I can't tell you how many license plates (and license plate frames) I've damaged, lost, had stolen or destroyed on my boat, utility, and motorcycle trailers over the years.
The truth of the matter is that many of these instances would have never occurred if I had invented this flexible license plate holder earlier. The key is the "flexible" part. Maybe it can help you too.
Now this Instructable is an after thought so I can't take you through start to finish. But you are smarter than you know and I know you can figure this one out from the pictures.
Come on and I'll show you what I did to reach the zanadu of license plate holders...
Step 1: Materials You Will Need...
1) License Plate - Of course I prefer one from Texas but any place is a good second choice.
2) Mud Flap - I used a mud flap from an 18 wheeler. If you are a sharp eyed, enterprising driver you will see one of these on the side of the road just about every time you take a highway drive of 10 miles or more. Stopping on the highway is VERY dangerous so think before you consider stopping to pick one up off the highway. You can also buy a mud flap for a few dollars at a truck stop or auto parts
3) Fasteners - I used a quantity of 3, 1/4"-20 Stainless Steel bolts + nuts and washers to mount the mud flap to the boat trailer's wheel well or "fender". You could use pop rivets in place of these and have a "theft resistant" installation. I love pop rivets...Sad but true...
4) Stainless Steel Pop Rivets - I used four (4) Stainless Steel Pop Rivets and eight (8) washers (front & back) to attach the license plate to the mud flap.
Now it's time to talk tools...
Step 2: Tools I Used...
1) Measuring Device & Marking Device - I used a tape measure and a Magic Marker.
2) Saw - I used a band saw (cause I have one). A hack saw would work well as would a saber saw too.
3) Drilling Device & Drills - I used a drill press (cause I have one). A hand powered drill would work fine as would a cordless or corded hand drill. Gasket punches would even work on this.
4) Pop Rivet Gun - Did I mention I love pop rivets? Pop rivet guns are cheap. If you do not have one you should get one. They are the bomb for do it yourselfer's like, well, yourself!
5) Wrenches and/or Socket Set - If you use bolts to attach the flexible license plate holder to the trailer then you will need these to tighten them up!
Let's get this thing built, should we?
Step 3: Build This Thing...
Take a moment to envision your friends admiring your new license plate holder. Take another moment to imaging the pride you will feel when you are finished and have something that only one other person on earth has (that would be me as of the writing of this). But I digress...
1) Find a spot on your vehicle to mount your new custom flexible license plate holder. If it has holes already, great...Measure the spacing and layout so you can copy the holes onto the slab of mud flap you are going to cut out. If you don't have holes you are going to need some. You may be able to mount the plate holder between two parts by unbolting them and then re-bolting them together and squeezing the holder between the two parts - I dunno what you have but you gotta pull your own weight here. Figure it out!
2) Once you know your mounting location and the size of your license plate then mark out the dimensions on your slab of mud flap and cut-it-out then drill the different holes. As for the license plate holes I drilled my own new ones but it is not necessary. You may want to accessorize your plate holder with extra reflectors, license plate illumination lights, that buxom chrome girlie silhouette or even a neon low rider light. If you do then make room on the mud flap to add these all important accessories. I just went for the plain license plate look myself.
3) Bolt (or pop rivet) the new plate holder (previously known as a slab of mud flap) to the vehicle. I used washers on the bolt heads and nuts as well as on both ends of the pop rivets. It makes for a better more secure installation that is resistant to tear out.
4) Pop Rivet (or bolt) the license plate to the new plate holder. If you had any accessories to add then you can add them now too.
5)You are done my friend! Walk around and admire your new custom, flexible, weatherproof, theft resistant license plate holder. If it ends up like mine it even serves as a mud flap (who would of thought?)
Tell your friends that you bought it from Cabella's, Gander Mountain or Bass Pro Shops and snicker to yourself when they say they are going to get one... Only you, I and your hair dresser will know for sure.
Baytonian, at your service.