Wood Number Crafts

By Robert Kingsley

Craft projects using wooden numbers can have many different uses and are a lot of fun to make. Whether making signs, toys or just wooden numbers, there are multiple ways to achieve your desired effect. You will have to consider which method works best for your specific project.


No matter which method of creating numbers you choose, the process will be much easier if you have number templates. While you can head to a craft store to buy various stencils or templates, you can just as easily make some at home. Open a word processor on your computer and find a font style that you like. Type out the numbers that you intend to use for your project and increase their font size. If your font size drop-down list does not go beyond 72 pt, you can just highlight the selected font size and enter any value you like. Press “Enter” after entering your number to apply the change. Print your resulting huge numbers out and use them as a template for your project.


To create freestanding wooden numbers, you’ll need to start from a sheet of lumber. Find a piece that is large enough for your number templates and sand it down to ensure that you have a clean surface. Trace your numbers on to the board using a pencil. Using a scroll saw, a jigsaw, a rotary tool or any other precision cutting tool, cut along the lines of your template to create your numbers. Sand the edges smooth using sand paper or a rotary tool with a sanding accessory and stain or paint them to your liking.


To create a plaque with your numbers embossed on the surface, you’ll need to carve out all negative space surrounding your numbers. Find a board and cut it to the size and shape needed for your project. Transfer your numbers to the surface of the board using a pencil and your templates. You can use a router or handheld multipurpose tool to cut out the bulk of the material around your numbers, but you’ll likely need to use a more precise tool for the finishing work. A rotary tool with an engraving accessory or carving knives work well for this task. Sand down your cut portions to smooth out any tooling marks before finishing.


Engraving your numbers into a wooden plaque is just the opposite of embossing. Rather than cutting out the void space around your numbers, you’ll be recessing the numbers themselves. After cutting a piece of wood to shape and transferring your numbers to its surface, you can use a router or multipurpose tool to cut out your numbers. Again, you can use carving knives or a rotary tool for finish detail work. Use sandpaper to round over the edges a bit and to clean up your cuts before applying stain or other finishes.


While there are a large number of projects that may involve wooden numbers, a few popular ones come to mind. Number cutouts can work very will as door numbers for your house. Make sure to finish the wood with exterior paint or sealant to protect it from the elements. You can engrave numbers into a circular board to make a simple clock. The hardware needed for the hands is easy to find at a hardware store. Finally, you can cut out a few 1-inch by 1-inch by 1-inch blocks and engrave numbers into each surface. Sand down all sharp edges and paint them when you are finished to create a colorful, fun and educational toy for a young child.

© Demand Media 2011