Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, has some basic principles that have been applied to everything from textile design to lamp construction.  I used them here to fold some old road signs into fruit bowls that combine the angular modernity of architecture with the vintage warmth of antique materials.  The basic idea is very simple, though a little time consuming, what with all the hole drilling . . .  So, if you want to save yourself some time and support your lowly 'structable-er, you can buy the bowls I made for this Instructable in my Etsy shop here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/wholman.  You can also see another bowl made with a similar method here:  https://www.instructables.com/id/Foreclosure-Bowl/. That one is a little simpler, as it uses much thinner metal that is easier to bend.

You will need these materials:

A road sign, no larger than 24" by 24"
4 #10 x 1" galv. steel machine bolts
8 #10 galv. steel washers
8 #10 galv. steel nuts
4 1/4" x 2-1/2" carriage bolts
8 1/4" galv. steel washers
8 1/4" galv. steel nuts
Thread lock
Spray lacquer
Dish soap

You will need these tools:

Heavy duty corded drill, preferably with right-angle handle
Jig saw with metal blade
3/8" bit
3/16" bit
Metal punch
Rubber mallet
Scrub brush

Step 1: Prepare the Signs!

Find some old road signs.  I got mine from the state highway yard just by asking.  There are a lot of old signs that are too worn to be put safely by the side of the road, and the highway department takes them down and stockpiles them.  The aluminum isn't worth very much, and the reflective coating on the signs is difficult and expensive to remove, making the process of recycling them conventionally too cost-ineffective to be practical.  Other places to look might be junkyards, antique shops, flea markets, yard sales, and frat houses -- the usual suspects.

Wash them well with dish soap and a scrub brush to remove any dirt, grit, grime, or tar.  Let them dry in the sun.
A suggestion for a future model I might make, is to reverse the carriage bolts for the legs, and instead have the head of the carriage bolt inside the bowl, then use a regular hex nut to hold it in place and the put a cap nut on the bottom of the carriage bolt for a foot instead of using the head of the carriage bolt. You'll end up with less stuff poking into the bowl and it'll look a little more polished.
problem is, carriage bolts aren't threaded all the way to the head (at least the ones i got), and the shaft turns square under the head -- this allows you to sink a carriage bolt in wood and prevent the head from spinning as you tighten it, but prevents you from tightening the nut all the way in this application.
you might try Acorn nuts on the end so at least no threads are showing on the inside and no rough edges
I wonder if you could use license plates??
funny you should mention that, I make those too: http://www.etsy.com/listing/52677049/vintage-license-plate-bowl-alabama
This is great. I understand that the holes are an integral part of the design but if I didn't want them could I use a graver tool to take away excess metal from the side that will be bent? Or is there another way to bend the heavy aluminum in a straight line without the holes (I have a fear of the drill bit grabbing)? I recently "found" a stop sign in the garbage at my local city parking department. When I went by again when they were open and asked for more they said "no, never, we recycle them" ha! Not true but they wouldn't budge.
Awesome, I want one!
Nice work! But then I like most of your I'bles.

About This Instructable




Bio: Furniture hacker. Author of Guerilla Furniture Design, out now. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @objectguerilla.
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