Materials

A fender is just a flat piece of cut out plastic with some holes punched in it for mounting. But where do you get the plastic from?

Free (Recycled) Sources of Plastic

There's far too much plastic in the world already. Re-using plastic is the responsible (and free) way to go.

You'll need at least an 8 inch square piece of flat plastic for each fender. The plastic should be flexible enough to bend, and rigid enough to hold its shape when bent. I experimented with lots of different kinds of recycled plastic - some worked well and some didn't:

Kitty Litter Container

Kitty Litter Container (jumbo size)

Grade: A

Pros:

  • rigid, flexible and flat material
  • big enough for a front and back fender
  • easy to prepare
  • if you have a cat (or know someone who does) you probably already have one

Cons:

  • limited colors

Hard Plastic School Binder

Hard Plastic School Binder

Grade: B+

Pros:

  • rigid, flexible and flat material
  • big enough for a front and back fender
  • many colors available, including black

Cons:

  • if you're not a student you probably don't have one laying around

Large Laundry Detergent Container

Laundry Detergent Container (jumbo size)

Grade: B

Pros:

  • rigid, flexible and flat material
  • big enough for a front and back fender
  • easy to prepare
  • common in many households

Cons:

  • funky colors (or is that a pro?)
  • plastic is on the rigid side of ideal

Motor Oil Container

Motor Oil Container (jumbo size)

Grade: C+

Pros:

  • rigid, flexible and flat material
  • big enough for a front and back fender
  • common in many households
  • rad colors

Cons:

  • a pain in the butt to clean up the plastic

Large Plastic Soda Bottle

Two Liter Plastic Soda Bottle

Grade: C-

Pros:

  • rigid, flexible and flat material
  • common in many households

Cons:

  • plastic is rigid and sharp when cut
  • looks kinda ghetto

One Gallon Milk Jug

One Gallon Milk Jug

Grade: D

Pros:

  • common in many households

Cons:

  • plastic is too rigid and thin
  • color is fugly
  • too many curves in the bottle make it hard to work with

Laundry Detergent Container

Laundry Detergent Container (small size)

Grade: D

Pros:

  • common in many households

Cons:

  • plastic is on the rigid side of ideal
  • too many curves in the small bottle make it hard to work with

Paid (New) Sources of Plastic

Maybe you want a specific color fender. Or maybe you're making fenders for your friends and need a bunch of materials. No judgement here. There's some great, cheap sources of plastic out there:

IKEA Finfordela Cutting Mats

IKEA Finfordela Cutting Mats

Grade: A+

Cost: $2

Pros:

  • ideal material
  • enough for 2 sets (front and rear) of fenders
  • nice colors, dark grey will match almost any bike
  • cheap

Cons:

  • you have to go to IKEA to get them, or pay for shipping

No Tresspassing Sign

Plastic "No Trespassing" Sign

Grade: B+

Cost: apx. $1.50

Pros:

  • ideal material (if you get the right one)
  • looks super cool (personal taste)
  • cheap and available at most hardware stores

Cons:

  • need one sign per fender
  • variable materials, bend it at the store first
  • colors are not to everyone's liking

Cheap Cutting Mats

Cheap Cutting Mats

Grade: B

Cost: $6

Pros:

  • ideal material
  • enough for 4 sets (front and rear) of fenders

Cons:

  • price is getting further away from “free”
  • colors are not to everyone's liking

Expensive Cutting Mats

Expensive Cutting Mats

Grade: C

Cost: $14

Pros:

  • ideal material
  • enough for 3 sets (front and rear) of fenders
  • neutral colors will match most bikes

Cons:

  • expensive

Yard Sale Sign

Yard Sale Sign

Grade: F

Cost: $3

Cons:

  • plastic is brittle, and cracks when bent

What are you using to make fenders? Contact me and let me know.