My old license plates become a purse...
This is probably the most challenging purse Iíve ever made. You need to be good with planning and with rivets. My father and I did this as a Dad-Daughter project. Thanks, Dad! A version of this purse and a plate notebook was published in Michaels Arts and Crafts magazine (May/June 1997 p62+) but they used sheet metal for the purse which would have been easier. The directions are long so I'll try to condense them a bit. You'll want to start with the back plate, then the bottom/front and finially the top. First mark where you want the bends, then drill the rivet holes, cut plate if needed and then rivet. Repeat in this order for each plate. I lined it with black vinyl and some double fold bias I found on sale. There are several purses like this on sale on the web for about $50. If you aren't good at planning out a project, it may be worth it to buy it instead but then you don't get to use your plates.
BTW, this purse turns out to be a rather good way to pick up men. I took it out on Saturday with the girls and had men just coming up on the street to ask about it. Too bad I'm married but helped the unmarried girls in the group.
Here are the very long directions. Read all of this before you start. I used 3 license plates. I can’t figure out how to use two but it seems like it should be possible. Clean any used license plates well. We used rivets to connect items and a pair of strong hinges for the top. The handle is a vinyl strap with washers that fit the rivets so it won’t pull off. You’ll need a clasp thing for the front. Look for something that the screws are the same size as the rivets because you’ll want to use the rivets to attach it. Dad and I started with the plate that is the back and the sides of the purse. The plate was the UWK one in the original photo. Here he is bending the first bend.
We bent each end of the plate about a 1/2-inch in so that it is wide enough for us to later stick a rivet though to attach the front. Next, you are going to want to drill the holes for those rivets. On that lip that was just made, we drilled a hole about 3/4 of an inch up from the bottom and another one 3.25 inches up the plate. We did that on both lips. Those are the holes for attaching the front. If you look at this photo, you can see where those rivets are once we attached the front:
You need a metal drill bit.
Next we drilled holes for attaching the bottom and the hinges for the top. If you look closely at the original photo for the UWK plate you can see the rivets. The hinge holes with depend on your hinges. If you are going to add a shoulder strap, drill a hole for each side now.
The next bends to form the sides and back are a challenge. This is something you may want to change and do these bends before all the others. My width is 2.5 inches and with some work we were able to bend through the W and at the end of the 5 of the plate. That leaves the back to be 6 inches. This is the exact height of the plate so the back is a square. This is important since you’re going to want the bottom to fit into place. That is it for the back and sides.
Next is the front and bottom. That is the plate with TBU on it. We bent the plate below the B so that the TB front is 4 inches up the front. Now, we fit it into are back and sides to figure out our next bend. Look closely at this photo of the bottom of the purse.
The next bend is right on the letter I of the OHIO on my plates. There is a lip that goes behind the back so that it is attached with rivets. And now you may also notice why it was so important to make sure that your back of the purse is a square. I cut the bottom lip that goes behind the back so that the lip was about 1 inch. I also sanded the edge to remove the sharp edge that may cut me later and also destroy the lining of the purse. Rivet time! Match the 2 pieces up. Mark the rivet holes on the back and bottom piece. You may need to encourage them to match up by bending a bit more or less. Drill the holes for the rivets and rivet together. You should have an opened toped box like the second photo.
Onto the top flap of the purse: Take plate number three and bend it at 2.5inches from the end. This will give you an overlap with the front piece of about 1/2 inch. In the photo of the finished purse, you can see that this is the plate marked with 4 and the front is the TBU.
The final cut: Take the top flap and put it in place, mark your cut for the top. You’ll need to allow space for you hinges. Look at this photo of the finished top flap to see what I mean.
Cut the flap along that line and sand.
Now, drill the holes for the hinges and attach the hinges to the back and the top flap. You now have a box with a lid. Add the clasp hardware with rivets and the purse handles. I used a shoulder strap from another purse that is clipped onto some D-rings from the fabric store. If you look at the photo of the hinges, you can also see I added silver washers to the top handle so that the rivets won’t pull through. It will happen if you don’t do something to keep it from happening. Dad and I did this in a day including the shopping. You may want to break it up a bit.
Dad isn’t much for fabric so I lined my purse without his help. I used vinyl but any fabric will work. I sewed it to fit inside and hot glued the lining in place. I edged the exposed edges with some extra fabric and added some “jewels” to cover the holes in the plates.
I hope this helps everyone who has asked for directions. Sorry it is such a long postbut it really needed the details.