Design Turnpike creates unique art pieces from genuine vintage license plates.

Member Since: 09/22/2009

Subscribe to my RSS Feed


Pile of Michigan License Plates = Flag of USA

Ouch, my hands hurt! Why or why did white 1962 Michigan plates have to made from thick steel... 40+ plates, 63 pieces and over 300 nails mounted on a stained red wood board comprise this 5-foot wide...

10 Amazing Things Made Using License Plates

Here's what I've been up to lately. See more at the link! Enjoy.

Google Office Projects

I was so excited to get to create custom art for two Google regional offices so far this year! Both offices are located in Michigan, and they wanted the pieces to represent the Great Lake State as...

Wisconsin Map - License Plate Art

It's been awhile but I just finished a very fun and challenging project I'd like to show off. This map of Wisconsin measures 3 feet square, and uses parts of 72 license plates from as early as the...

2014 License Plate Art Project Update

It's been awhile since I posted! Here is a smattering of what I've been doing this year with recycled vintage license plates. Many of these designs are available as metal and canvas prints on my...

Biggest. Map. Ever.

Hey, it's Sue here! On our way to Nashville so we thought we'd spend the week doing a throwback to previous posts! To start it off, we thought we'd share this little ditty from Design Turnpike with his map of the good old USA in honor of the Winter Olympics! Love it! ~Sue _______________________________________________________________ So, a previous client called and asked, "Just how big of a map COULD you make?" And so, this project began. Months later, I am ready to ship out a map made of license plates that is 10 feet wide by 6...

License Plate Art: International Edition!

Some photos of recent projects I've worked on that differ from my typical American patriotic perspective. Japan, Canada, Australia, and a Canadian maple leaf flag. Lots of fun finding these license...

You Guessed It - More License Plate Art!

It's been a busy 2013! Here are a smattering of projects I've worked on so far this year using vintage license plates. Many more pieces over on my website. Hope you swing on by for a visit!

Route 66 License Plate Art

This may well be the only one of these I ever make! The black outside border of the state route emblem is made using 1969 Kansas plates. The inside silver is a sheet of old steel, and each letter and...

More License Plate Animals!

Part 2 of my series of animals made out of recycled vintage license plates! Enjoy :)

More License Plate Art City Skylines!

I've been doing lots of American cities using recylced vintage license plates!

More License Plate State Maps!

Continuing in my quest to do maps of all 50 states using recycled vintage license plates. Enjoy!

License Plate Art Animals

Started this series of animals this summer. Lots more coming: Lion, Hippo, Shark, Giraffe, Dog and Peacock. All pieces are made from vintage license plates on wood. Hope you enjoy!

License Plate Skyscrapers & Skylines

Been working on a series of skyscrapers and skylines using old license plates, mounted on blue wood boards. Here are a few. These all measure 22 x 12. Kind of a cool way to reuse all my scraps from...

A Little Bird Told Me...

... that a certain well known nature foundation might like to commision a series of state birds made out recycled license plates. So, here we go! First two here. Enjoy :)

License Plate Letter Signs

Lately, in addition to the large license plate maps I make, I've been receiving orders for a lot of signs made with assorted vintage license plate letters. I created a tool on my website where...

Recent License Plate Art and Map Projects

It's been a busy 2011! Here are a few projects I've been doing. Enjoy!

License Plate Map Process

Another pile of plates turned into a piece of art! Created for display at the historic Model T Automotive Heritage Complex in...

Michigan License Plate Flag

Holy license plate flag! 156 Michigan license plates transformed into a gigantic 12 ft wide flag of the United States.

Mizzou vs Michigan!

Client has mixed allegiances to both Missouri and Michigan (works in the treasurers office at University of Missouri Springfield!) so he wanted one of each for his office. These matching license...

4 Old Plates = 10,000 Lakes

Finally had a chance to do a map of Minnesota out of vintage plates. This one needed a green-ish base to match with a great room wall. I love the fact that I was able to find plates from the 50s for...

Georgia on my mind...

A 3 foot by 3 foot map of the Peach State for a new client in tony Buckhead outside of Atlanta! Used mainly old discarded 70s plates for this one. I really like the wood boards used for this piece...

