around the edges while hammering.  A three-inch wood screw holds tightly against the house.

I like the interest the depth adds.

The price wasn’t bad, either.  We had all the supplies on hand, making this project completely free.  MDF from our basement trim, white paint leftover, thick thread from Ben’s leather sewing machine and tons of nails left from the previous owners.

43 thoughts on “Thread House Numbers

  1. Found this via YHL–and am so glad I did! I have been looking for a great idea for number art for my brother’s upcoming wedding–wanted to do something with the date–this looks perfect. Thanks for sharing!


  2. How amazing is that? I love love love how it turned out! And it could be great somewhere inside as well which I adore. You my friend, are inspiring!!


    1. Thanks everyone for the love and support! I think the numbers look great and yes, this could be adapted in so many ways for indoors or out. The basic principle of a board, nails and string could make endless possibilities. If you make something inspired by our numbers, we’d love to see what you do!


  3. AH! This is great! Last year, I may or may not have used upholstery tacks on my wall and got all string arty on it! String rocks my world

  4. These are really cool! I’ve seen a whole art installation of a city skyline using this method, and it was very cool! I never would have thought of this for the outside of the house!

  5. If someone wanted to make one that would be exposed to rain, I’d bet you could substitute a fine-gauge wire for the heavy duty thread! I love the way yours turned out, and may be copying it myself one of these days!

    1. Amelia, I bet you could sub wire for the thread. I used a super thick, heavy duty thread for leather work. It should be durable, even in rain, but the wire would look really cool! If you make one, please share a link so we can see your handy work!


  6. Wow! What a great project. Your house numbers look fantastic! What font did you use to make the template?

    I’m thinking that this could be a really cute nursery idea – instead of numbers, use your kiddo’s name! My husband and I are expecting and I just may give this a try. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Cassie, I used the Arial font. Clean and simple, with a little flair. This definitely could span several areas and purposes. Names, dates and designs would all look fantastic. So glad you’ve been inspired. 🙂


  7. How cool is that? I don’t think I would ever have thought of adapting that for house numbers. I love that you can’t tell what it is till you get close. It really adds to the interest.

  8. love it! The string art design works really well with your door window and vertical siding. I too created some house numbers for the pinterest challenge. check it out.

  9. Those look great! And I laughed at the part where Ben got annoyed and hammered the nails in for you, that definitely sounds like something Robert would do!

  10. LOVE this idea SO much!! And its made of things I have just laying around! I especially love this because my house numbers are super hard to see so this would help some! Im going to give this a try this weekend!

  11. I’m going to try this…but I’m going to do the initial of our last name and put it out by the front door.

    1. Hi Stephanie!

      Your art looks fantastic! Love that you used zip codes to make it personal.


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