Friday, July 6, 2012

License Plate Ceiling

I've been collecting license plates for a while now.  I think it all started when I had to get new plates for my truck after moving to Texas.  Just couldn't throw my North Dakota plates away.  For awhile they hung on the garage walls of my homes and occasionally another pair would be added.  Anytime I found old plates for sale at flea markets, junk stores, etc. I'd buy them up.  I've purchased some on ebay and have been given some from friends who know I'm a collector.  I'm not what you'd call a discerning collector.  I don't pay more than $3 or $4 dollars apiece.  I don't care if they have scratches, dings, dents, or even a bit of rust; that's just character. I have some that are old, but most are fairly newly retired. 

As my collection grew I started a little trail on my back fence and displayed some in the school library.  I've always been drawn to the graphics, colors, numbers, and letters.  I'd been toying with the idea of installing them in the house somewhere; I just wasn't sure where.  

This summer as I've been home I began to realize that I'm getting tired of beige, and I've got a lot of it.  I decided the other day that I wanted to paint the downstairs powder room.  I picked out a gorgeous shade of turquoise and by mid afternoon I had the room done.  

Then I looked at the ceiling.  

It was certainly a manageable size for the license plate ceiling application.  It all came down to the actual dimensions of the room , as I really didn't want to damage any of the plates if possible. I got the tape measure and when I discovered the room was 31" by 84" I knew it was a sign!  It was meant to be!  A plate is 6 1/16" x 12".  That meant in order to cover the width of the room (31 divided by 6 1/16= about 5) I'd need 5 plates across and (84 divided by 12 = 7) 7 plates lengthwise to cover the room with very little cutting involved.   I'd need 35 plates, only 4 of which would have to be cut.

I headed out back and selected the 35 plates I wanted to use.  Some of them were so warped I couldn't get them to lay flat, so I had to swap them out.  I laid them out randomly on the floor, and then tweaked them a little.  (I didn't want two of the same state plates side by side or similar colors together.) 

Finally it came time to get them on the ceiling.  I certainly didn't want to use nails to attach the plates.  Then I thought of 3M Command strips.  They have some that are really small, mini-clips.  They worked perfectly.  I simply slipped the little hook through the existing plate holes and attached the sticky tabs.

Next I attached them to the ceiling.  It really was that simple.

The only time things got even the slightest bit tricky was fitting the plates around the ceiling vent.  I simply measured the space and.... 


cut the plate to fit.  I used a newer plate for this, as it is flat and the aluminum is thinner making it easier to cut.  I used tin snips to cut the plates. 

I put the specially cut plate in place, and viola! An awesome license plate tiled ceiling. 

Now how cool is that!

All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.

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