Introduction: Upcycled License Plate Bike Badge
Got an old license plate lying around? Want an awesome badge for your bicycle or motorbike's head tube? You have come to the right place. This Instructible will teach you how to make a custom bike badge from an old license plate.
Step 1: Design
Using a strait-edge and compass, trace your desired shape onto the license plate. It is important that the lines stick out from the background so that they are easy to follow. Be sure to use a sharpie marker or other permanent marker to make sure your lines do not wipe off or smudge.
Step 2: Make the Rough Cut
Using scissors or tin snips, cut away most of the license plate. License plates are made out of pretty thin metal (at least in Minnesota) and can be easily cut with most scissors. The smaller you make your piece now, the easier it will be to cut a precise outline later.
Step 3: Second Cut
With this cut, cut as close to the line as possible but be sure not to cut across the line. A smooth shape will look best in the end so avoid jagged cuts at this point.
Step 4: Smooth It Out
Using metal files and various grits of sand paper, remove all sharp edges or corners. Use the sandpaper to lightly round out all of the edges so that you can see a shiny metal border around the badge.
Step 5: Remove Sharpie Lines
At this point you need to remove any remaining guide lines from the metal. Sharpie marker lines are easily lifted using an expo marker. Simply trace over the sharpie marks with the expo marker and then wipe it off while the ink is still wet. Once this process is done, wash the piece in soapy water and dry it with a towel.
Step 6: Give It Shape
Using your hands, slowly bend the badge around a pipe slightly larger than your head tube. Work the metal until it fits the pipe snugly and has an established bend. Next, use a pipe slightly smaller than your head tube to bend the badge even further. It might be necessary to utilize the help of a persuasive mallet to create the desired curve. You will want to bend the badge tighter than the curve of the head tube so that it springs against the tube for a tight fit.
Step 7: Install and Enjoy
You are now done! You can fix the badge to your head tube with either an epoxy or existing screws (if your bike already has holes for mounting a badge). Enjoy your custom bike badge, I hope it makes you smile :)