The original technique for creating enamel signs is labor intensive but delivers the most brilliant results

If you are looking for a house number with personality and that sets you apart from your neighbours, look no further than hand-stenciled porcelain enamel signs.

The technique has been around for more than 2000 years and is still one of the most exclusive and sought after material used for house numbers and name plaques  in Europe today.

If you are not familiar with porcelain enamel signs, you may have heard of  “French house numbers” – the classic blue and white sign seen in the picture on this post.

You may also  have seen imitations out there and wondered whether it’s worth the extra money for the real thing. The answer is yes.

Traditionally, craftsmen used a porcelain surface and enameled it on to a metal backing. Porcelain enamel can withstand weather without losing color or clarity and will last for many years. The same cannot be said for the knock-offs.

The process can take time, but the result is stunning. The design of a hand stenciled sign, whether is a name plaque or house number, is built layer after layer, with each one stenciled out by hand before being coated with enamel and burned at a very high temperature. This end result is a surface which is very durable and vibrant in color.

The color of the enamels can be affected by factors such as the firing time and temperature, and air humidity.  Once the layers have been added and fired, and the sign cools down, the vibrant colors of the enamel  command the attention of anyone passing by.

Traditional hand stenciled enamel signs can be hard to find – mainly due to the level of skill and experience needed to craft them. But it is worth the investment to make your house number or name plaque “pop”