Metal Wall Decor

 

Shield

Metal wall decor

There is nothing quite like metal for your home or office decor. Metal is strong yet is relatively easy to shape and there are numerous finishing options available depending on what metal is used. Metal wall art is best because it takes up far less space and a lot more art can fit in a room. Please feel free to browse the articles and the listings in this page.

Purpose of Metal wall art

The purpose of metal wall art is to add a unique style to a room or office. I can be in a style that reflects on the style andcharacter of the owner. Also, it could be the piece that brings conflicting design elements into harmony.Take for instance, this mid century wall art sculpture titles “Quadrant” made from masonry nails. It employs the natural finish of wire brushed steel contrasting with the bronze weld joints to create a subtle but interesting work of art. More sculptures like this and more can be found in myEtsy shop JTBmetaldesigns!

Distressed Copper

Distressed CopperII have made numerous wall decor from masonry nails but this time I decided it was time to incorporate some copper. I wanted to try some folding techniques and the creases came out nicely. After I was done with all that I gave the copper panel a “seasoned” texture with the round part of a ball peen hammer. After brazing the copper to the dimensional assemblage of brazed nails, it looked pretty good if I don’t say so myself.

Metal art featuring aluminum with grinder patterns

Abstract BlueA popular style in these times is metal wall art made by polishing and grinding patterns into aluminum. It is a metal that gives the brightest reflective depth with this technique. It is often accented with transparent paints or lacquer.

Incorporating Wood Into Metal Wall Art

Eye of Horus
Incorporating wood into a metal sculpture allows the artist to add more depth and dimension without adding too much wieght.  Take for instance this Egyptian inspired “Eye of Horus”  wall hanging.  It is a poplar board painted in a distress faux golden finish.  The texture was created using toilet paper!

Industrial Chic

Industrial ChicSometimes you need a little bit of grittiness to your sophisticated decor. This is where industrial chic comes in handy. This wall art is a culmination of found objects that where saved until a composition came to mind. I lightly dry brushed various shades of copper and bronze paint until the finish was uniform then I clear coated the artwork.
The above featured art had already sold but I have another offering below in the abstract industrial wall hanging titled “Cold Blue”.
cold blue

How to Remove Oil Based Paints from Skin Safely

washing hands

CLEAN UP AFTER PAINTING

You have just completed your weekend project.  Either you painted some furniture or that sculpture you recently completed.  In your haste and excitement you forgot to don the rubber gloves and your hands have spots of oil based alkyd paint all over them.

The traditional method most would clean there hands with is mineral spirits.  I say NO because there is a better and safer way.  Mineral spirits is a petroleum based solvent and just like other industrial solvents, can dry and irritate the skin due to a defatting action.  Whats more is that solvents may have toxic contaminants and solvents can be absorbed through your skin like throwing a bucket of water through a window screen.    I will inform you how you can remove the stains with items you already have in your kitchen and keep your hands moisturized, clean, and healthy.

Soybean-Oil

The active stripper and solvent used is soybean oil.  This is interesting due to the fact that most oil based alkyd paints are made from modified soybean oil blended with polyester resins.  As long as the paint is not completely dries this oil should start softening the paint on your skin.  The vegetable oil is not much different in composition that the fat that naturally occurs under your skin.  This will help to retain moisture and prevent cracking.

Dawn-Dish-Soap-9oz

Soybean oil by itself cannot be rinsed off with water.  You need a detergent that both emulsifies fats and oils and completely dissolves in water.  Ideally the detergent should be concentrated yet gentle enough to use on exposed skin.  And the common detergent that meets all these criteria is Dawn dish detergent.  I have known the power of dish soap for decades.  In fact it trumps the power of laundry detergent.  I have frequently used it to pretreat stubborn stains before washing.  Maybe you have seen the advertisment where Dawn was used to clean distressed animals contaminated by catastrophic oil spills.  If Dawn can break through crude petrol, it surely can gently remove a little soybean oil from your hands.  Also, it might pick up the stubborn oil paint stains not picked up by the vegetable oil.

The Various Styles of My Metal Art

 

My Metal art

 

I make metal art using various techniques including braze welding, wire arc welding, and stick welding. I make alot of my own forming tools from left over scraps to keep cost down and my enjoyment up. I get alot of inspirations from other artists as well as architexture and nature. All my works are a labor of love and an appreciation of form and color. You can view my work in in my Etsy shop.
 