United States License Plate Map of the Fifty States

Each state in the union is painstakingly represented in this huge map with its own license plate. The map measures about 60 x 42 and weighs about 35 pounds. Every license plate is genuine and the...

Arkansas License Plate Map

The Natural State, in fall colors. Some old trucking license plates live on in these fun pieces, both a big and small version. These currently are on display in a cool new boutique in Little Rock...

Ohio State Buckeyes License Plate Art

A pile of 1970 Ohio license plates, some other plate scraps and some bright red stained boards transformed into the logo of the Ohio State Buckeyes!

Don't Mess With The Golden State!

Two piles of expired license plates, some wood, nails and glue have become a matching set of license plate maps for a nice lady in Washington State. They will soon adorn a stunningly red wall in her...

Microscope Lamp

How about break from license plate art and maps? This cool lamp was created by my very handy father-in-law using an old large microscope. Had to share it!

Green Mountain State License Plate Map

A client in Vermont wanted a map for his studio lobby. So, a pile of discarded plates from decades past will live on for years to come!

Cross State Rivalry

The Spartans and the Wolverines, immortalized using genuine vintage Michigan license plates! These two pieces repelled each other like magnets, so I had to snap the photos quickly. :) This fall...

Been Busy Lately...

Some of the projects that are keeping me busy these days and ensuring my tin-snip-induced callouses never soften! Hope you enjoy.

Noel License Plate Art

Yes, I know it is January and these pics are about a month late... But better late than never! Some old license plates transformed into a holiday decoration you might not expect. Colorado, Wisconsin...

Go Blue - Michigan Football License Plate Art

College football fans know that U-M Football is down right now, but they will rise again! At least the M-Den store in Ann Arbor believes that... they are currently showcasing this piece in their...

Roll Tide!

This past Saturday, on the day Alabama clinched a spot in the BCS title game, I finished an Alabama license plate map for a big-time fan. Good timing, I'd say!

Thirteen Colonies License Plate Map

If you can't tell, I love maps. So I thought a map of the original thirteen colonies as they existed in 1776 would be a fun miniature to try. This piece would be a cool one hanging in a junior high...

Birds and Flowers License Plate Art

Another fun project with license plates! My client (who doubles as my sister!) wanted to have a piece of license plate art made for her new baby's nursery, that both matched her bedding style and was...

Patriotic Miniature License Plate Map

What happens when you take leftover license plates from the 60s and 70s (they are generally the only ones painted solid colors on the back) and cut them into strips, which, put together, create a...

Motor City Mini License Plate Art

Skyline of Detroit, from a new perspective! Created using license plates from various states mounted on a red-stained board.

Miniature US License Plate Map by Design Turnpike

A miniature version of the larger Fifty States piece. Painstakingly created using pieces of a license plate from all 50 states. Mounted on a single stained board, measuring 14 x 9 inches.

Ford Logo License Plate Art by Design Turnpike

A miniature homage to my hometown's Ford Motor Company, created entirely from license plates from various US states. Mounted on a single stained board, measuring 14 x 9 inches. Apologies to those who...

Old Glory Miniature License Plate Art by Design Turnpike

A miniature version of the larger Old Glory piece, assembled from plates from various US states. Mounted on a single stained board, measuring 14 x 9 inches.

Michigan License Plate Map by Design Turnpike

A unique piece of Michigan history, containing Michigan license plates from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Mounted on stained board. Measures 36 x 36 inches.

Recent comments

Re: Vintage Kitchen Pantry


Re: Yardstick & Galvanized Wash Tub Base Side Table

Totally love it!

Re: Vintage Matchbook Advertising Art Pendants

Love these. Very cool!

Re: Michigan License Plate Flag

CeraJean, have at it! Imitation = flattery :)

I'm posting a small version of it this morning as it happens. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

@GarageSaleDiary - I am selling these... Email me at for more info.

Thanks for the nice comments everyone!

Re: Halloween Upcycled Bird House with License Plate Body

As a license plate lover, I rate this one 10!

Re: Junk"Y" Situation

That sign is awesome!

