License Plate Crafts

    by Nicole Thelin

    About the Author

    Nicole Thelin has more than a decade of professional writing experience. She has contributed to newspapers such as the "Daily Herald" of Provo, Utah, and now writes for several online publications. Thelin is pursuing a bachelor's degree in education from Western Governors University.


    License plates can be cut, bent or otherwise altered into many different items. Artistic mosaics represent just the tip of a recycled license plates’ iceberg of potential. Lunchboxes, scrapbooks, birdhouses and even dustpans can be easily decorated. A collector can craft an eye-catching visual display that transcends the normal "hammer them to the garage wall" approach.

    Wind Chimes

    Create wind chimes by attaching plate scraps to a metal pole with varying lengths of wire. Cut plates into creative shapes like stars, hearts and flowers. Cut out state names, individual numbers, letters or decorative artwork. Cut out any symbols, such as those depicting handicaps, veterans or government agencies.

    Notebook or Journal

    Create a notebook or journal from license plates by cutting a stack of colorful cardboard paper in the same dimensions as a license plate. Add two license plates to each side for a front and back cover. Punch holes in the paper at the same location as the precut holes in the plates. Hook a large metal loop through each of the holes. Glue a soft plastic CD case insert to the inside of the front or back plates for a pocket to store pictures, pens or other items.

    Display Maps

    Creative collectors who have at least one plate from every state can create a map of the United States. Start with a strong piece of wood to use as a backdrop. Determine the desired proportions of the map and find a map in that size or draw one to scale. Cut the plates from each state into the proportionate shape of that state on the map and attach the plate to the wood in the proper location. Depending on the size of the map, multiple plates may be required for larger states, such as California and Texas.


    Bending a license plate can also yield creative results. You can bend plates over the edge of a table or counter to achieve the desired effect. A single bend that divides the plate into 3/4 and 1/4 portions creates bookends.


    Create a purse or carrying case by bending a plate four times to resemble a square. Glue fabric inside the case to close the open sides. Create a closure by inserting a rivet into the top and bottom and tying it closed with ribbon.

    Wall Display

    Assemble plates in vertical columns. Use S hooks to hook the plates together using the pre-existing holes. Tie the top plate in each column to a large wooden pole where they can hang freely, or simply attach the display to the wall.

    Cuff Bracelet

    An easy cuff bracelet can be fashioned from strips of license plates. Sand all edges to soften sharp edges and bend the strip into a curve that fits comfortably around the wrist. If desired, glue a soft fabric to the inside of the bracelet for greater comfort.