When we moved from our home state, I saved the license plates from both of our vehicles, for the purpose of making something from them. Having seen something similar to this, I decided to use two of the plates to make a cut out of the state. With Washington State being the "Evergreen State", I used an outline that included a tree cutout.
Tools & Materials I Used:
- License plates (number required depends on the cutout size you desire)
- Angle grinder with cutting disk
- Dremel with cutting disk
- Painter's tape
- Felt tip pen
- Safety glasses
- Hearing protection
Optional Items, depending on how you choose to mount your cut out:
- Miter saw
- Table saw
- Wood glue
- Brad nailer
- Tape measure and pencil
- Liquid nails
Step 1: Outline the Shape
You can easily find an outline of your state online, as I did. After printing it and cutting it out, lay it on your plates to find the most desired sections to use. In my case, I wanted both the state phrase and name to be in the cutout.
With the template laying in the desired location, use a felt tip pen to do a rough outline. Make the outline slightly larger than the template.
If you are using more than one plate, now is the time to tape them together using blue tape. Tape the seams on the front and back to limit them from bending.
Remove the template and place blue tape down on your rough outline. This will be used to make a more detailed outline of the template, so place it in such a way that it will allow you to trace the template.
Put the template back down and trace it as exact as possible.
Step 2: Cutting Time
I found the following to be easiest to accomplish by clamping down the license plates, to ensure they didn't move around.
Using an angle grinder, make as many cuts as possible along your outline. Now go back and remove as much excess material as possible from the more detailed areas.
For the tighter corners, waterways, and tree outline, I used a Dremel with a cutting wheel. It's not as fast as the angle grinder, but allows for more detailed work.
After making all your cuts, you can use a metal file or some sand paper to remove any burrs on the edges.
DO NOT remove the tape joining your plates until you have determined how you will mount them. But you can remove any excess tape from around the outside of the plates.
Step 3: OPTIONAL: Mounting the Plates
You have several options for mounting your plates. I had some extra cedar pieces from a pallet I had broken down and chose to make a frame from these.
To secure the plates to the frame I used liquid nails. Only after this had dried for the required time did I then remove the front tape joining the plates.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Creation!
Now go hang your creation in a place you can enjoy it!