A Crafty Mix


DIY: How to Make a License Plate Lamp the Easy Way

We found some amazing license plate mock-ups at our local China mall the other day and I loved them so much I bought tons. At only R 30 they were an abSooooLute steal 😎 We’ve used them in so many of our projects. Like this boring old office storage that got a complete license plate makeover and this awesome beer caddy. We even made a mini potting shed with a few of them. My son, who by the way has just matriculated (mommy is so very proud of you Calin ), needed a new bedside table lamp for his bedroom and we thought the plates would make a perfect lampshade.  Add some plumbing bits and you get an easy industrial styled license plate lamp.

I'll stop loving you when SpongeBob gets his license 😉 Click to Tweet

What You Need to Make a License Plate Lamp

What you need to make an industrial license plate bedside table lamp. Easy license plate craft with a full tutorial on the blog

What you need

For the lampshade

  • 2 license plates
  • 4  brackets
  • 8 Pop rivets and a rivet gun
  • Electric light fitting (plastic)
  • Galvanized wire
  • Insulation tape

For the lamp base

  • 1 four-way PVC box (20 mm or 1″). A five-way 1″ PVC fitting will also work
  • 4 90o  galvanized plumbing elbows – male (20 mm or 1″)
  • 1 galvanized tube (20 mm or 1″)
  • Electrical wire, plug and light switch
  • Spray paint

Making the Lampshade

To make the lampshade, measure the horizontal halfway mark on each license plate and using a straight piece of wood carefully bend the license plates on the halfway mark so they form a 90o  angle. Place the license plates together and attach using the brackets and the pop rivets.

Making the license plate Lamp Shade

Making the Lamp Shade

We had to put our thinking caps on to try and figure out how we would build the frame inside the lampshade to hold the light fitting.

Time to put our thinking caps on and figure out how to make a license plate lamp shade

Time to put our thinking caps on

After some debate and a beer or two, we decided to suspend the galvanized wire between the brackets to create a floating frame. We added some insulation tape to the middle of each wire just to make sure it was safe and then attached the light fitting between the wires.

Creating a frame for the license plate lamp. Easy license plate craft with a full tutorial on the blog

Creating a frame for the electrical bits

Add the light fitting. Easy license plate craft with a full tutorial on the blog

Add the light fitting

Making the “Industrial” Base

Now for the base of the lamp. The thread on the galvanized elbows are a perfect fit for the PVC box, simply twist them in. Seriously, it was that easy.

Making the base

Making the base

Spray the base and the pipe and gently tap out the little round circle bit in the PVC box. Twist the pipe into the hole – another perfect fit!! If you’re using the five way PVC connector then you can simply insert the pipe into the hole on the top of the fitting.

Finishing off the base. Easy license plate craft with a full tutorial on the blog

Finishing off the base

Attach the base to the light fitting, and thread the wire from the light fitting down into the pipe. Add a bulb and plug and you’re good to go.

Wiring up the light. Easy license plate craft with a full tutorial on the blog

Wiring up the light

Here’s a useful guide on how to wire up the light fitting, but if you’re unsure rather call a qualified electrician otherwise sparks might fly.

A easy to make license plate lamp using galvanized pipes and fittings and two license plates. Perfect for a man cave or car crazy teen. Easy license plate craft with a full tutorial on the blog #licenseplate #repurposed #industrialdecor #DIYHomeDecor

License plate lamp

If you like the idea, don’t forget to pin it for later.
How to make a license plate lamp using plumbing bits. Perfect for a man cave or teenage boy's room. #licenseplate #repurposed #industrialdecor #DIYHomeDecor

Pin me please!!!

Have you made any unusual lights or done something creative with license plates? I would love to hear about it.

Oh and by the way if you’re struggling to find some of the things we used, I’ve got you covered Disclosure: If you click on the links below, we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more unique DIY and craft ideas for you;-)

Anvil Malleable Iron Pipe Fitting, Class 150, 90 Degree Street Elbow, NPT Male x NPT Female, Galvanized Finish
Sale PVC- 5 way X -1' (Furniture Grade White)
LDR 303 1X12 Galvanized Pipe Nipple, 1-Inch X 12-Inch by LDR Industries
ERLOOD New York 2FAST4U, Empire State, United States,Retro Vintage Auto License Plate Tin Sign Embossed Tag Size Home Pub Bar Decor 6 X 12
ERLOOD ILLINOTS Route 66 Retro Vintage Auto License Plate Tin Sign Embossed Tag Size Home Pub Bar Decor 6 X 12
66Retro Alaska ETU 870, The Last Frontier, Embossed Vintage Tin Sign, Retro Auto License Plate, 30cm x 15cm

Until next time, wishing you a beautiful, love filled week.

