How to paint curb numbers

My first attempt at painting house numbers. I learned a lot, yours will be better, read on for how and why.

Me scrubbing the pavement with a wire brush to prepare it for paint.
Me scrubbing the pavement with a wire brush to prepare it for paint. click for full size.



The flawed result of stenciling my first house number.
The flawed result of stenciling my first house number. Click for full size.

As you can see, the paint seeped under the stencil edges. This is not good.

The address number at night with a flash.
The address number at night with a flash. Click for full size image

The secret is to paint the black background, let it dry, apply the stencils, paint the numbers with the stencil, and let it seep under. Take off the stencil, then wait for it to dry. Finally, use a small brush to clean up the outline where there are no glass beads using black.

I also learned that the paint dries super fast, and so you need to paint one number, then sprinkle the reflective glass beads because that makes the beads adhere well.

If you are doing this yourself, I weighed the beads before and after, these numbers used 0.05 pounds of beads, so giving a little extra for screw ups and 8s, each number uses 0.02 pounds of beads so a 4 digit address would need 1.28 oz of beads. The cheapest option I could find on amazon is here (not an affiliate link) This would give you 3 sizes to choose from, and 4.72 oz left over. Here is the bag I purchased (the same stuff they use on highway lines) 5 pounds (enough for about 60 4 digit addresses)

Here is the black paint I’m using. Here is the white paint. Here are the number stencils. Everything else (list follows) are available at your local home depot. tools and supplies not already listed are: 2 cheap 1 inch paint brushes, a cheap half inch artist’s brush, a steel bristle brush, knee pads, rough surface masking tape. Things you will need that you probably already have: a bucket of water, paper towels, clothes you don’t care about, a broom.

The whole procedure is: assemble the stencils with the tape, lay it out and stand back to make sure it looks good. Apply 1 line of tape just off the bottom of the stencils. remove stencils and wire brush the area, this will destroy the tape, that’s fine. brush slightly larger than you expect to use. Sweep the area, replace stencil, remove tape.

Make a box with tape just outside the stencil, remove stencil; stir black paint, clean stirrer with brush and paint prepared area. Throw stirrer in bucket of water. Finish painting background. Use paper towels to catch drips. Remove tape, clean brush and stirrer and wait for it to dry.

When dry, attach stencil with tape, making sure it is square with the box. Paint the first number with white, and sprinkle generously with pinches of the glass beads, then do each additional number the same way. Immediately after the last number, peel off the stencil. Then because of the leakage, clean up the edges with the black and a half inch brush. Clean up, and marvel at your new curb numbers.

fixed numbers
Here it is close up.
Here are the numbers with context
The numbers with context.