Sources of inspiration

Decorative coat rack from repurposed metal I draw inspiration from many sources. I get inspired from other artists, state of the art architecture, and nature itself. Sometimes I like to take some discarded metal and give it a new lease on life. The coat rack shown here was constructed from a lame planter and leftover metal stock.
 

Modulated sculpture

3 stars Sometimes a design oppotunity cannot be ignored despite how small the designs is. The compromise is artwork made of numerous smaller modules. Here I have made these 6 inch stars out of braze welded masonry nails. They can be arranged in any layout that seems appropiate for your decor. These wonderful additions to your decor are available in my Etsy shop.
 

Boltbot

boltbot CHeck out this robot candle holder I made up of scrap nuts and bolts. What a great way to recylce! Click on this link here to visit my shop listing for this item.
 

How to make perfect steel rings

This applies to making steel rings with rods quarter inch thick and less. For thicker material, you will need a torch to heat the metal as you bend it.
In this installment, I bend three sixteenths rod scrap around a mendrel I welded together from a section of six inch diameter pipe. I use a pair of vice grip to hold the rod against the mandrel and I use leverage to wrap it around the mandrel one and a half revolutions to ensure proper curving of the steel.

Results of steel ring forming

Scrap metal converted to perfect 6 inch ring! After the rod is wrapped around the mandrel to ensure the prope rcurvature, it is time to cut the ring from the straight rod. Keep in mind that you will need a significant overlap so the ring will close properly. If you do not overlap then you will have a large gap when you align everything to weld. Once it is all aligned, tack weld it in place and if not too distorted then continue welding. Finish up by grinding the weld smooth.
 
 
 

Torch Perforated metal

This is an interesting technique. What is done is a thin gauge steel sheet that might be 22 to 26 gauge is heated with an oxidizing flame on the oxyacetylene torch until the circular hot zone melts and leaves a whole. It really is a quick process and besides the holes also leaves a dimensionally textured surface. In the example in the photo shown here, after the perforation I melted bronze onto the steel to give it a multimetallic surface.
 

Candle Holders

I love to make candle holders. They make such wonderfull gifts. Take, for instance, this 3 heart candle holder. It would make a great gift for Mothers day, Valentines, birthday, or anniversary. Also, they really add to a rooms decor. If you would like to see more,just click here.
 

Clocks

il_570xN_515721241_3kls
 
One of the most elegant and usefull items a metal sculptor can make is a clock.  There are several companies that sell clock movements and specialized clock hands.  Nearly anything with at least a partially flat surface and the capability to have a hole drilled can be converted into a custom timepiece.  Take the contemporary post modern wall clock above.  It is an abstract time piece that would make a bold statement in any room with its contrasting iridescent colors and clean geometric lines.
 

Sconces

Art deco set of 2 While on the subject of candle holders, I want to discuss wall mounted sconces. A good example is this set of two art deco tealight/votive candle holding sconces.

Oxalic Acid for Around the Shop

Oxalic Acid

Oxalic acid is a white crystaline solid organic acid. It occurs naturally, in rhubarb, spinach, tea and many other plants. The commercial grade normally as the dihydrate. It is a rather strong acid as far as organic acids go being 3000 times stronger than acetic acid which is the acid in vinegar. It is very poisonous with 15 grams or a heaping teaspoon being the lethal dose.Oxalic acid is easily purchased online or can be had at hardware stores as wood bleach in a pinch. It is used by woodworkers, beekeepers, mariners and metal workers. One of its main uses is rust stain removal because oxalic acid is an excellent chelating agent that aggresively dissolves the iron oxide in rust.

 

Safety first

Although oxalic acid is safer to handle than nitric, sulfuric, or hydrofluoric acids, oxalic acid is still fairly strong and quite poisonous so proper
safety gear is important

 

Cleaning alloy wheels

Alloy rims cleaned with oxalic acid Alloy rims for cars and trucks can be a wonderful accent to the style of the vehicle. THe problem is with daily driving, especially in stop and go traffic, the iron composite break pads grind and grind putting a lot of dust on the wheels. Whats more is this iron dust is very hot from the friction and oxidizes to iron oxide. Still hot, they adhere to the aluminum/magnesium alloy in the wheels as a tough greyish black stain that cannot be removed with detergent or normal cleaning measures.What is needed is an aggresive acid or alkaline cleaner. Strong acid cleaners dissolve the iron oxides and some of the remaining iron thus allowing the break dust to be rinsed off with water. Alkaline cleaners work by partially dissolving some of the aluminum allot under the break dust leaving a fresh surface. The acid cleaners may contain, phosphoric, hydrofluoric, sulfuric, or hydrochoric acids or there mixtures. These acids are very dangerous to humans as they can several burn all tissue and may even discolor or destroy the alloy rims. Hydrofluoric acid is the worst as it can burn the skin and also poison you by attacking calcium in your body! A 50% solution of hydrofluoric acid solution spilled on the skin can kill you! Alkaline cleaners can be very dangerous also, a splash in the eyes can mean permanent blindness.

