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 license plate lamp.
Don’t you just love the whole industrial look? And the light is perfect for a teen’s bedroom or a man cave.
Right, before we show you how we made this license plate light, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And hit that “subscribe” button so you’ll never miss a post!
What You Need to Make a License Plate Lamp
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″)
- Spray paint
- Electrical wire, plug, and light switch
Making the License Plate Lampshade
To make the lampshade, measure the horizontal halfway mark on each license plate. Use a straight piece of wood and carefully bend the license plates at the halfway mark so they form a 90o angle.
Place the license plates together and attach using the L-shaped brackets and the pop rivets.
Now for the fun bit. Building a frame inside the license plate lampshade to house the light fitting. We had to put our thinking caps on for this one 😀
After some debate and a beer or two, we decided to use some galvanized wire …..
…. to create a floating frame of sorts, on which we could suspend the fitting.
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.
That seems to work 😀
Making the “Industrial” Pipe 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.
Paint the PVC base, elbows, and pipe so they all match.
Once the paint dries, gently tap out the little round circle bit in the PVC box, and 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.
Attach the base to the license plate lampshade and thread the wire from the light fitting down into the pipe and wire the baby up. If you’re unsure how to wire up a plug and light fitting, please get a qualified electrician to do that bit for you.
Add a bulb and plug her in and you’re good to go.
I’m super happy with how it turned out.
And my son does too 😉
What do you think? Is it something you would make for your son?
If you like the idea of making a license plate lamp, don’t forget to pin it for later.
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;-)
Until next time, wishing you a beautiful, love filled week.
26 thoughts on “DIY: How to Make a License Plate Lamp the Easy Way”
How did I miss this awesome lamp! You two always come up with the coolest ideas. Here in Canada, it would be easy to find all the parts to make one too.
😀 The lamp we made for Calin is one of my all-time favorite projects and I’m so happy you like it, Marie. Thank you
That’s really clever Michelle, you always come up with such unique projects ?
Thanks so much, Deana ❤
Curious how you attached light to wire supporting iy.
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.
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?
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.
Awesome light Michelle! I guess a little beer helps the thinking cap work a little better. Lol
Always Linda, always 🙂 Thank you
I’ve looked everywhere, and cannot find even remotely close to the box. Any ideas?
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.
Any website that I can find a 4-way PVC Box like you used in this project
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.
How does the shade attach to the base. Is the light put on the bottom brackets of the shade or the top?
Hi Karen, the light is suspended on the bottom bracket.
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 ..
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.
Very cool project. That would be great in a man-cave type room. Well done!
Thank you John. Love the remodel you did on your daughter’s closet.
Our son is into NASCAR and what a great gift for him. Now to find his driver’s plate.
Oh that would be stunning. Hope you find his driver’s plate 🙂
I agree with with the other writter. I really hope he enjoys it! Good luck! 🙂
Walmart or auto parts store will have the plates…
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.