Get Creative: Recycled slate house number plates

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My lovely partner has just spent two months of back breaking work re-roofing both our and our neighbours houses. And of course that means we have a lot of old broken slates … and as a crafter I can’t just let these be thrown away!

So I came up with a project that I taught to my community workshop students last week, and it went down really well, as like us, a surprising number of them didn’t have a proper house number sign… until now!

Of course you don’t need an old roof slate to make this project, an old tile or even a flat stone would do the job just as well.


An old roof slate, tile or flat stone
Waterproof sealant or silicone – I used 151 Roof and Gutter Repair that I found in my local hardware shop
Mosaic tiles or broken plates
Seed beads
A glue spreader
A few cocktail sticks
A nail

Using the nail, draw out your numbers onto the slate by scratching into the surface. This is very easy to do with the slate, but if using a tile or stone, you may prefer to use chalk or a waterproof pen to trace out your numbers. For ease, I used a word processing program to print out sheets of numbers for everyone to use, and the participants cut around those and then used the cut out to trace around.

I decanted each participant a good amount of the sealant into an old glass jar, as this was a lot easier to use. Using the glue spreader, we spread out a decent thickness of sealant onto the traced out numbers (about 5mm), just a couple of centimetres at a time.

The sealant remains flexible for about 30-45 minutes, so it’s better to work in stages than to spread all of the sealant out in one go.

Place the mosaic tiles into the sealant, pressing down so that they are firmly in the sealant.

The next stage is a bit fiddly, so take your time, you have plenty of time until the sealant goes off!

Pick up a seed bead with a cocktail stick, using the end of the stick to go through the bead hole to pick it up. Place the seed bead onto the sealant, and using a second cocktail stick, slide the bead off the first stick and press into the sealant.

Continue around until that section is bordered by seed beads, and then add more sealant to the traced number and repeat the above steps until your numbers are complete.

At this stage, your numbers may be a bit messy, with sealant on the mosaics and seed beads… don’t worry! Just let the sealant dry and set overnight, and then you can use a craft knife to scrape off the excess sealant and tidy up your numbers.

If you are hanging up your house number with nails or screws, you can easily drill a hole through the slate with a power drill.

Here’s a gallery of the house numbers made on my workshop last week – everyone loved the project and were even making extra numbers as gifts for friends and family!

Let me know if you have a go of this project, as I’d love to see what you make! Either put a link to your project in the comments below, or tag me using @dendryad on Twitter or Instagram (sorry, I don’t have Facebook!).

Of course, this would also be a lovely project to make decorations for the garden, I’m thinking a couple of floral motifs may be in order soon!

Have fun!

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