Re: Got LOVE

Very creative. Love it!

Re: Michigan License Plate Flag

Just one more fun tidbit... A print of this artwork will be used on set in an upcoming pilot on ABC called "Georgetown." Believe it or not Warner Brothers contacted me about using it after browsing my online print store! Thanks for the nice comments, everyone :)

Re: Vintage Projector Lamp

Totally awesome!

Re: It's time to play dominoes!

Brilliant idea!

Re: Grain Scoop Vase

Awesome as usual!

Re: Old crate stairs

Totally love!

Re: Georgia on my mind...

DustyRust - I have done a dozen or so Michigans! I am a Great Lake Stater as well. I think I posted photos here somewhere so look under my profile.

Thanks to all others for your nice comments. I love sharing my work here and seeing the amazing things others are creating. Great website.

Re: Money Does Not Grow On Trees...


Re: Industrial Ambiance

Loving it!

Re: Industrial in the Kitchen!

The EAT signage rocks.

Re: Wired---------[=

By the way, great photography as well. And I love that flag!

Re: Wheely Sweet Coffee Table

Wow, where did you gt it? Very unique and lots of character...

Re: Industrial Trophies

Awesome stuff. Love the concept.

Re: Vintage Kitchen Pantry

Absolutely awesome. I love every aspect of it. Your weathering technique is perfect. Thanks so much for posting this and taking the time to write such interesting descriptions.


I'm liking this idea... Could work well with license plates also!

Re: vintage bike

Like the color... very era-appropriate!

Re: 50's gaming table

Very cool!

Re: [WRECKAGE] Cabinet

You are the man! Jealous of your line name also :)

Re: AmmoBox Table

The colors are so great!

Re: Cross State Rivalry

Jim, coming from you that is a very nice compliment. I am a big fan of your work. Thank you!

Re: my junky little garage

That looks awesome!

Re: Stop the Draft!

Your finishing technique, bold colors and sense of design make your projects my favorite on the site. Great job again.

Re: Cherish Boxes

Colors are terrific!

Re: Copper Pipe Dining Room Table


Re: Roll Tide!

Kathy, just heavy-duty tin snips. A lot of practice and some well built-up metacarpals help too!

Re: Vintage Boxes

Very cool!


Dr Pepper: My favorite drink!

Re: Birds and Flowers License Plate Art

Thank you everyone for the kind comments. I had a lot of fun with this and can't wait to deliver it! Racers7 (Melody): How did I cut these? Heavy duty tin snips and some patience!

Re: barn dismantle

Old barn wood... I'm drooling!

Re: A Junker's Collection - Part One

Awesome, fun, cool stuff!

Re: Don't be Chicken - Nightlight

That's sweet!

Re: Ready for 3rd Gear?

Wow, that is awesome. Love the shade too. Good choice!

Re: Garden Arbor Creation

Really an amazing transformation!

Re: Industrial goes Glam

Who would have thought plumbing pieces could look this good?

Re: Got Gas!

As always, very cool. I love your sense of color and the boldness you bring to every project.

Re: Trick or Treat

The letters are a huge score! Nice work as always :)

Re: Climbing my Chippy Ladder to Success!

The distressing is perfect!

Re: You knew it was coming...


Re: Drink Up! CrAzY Bottle Collection

What an awesome collection!

Re: Michigan License Plate Map by Design Turnpike

Mimi, thanks for your insight and warm welcome!

Re: Juliette

Wow, that would a fun decoration in any room!

Re: "The Twelve Best"~Vintage Clock

Love the bold color!

Re: Stamp Box

Love old stamps. Nice work!

Re: license plate star ..

Very nice work. I also do license plate art and appreciate your take on it!

Re: Old tool chest becomes a piece of furniture for my work room!

It looks great!

Re: Michigan License Plate Map by Design Turnpike

Thanks everyone for the insightful and nice comments! I have taken your advice and removed any promotional aspects off my posting to conform to the user agreement.

Re: Michigan License Plate Map by Design Turnpike

Thanks for the nice comments! Anyone know why my other 3 posts are not showing up under My Contributions? I'm new here, thanks in advance...