How to Make Animals & Life-Sized Figures From Scrap Metal

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Scrap metal art offers unlimited possibilities to explore one's creativity. Making life-sized human and animal figures is a fascinating journey that begins with collecting old, discarded metal objects and giving them new life as anatomical components for your elephant, human-like creature, fantasy dragon or centipede. As you travel to flea markets, junk shops and scrap yards looking for inspiration, the concept of form and function takes on exciting new meaning. You'll see kitchen pans, utensils, radio parts, car lights, rusty keys, tools and other scrap metal objects in a whole new light, contemplating how they will fit together as a life-sized sculpture for your front lawn or foyer.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Soldering iron or soldering gun
  • Solder
  • Metal wire (optional)
  • Design a pattern of an animal or human-like figure; alternatively, allow the scrap metal you collect inspire a design. Collect scrap metal objects in junk shops, flea markets and scrap yards. Look for pieces that have the ability to fit together in a puzzle-like fashion, or that require little soldering.

  • Lay out your scrap metal objects on the floor or ground. View each piece carefully to see how the whole piece or a section of it might fit with another piece to form the anatomy of your figure. Consider whether the figure will be sitting or standing.

  • Draw a rough illustration of the pose you want the sculpture to take on. Think about how you will make the arms, legs, torso or head suggest movement.

  • Assemble the pieces to create your sculpture. Enhance the sculpture with metal wire, spray paint and flowers or plants for garden sculptures.

Tips & Warnings

  • Collect scrap metal objects that suggest anatomical components. For example, round radios, frying pans and metal plates are perfect for heads. Kitchen utensils such as flippers work well for animal ears.
  • If fitting pieces together without solder, metal wire may be used in places such as where the head, arms and legs meet the body.
  • Enhance a human-like sculpture by incorporating sterling silver, copper or even gold-filled wire, wrapped or twisted onto the figure like jewelry.
  • Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for using the soldering iron.
  • Wear safety goggles and gloves when working with scrap metal that may have sharp edges or spring-loaded attachments.
  • Photo Credit Schrott - Eisen - Skulptur im Grünen image by Marem from Fotolia.com
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