License Plate Projects

By Laurie Meekis
Put old license plates to good use making recycled crafts.

If you have a collection of old license plates or a resource for others, they do not need to end up stuck on a wall in the garage as décor. License plates make wonderful recycled, creative and funky crafts. The pieces have distinct character. Part of the fun in making crafts with old license plates is the mystique of the unknown stories and history behind each license plate. It is also nice to make a craft with a license plate from a specific locale that has some significance to the creator or recipient.

Bird House Roof

Build a birdhouse or take the roof off an existing birdhouse and make the roof out of a license plate bent in the middle to form the point of the roof or simply attach it as a flat roof. It can be glued or screwed in place. If you have access to many old license plates, they would make a creative craft to sell or give as gifts. If you use old fence planks to create the bird house and add the license plate roof to it, that gives the whole birdhouse a lovely weathered look and unique character.


Use two license plates to create the cover of a journal or diary. Make two or three holes in the license plate used for the front of the journal. Space them evenly apart if you use more than two holes. Line up the two license plates, backsides against each other, after the front cover holes are cut. Use the front cover holes to mark the back cover holes with a marker or pen, to evenly match the front and back holes together. Cut the marked holes in the second license plate. Use large metal rings to attach the front and back covers together, one ring for each pair of matching cut holes from front to back. The rings need to be the kind that can clip open and closed so journal pages can be added or removed when needed. Alternatively, you can bind the cover and pages together with heavy twine or strong fabric ribbon. License plates are not a standard cut paper size, so you may have to cut paper to the correct size to fit in the cover using scissors or a paper cutter. Cut the paper 1/4” to ½” smaller in width and length so the pages do not hang out of the closed journal. Paper punch corresponding holes in the pages to match the license plate cover holes.

Wastebasket or Storage Bin

You can make a wastebasket with four old license plates mounted with screws on larger wood backings and a plain wooden base or use only one license plate as the front piece for the wastebasket. The license plates can be mounted vertically on smaller wastebaskets. The license plate-decorated baskets have other uses. They are an interesting and fun way to file papers or bills and can be used on shelves as storage bins for small toys or as an open sewing or craft bin that can be moved around easily for use.

About the Author

Laurie Darroch-Meekis is an award-winning freelance writer. She has written over 1,000 published pieces online and off since 2005 and has many more in progress. She holds a bachelor's degree and was educated in the United States and abroad.