There is a safer option. That option is oxalic acid, although poisonous and somewhat irritating to skin, is much safer to use and handle. For cleaning automotive aloy wheels, a hot solution of 3 ounces crystals to 32 ounces of water will suffice. There is only minimal scrubbing involved and the break dust rinses away with a garden hose. Heavily deposited break dust may need two or more applications.

Also, on a somewhat related note, there seems to be a consensus that oxalic solutions will cleanup rusty chrome plated steel. I found an interesting thread in My Tractor forum about how to clean up rusty antique BMX bikes and such.

Removing rust stains from concrete

Concrete cleaned with oxalic acid Although muriatic or hydrchloric acid will perform this task, it is very corrosive and gives alot of poisonous and corrosive fumes. Furthermore, it actually dissolves some of the calcium from the concrete aggregate weakening it and promoting erosion. Clearly, a gently method is needed. Again it is oxalic acid to the rescue. The chemical action is a little different as instead of dissolving the calcium and the iron oxide stain, it only dissolves the iron oxide stain. It converts the red stain to a muddy green ferric oxalate complex after the oxalic acid is scrubbed into the wet concrete and absorbed. After 10 to 15 minutes, when the oxalic acid has had a chance to react, it is easily rinsed off leaving a perfectly white concrete that will look as good as it did the day it was poured.
 

Other Uses for oxalic acid

Oxalic still has other uses around the home or workshop. It is used to control pests by beekeepers and even to poilish marble. See the videos posted below for more information.
 
 
 

Reducing Gold Chloride solutions

If you are a gold refiner, then you are well aware of the process of dissolving scrap gold in aqua regia. Aqua regia is a mixture of Nitric and Hydrochloric acids that is used to dissolve precious metals like gold and platinum. When you have the golden solution of the chloride, it can easily be reduced to pure gold by reducing it with oxalic acid solution. See video below.
 
 
 

Electrochemical Etching of Metals

 

Etching metals with electricity

 

Etching of metal is a usefull and widely used method of developing engraved patterns on metal. It is used in jewelry as well as making printing plates. Traditionally, metals such as steel, zinc, copper, and brass where etched in an acid solution after a resist was applied to the metal plate in the desired pattern. The acids that where used typically where nitric and hydrochloric acids or ferric chloride. Although efficient, these acid are highly corrosive, difficult to handle, and produce toxic fumes. Whats more is the environmental impact that these reagents cause when improperly disposed of.

There is a much safer alternative, and that is electrolytic etching. Basically, the metal you want to etch is made the anode or ( ) electrode and a piece of the same kind of metal is made the cathode or (-) electrode. These electrodes are hooked up to a DC power source like a car battery charger or plating rectifier. To get a better picture, visit my electrolytic rust removal lens to see how a typical electrolysis setup can be constructed.

The metal ou want to etch still has a resist on it but there are more options since the mordant is less aggresive. For electrolyic etching, you can use a metal salt that is of the same metal that your etching such as ferrous sulfate for steel, zinc sulfate for zinc, and copper sulfate for copper and brass. Some people use strong solutions of sodium chloride or rock salt. Note I did not say table salt in that it contains additives that would interfere with the etching.

 

Supplies

Supplies To do electroetching of metals does not require a huge investment. In fact you may already have a number of the items in your home or garage. You could use a fancy power supply with digital readout but it is not necessary. A simple battery or a battery charger will suffice. You will need a decent sized container to hold the electrolyte and the electordes, and of coarse the salt you will use in your electrolyte. No matter what you use for your salt, you must use distilled or deionized water to make up the solutions. You will need a cathode made of the metal you will be etching and clamps and connectors to hook it all up to the power source.
 

Sodium Chloride

Kosher salt Sodium chloride or common salt is a common electrolyte for etching. For etching steel, it is recommended that you add some vinegar to the salt water electrolyte as this reduces the build up of insoluble rust in the electrolyte.

Ordinary table salt is not recommended due to the additives. You are better off with either Kosher salt or rock salt for ice cream making. Also, you want to use distilled water and not tap water.

