my little corner of the world

jackie miller : : graphic design + whatnot

License to accessorize

15 years ago, I found myself on Martha’s Vineyard with a couple of friends as a surprise trip for my birthday. It was so quaint and as coastal New England as you can get. We wandered in and out of all the shops and I will have to admit, I had sticker shock for most of the items. I don’t know what I was thinking, after all, it is Martha’s Vineyard. Until I happened upon a bracelet made from a Maine license plate… I fell in love. I have always had a thing for license plates and was thrilled to see that I could actually afford the bracelet. I wore it almost everyday for years.

Unfortunately, it was an absolute attention magnet for any of my friend’s kids I was around and they would inevitably bend it trying to pull it off my wrist. For years, I was able to reshape it by hand, but after the millionth time, the metal finally split. I have been looking for years to replace it. I did remember the company that was handwritten on the lining, but they are sadly no longer in business.

Fast forward a few years, I was cleaning out my craft room and stumbled upon the license plates that we had hanging in the dart room in our last place. I thought, what the hell… let’s give it a go! I went downstairs to see what tools I had to cut metal, thinking maybe a small saw or a dremmel could work. Much to my surprise, right on the top of my toolbox, lay a pair of tin snips. I have no recollection of buying them or what I have ever used them for, but game on

Cut plate with rough edges.
Leather patch kit and bracelet bending pliers, courtesy of Amazon.

I used my Dremmel along with some metal files to sand down the cut edges and round off the corners, then formed the cuff using the pliers, lined it using the leather patch kit, trimmed off the excess, and then put on my license plate bracelet 2.0. I was so happy to have my favorite piece back. This one was even better as it was a Hawaiian plate with better colors than the boring old Maine blue and red, and it’s my first initial. Win, win!

My bracelet is back and better than ever!
Clearly, they were used on cars, so they both have some road scars character.