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

Categories:   DIY Tutorials, Home Decor Crafts, PVC Hacks


  • Posted: October 11, 2019 11:42

    George Butler

    Curious how you attached light to wire supporting iy.
    • Posted: October 14, 2019 04:22


      Hey George, attaching the light fitting was a bit tricky, but in the end, we used baling wire to create a "frame" inside (you can see it in the pics about halfway down in the post). The light-fitting was then mounted on the frame using electrical tape.
  • Posted: September 20, 2018 04:06


    I am also having such trouble finding these seemingly easy parts. I am guessing this is not from the US since the parts are metric measurements. Is the galvanized tubing called another name, as Well?
    • Posted: October 31, 2018 06:05


      Hi there, so sorry you're having problems finding the parts. I did some research and I've updated the post with affiliate links that should make it easier to find all the bits. I hope it helps.
  • Posted: February 22, 2017 16:18

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    Awesome light Michelle! I guess a little beer helps the thinking cap work a little better. Lol
    • Posted: February 22, 2017 16:19


      Always Linda, always :-) Thank you
  • Posted: February 9, 2016 18:41


    I've looked everywhere, and cannot find even remotely close to the box. Any ideas?
    • Posted: February 9, 2016 19:48


      Hi, we found ours at our local hardware store in the electrical section. I'm not sure where you're emailing from but would really love to help you find it.
  • Posted: February 9, 2016 18:40


    Any website that I can find a 4-way PVC Box like you used in this project
    • Posted: February 10, 2016 06:05


      Hi Tom, me again. I did a search on Google for a "4 way pvc box circular" and found tons of sites that might ship if you can't find the box locally. I hope it helps.
  • Posted: January 27, 2016 16:49


    How does the shade attach to the base. Is the light put on the bottom brackets of the shade or the top?
    • Posted: January 27, 2016 17:11


      Hi Karen, the light is suspended on the bottom bracket.
  • Posted: January 27, 2016 11:41


    Perfect :)
  • Posted: January 25, 2016 13:07

    Revamped Office Storage - A Crafty Mix

    […] all those license plates I bought at the China Mall? Yup, we’ve already used some to make a light for Calin’s bedroom, but I have lots more ? Some of the number plates have this gorgeous rusty look that I wanted to […]
  • Posted: January 24, 2016 15:17


    You need to show how the light wire works into the pipe section ....did you drill a hole into the 4 way PVC so that yoiu could run the light wire through it and up through the pipe ? you didn't show this on your pictures how you run the light wire into it ...just curious ...I love this idea and I do want to make some of these as my son's like things like this they are all grown so i know they would want these in their bedroom ..
    • Posted: January 24, 2016 17:43


      Hi Maude, I'll take a pic in the morning of where the wires go. Sorry my hubby wired it up and I was so excited to see everything come together I forgot to take a foto and post. Electricity scares me and this lamp is in my son's bedroom, there is no way I'll put him in danger so I understand where you're coming from. I've updated the post to show where the wire goes. Hope it helps.
  • Posted: January 24, 2016 14:10

    John @ AZ DIY Guy

    Very cool project. That would be great in a man-cave type room. Well done!
    • Posted: January 25, 2016 06:16


      Thank you John. Love the remodel you did on your daughter's closet.
  • Posted: January 24, 2016 12:37

    Linda Jung

    Our son is into NASCAR and what a great gift for him. Now to find his driver's plate.
    • Posted: January 24, 2016 14:11


      Oh that would be stunning. Hope you find his driver's plate :-)
    • Posted: January 24, 2016 16:27


      I agree with with the other writter. I really hope he enjoys it! Good luck! :)
    • Posted: January 25, 2016 05:15


      Walmart or auto parts store will have the plates...
      • Posted: April 1, 2016 15:19


        My car enthusiast boy would love this lamp! I would love to find Vintage Plates, as his step-dad restores vintage cars for a hobby.

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