Beginner Sheet Metal Projects

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Working with sheet metal isn't difficult, according to ShopNotes Magazine. The key is having the right tools. Sheet metal can be used in a number of applications from shop storage to home decor. Simple projects provide a basic hands-on education for beginners learning how to work with sheet metal.

Backsplash

  • Metal backsplashes are practical and attractive in kitchens and bathrooms with traditional, retro or modern designs. Sheet metal comes in a variety of styles, including copper, brass and bronze. Sheets can be plain or pre-pressed with patterns including flutes, squares or diamond shapes, and with matte or shiny finishes, non-directionals or a quilted appearance. Fitting the sheet metal at the corners requires the use of a "metal brake" to make the straight, crisp bend in a single sheet, or trim pieces to hide the cuts at the joint. Before cutting into the sheet metal, make a pattern from paper or cardboard for the exact size, for cutouts for electrical sockets and switches, and to go around cabinets and windows.

Tub Surround

  • Just as sheet metal can be fitted around the sink area, it can also be used as a tub surround. Install a backer board just as would be done for working with tile, and secure the sheet metal to the board with a construction adhesive designed for tub surrounds. Bend edges for interlocking sections or add trim to hide seams and seal with silicone caulking. Bending the sheet metal to fit around the corners requires a large metal brake to manage the height of metal sheeting when sized to the wall. This tool can be rented for one project or made from scratch for use with future projects. The CH601 website includes instructions from David Barth, who built his own brake in one afternoon for use in fabricating aircraft parts.

Wall Mounted Shelves

  • ShopNotes provides detailed how-to instructions and patterns for creating simple, wall mounted shelves and storage trays. These projects are suitable for use in any area of the home or garage. These projects rely on the use of a small metal brake but include the same basic skills for creating a custom sheet-metal kitchen countertop.

Refacing

  • Update the appearance of kitchen cabinets or appliances by refacing with sheet-metal. Get the high-end designer look for only the cost of materials. Laminate the metal to the existing cabinetry, or limit its use to door and drawer panels. For a country decor, consider using a metal punch technique to create interesting designs. Mix metals with wood stains or painted finishes on the cabinets to avoid a cold, sterile appearance.

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