Picture of Upcycled Recycling Awareness Symbol

This Instructable will show you how to make a cool looking metal recycling symbol out of nothing but an old license plate. It only took me about an hour to make and it costed me nothing.

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Step 1: Parts and Tools

Picture of Parts and Tools
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a license plate

rotary tool
grinding wheels for rotary tool (make sure you have plenty before you start because they break easily)
wire wheel for rotary tool
sharpie marker

Step 2: Printing Template

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I google searched "recycling symbol" and quickly found a picture I could use. I chose this one because I needed one where all three of the arrows were connected. (see picture)

Step 3: Marking

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Tape the template on the license plate, and slowly trace along the black lines with your marker.

Step 4: Cutting and Cleaning

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Cutting couldn't be simpler. Just cut along the lines.
I use the medium setting on my rotary tool, which is 24,000 RPMs.

When you're done cutting it, take your file and remove any large burrs. Next  take your wire wheel and finish cleaning it up.

Step 5: Finishing up

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If you need to, you can use a magic eraser to remove any markings leftover from the marker. When it is finished, you can give it as a gift, use it as a decoration, or make up your own use for it.
I have had mine hanging on my bedroom wall for a several months.

Feel free to comment and tell me what you think.


Good use of an old license plate. Could do with a paint job, but it gets the idea across.
teckner5 years ago
Dude, waaayy cool. :D Gave you a 4.5! You know, if you change the name to something that makes people wonder about it, they will have a higher chance of clicking on it. I recommend changing this one to: "Upcycled Recycling Awareness Symbol" It catches your attention.
DIY Dave (author)  teckner5 years ago
Thanks for the compliment and the idea for a different title. Hopefully the new title will draw more people to look at it.
Awesome! :D