Signwriting – paint a house name or number with Terry Smith

Calligraphy and lettercutting

Ref: S1D11597

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About this course

An introduction to the finer points of hand written lettering using enamel paints, sable brushes and a mahl stick to create a stylish house name and/or numbers on a clear acrylic plaque for your home.

Course Description

The art of traditional signwriting is something of an endangered craft, however the UK fosters quite a hotbed of creativity in this field where period correctness is required. The resurgence is due in part to the huge following for vintage and classic transport, museum artefacts, street murals and listed buildings.

As a practioner for over 40 years, Terry Smith now gets great pleasure from passing on his skills through courses and practical demonstrations. His mission is to encourage and nurture newcomers to this wonderful trade in order to see it survive.

During this one day workshop, you will short circuit the lengthy process of ‘practice, practice, practice’ in order to create a pleasing house name and/or number plaque on clear acrylic sheets, cut to size and pre-drilled ready to fix at home.

You will make friends with fine gauge, pure sable brushes and writing enamel, making rudimentary brush strokes before going on to produce with the aid of a tracing, your own workpiece in a typeface of your choosing.

This day workshop is geared toward creative people of any ability, but those who have experience of working with small, fine paintbrushes, for example working in oils or watercolour, model makers etc. will find this helpful as a steadiness is also key to achieving a good outcome. This is fairly essential due to the limited time at our disposal.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course the tutor will supply all of the materials including pre-drilled clear acrylic sheets, dippers containing enamel, sable writing brushes, mahl sticks and sundries.

What students need to bring

  • Reading glasses, if worn.
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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