Transparent 3d Text mapped onto a polygon

I am writing a routine to display finite element information. When drawing the FE model, i want to identify the individual element by number. So i want to place a number on each face of the element (consider it a cube). I also want to color this face. Can i use 1d textures to map the number onto the face of the polygon? What about coloring the background of the texture?

I have seen examples where they map a texture onto a cube, but i want my texture to be transparent except for the text.

Sorry if this is a little unclear, but i am not up on the latest OpenGL

you can use alpha channel for your 2D texture to mask specific parts of texture. Then use discard method in GLSL or simple alpha blending to render the textures.