Introduction: Recycled License Plate Sign

Hello! Today I will be showing you how to turn old license plates into a cool decoration for anywhere around your house. This is a simple DIY project that only requires a few license plates and some scrap leftover 1 x 2's and a piece of 1/4 inch 11 x 8 plywood.


Black spray paint (you don't need very much a leftover can will work)

11 x 8 sheet of 1/inch plywood

8 one inch small nails

14 1/2 inch small nails

2 12.5 inch 1 x 2's

2 8 inch 1 x 2's

Old license plates (quantity dependent on what word you do and how many letters you need)

Step 1: Find and Cut the License Plates

This first step is to find the license plates that have the letters for the word that you would like to do. You can do a word with as many letters as you choose depending on how many you pick, though the lengths of the boards will change. Once you have found your license plates you will need to cut them. The way that I found works best is if you center the letter or number in 1.5 inches of space and make two marks. Then move farther down the character and make another mark center the character in 1.5 inches. Then draw a line in sharpie so you can see it really well. This can be taken off at the end will some acetone or brake clean. If you do not have those you could also just use a expo marker that will wipe of to make your line. For the end pieces you want to have about .5 inches width. Then you can take a scroll saw with a metal blade or a tin snips would work as well. I would recommend to use the scroll saw because it won't bend the plate as much. After cut sand the rough edges so they are smooth. Wash so they are clean and prepare for next step.

Step 2: Painting and Shaping

Next you will need a piece of 1/4 inch 11x8 plywood ready to go. Take this piece of plywood and sand it with a 60 or 80 grit sand paper. Sand against the grain as this will help to pull out splinters and give it a good look. Then once every thing is sanded wipe it down with a dry cloth to just briefly get the saw dust off of the board. Next time to apply paint. Pick the side that you are most happy with and paint that face. Also be sure to hit the edges as part of them could be seen. Let the paint dry and take your license plate pieces and the dry board and 14 1/2 small inch nails and the smallest drill bit you have for a pilot hole to the next step.

Step 3: Piecing It Together

Next you need to take all of your pieces of licenses plate an lay them out onto the piece of wood in the correct order. position the pieces so that there is about 1 inch of space all the way around the rectangle. Then you are ready to attach them to the board. I would recommend taking some scotch tape and tape your letters to the board so they don't move from your original position. Then take your drill and drill tiny pilot hole through the metal and partially through the wood. Then take a hammer and pound your 1/2 nails into the pilot holes as far as you can then flip the board over and there is going to be a little point sticking up. Bend it flush with the wood. This is to ensue locking so the nail will never come out. Repeat this step until all of your pieces are attached to the wood.

Step 4: The Frame

In this step you will build the frame onto the piece of plywood. You first need to measure the shorter edge of the plywood. Cut 2 pieces of wood the length of the plywood. Mine was 8 inches but some times it cane get off so just make sure to measure, if it is not what I measured that is OK you just have to adjust. then drill a small pilot hole in the absolute center of the board you just cut. Once you find center of one the other will be easy because you line it up with the first one and go right through both boards. Then center the plywood in the middle of the board you drilled the pilot hole in and make sure it will line up with the hole. Then put to longest nail in on the list and repeat on the opposite side. Then measure the overall length with the new two pieces of the frame and cut two more boards that length. Then again drill pilot holes in the absolute center of the boards and at each of the ends of this board. Then nail it on and repeat for both sides. Then you should have a amazing finished product. You can choose to finish your frame but I did not simply because I liked the plane natural wood look better.

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