Add a little charm to your backyard with a dragonfly decoration made from old license plates and a chair spindle. Several of these dragonflies can be whipped up in an afternoon, making it a perfect addition to your craft show booth. This project can also be a quick and inexpensive gift idea when the need arises. Paint the license plate wings and spindle body if you like, or leave it as is for more rustic appeal. Dowels can also be substituted if a spindle is not available.
4 license plates
Old chair spindle
Drill and 1/16-inch drill bit
Rusty baling wire
Lay one license plate on your work surface with the back facing up. Using a permanent marker, make a mark at the center of one short edge. From the other short edge, measure 4 inches along one long edge and mark. Draw a line from one mark to the other.
Using tin snips, cut along the marked line. When the small piece is removed, use it as your pattern to to cut the other long edge of the plate. When finished, license plate will resemble a teardrop. This is one wing of your dragonfly. Use this wing as the pattern to cut out three more wings.
Using the finished photo as a guide, arrange the wings on your work surface. Overlap the short ends in the center a 1/2 inch. Place an old spindle (I used a spindle from an old chair that was falling apart) over the center of the arranged wings. Note: My spindle was approximately 15 inches long. Your spindle does not have to be exactly that length. The idea behind this project is to use what you have.
Using a pencil, make light marks on the spindle where the ends of the wings will intersect. Remove the wings from under the spindle. The marks are on the back of the spindle. With the back of the spindle facing up, place one short end of a wing over a mark on the spindle. Using a staple gun, attach the wing. Overlap the short end of this wing’s mate over the stapled end of the attached wing. Staple the wing in place. Attach the remaining pair of wings in the same way, covering the remaining marks on the spindle.
Stand the dragonfly up. Using a 1/16-inch drill bit, drill two holes in the end of the spindle. Cut two 5-inch lengths of rusty baling wire using wire cutters. Using pliers, form them into candy cane shapes. Apply glue to the openings of the drilled holes. Insert the wires and adjust the antennae. Allow the glue to dry.
Hang your dragonfly using wire wrapped around the spindle body, or attach to a surface with a wood screw through the body.