 

Iron sulfate for steel

Iron sulfate or copperas from garden supplies If you are going to etch steel , then one option is iron sulfate. This chemical can be had inexpensively at many dedicated garden centers. It may be called copperas as this is an outdated latin name for the product. Its main application is supplying iron to plants and acidifying soil. For use as an electrolyte, a little sulfuric acid may be handy but it will not take much. To make a batch of electrolyte, you would use 200 grams per liter of distilled water.
 

Copper sulfate

Copper sulfate This is blue crystaline salt of copper with sulfuric acid that forms acidic solutions. It is useful as an electrolyte in etching brass and copper. It is also possible to use for steel and zinc but a heavy deposit of copper will form in solution. It is also useful for many other things as seen in my lens about copper salts.
 

Links and resources

Nontoxic Print
A printermakers website using newer ecofriendly and less hazardous chemistry to etch metals such as aluminum, zinc, copper, and steel
Steampunk Workshop
A comprehensive website covering techniques and resources needed for electrolyic etching of brass with copper sulfate.
Green Art Info
A website dedicated to the history and development of electroetching metals without acids

Scorpion Art

Scorpion Sculpture and art

 

In this installment, I will mainly cover metal scorpion sculpture but I will feature scorpion related art as well. The image of a scorpion invokes fear in most and awe in many. They make us think of a lone hunter roaming for prey in the desert sands at night.
 

Scorpion in the arts

Scorpion tattoo Probably the most common art where a scorpion is in tattoos. But they also occur in metal scuptures, digital imaging, and custom painted cars and motorcycles.
 

One Very large upcycled metal scorpion

Large Metal Scorpion Sculpture This is a sculpture made of salvaged metal parts. It is one imposing masterpiece. According to the artist, it is more than 40 inches in length and weighs in at a hefty 98 pounds!  

Upcycled hardware scorpion

Handmade scorpion While browsing Etsy again, I found this Upcycled scorpion sculpture made from various nails, washers, and other hardware items. It shows that what your junk drawer can produced with the right amount of imagination.
 

Materials for Sculptors

 

Source your art materials

 

If your a sculptor, you are always looking for a better source of raw materials to make your creations from. This lens is about materials for sculptors and it will help you get started. Whether you make art out of metal, wood, stone or all of the above, you will be sure to at least appreciate the information given here.

Materials of all kinds are rapidly increasing in cost so it behooves the frugal artist to find the most cost affective way to create. For metals, there are cuttoffs and drops, for stone there are broken off pieces, and free lumber is readily available.

 

Steel

Mild Steel Strong, flexible, inexpensive and readily available, it is no wonder that steel is a major construction material. To add to its utility,there are huge numbers of alloys for different uses. Some tool steels are very hard and strong. In fact you may use steel saw blades to cut steel!

For most sculpture uses, mild steel fits the bill in most cases. It is one of the cheapest, widely available steel alloy. It can easily be cut, grinded, drilled, and welded. The best way to source this material is to find a local steel house that caters to the public. Many of these places have a cuttoff, or “drops” that they sell for less than $1 per pound.

Mild steel can be found in tube, round rod, square rod, ractanglur tube, sheet, plate, perforated sheet and expanded metal.

 

Stainless steel

stainless steel Stainless steel is likely the material your kitchen sink is made of. It is a hard and durable alloy that resist corrosion very well. The combination of these properties and the fact it takes a most impressive shine, make stainless steel invaluable to sculptors. For weldability the widely available 304 alloy is best.
 

Copper

Copper Sheet Copper was probably one of the first metals discovered by man. It is soft, easily formed, and somewhat resistant to corrosion. When copper does rust, or patina, it is covered by a beautiful sea foam green carbonate that prevents further deteriioration of the copper metal. There are other chemically produced patinas in a whole range of greens, blues, browns, reds, and black available as well.

 

Stone

granite Granite, marble, and cement can be used for sculpture. Granite is used for countertops. It can be quite expensive, but if you know a granite contractor, you may be able to get left overs or broken pieces for free or very low cost. Also websites like freecycle and craigslist may prove useful for granite or marble. Still there are may be another avenue if you live near a major city. Many large cities have a place that accepts lightly used and second hand building materials. They can have anthing from, toilets, marble, granite, screws, glass, drywall, paint etc.
 

Plaster

type=text Usually used as the mineral hydrocal, plaster is a verstatile medium for sculptors. It can be cast, carved and painted. Sometimes, like in this sculpture featured in the photo, the simple white finish of the plaster adds an air of sophistication to the abstract organic form represented in this piece.
 

Wood

lumber
 
Most houses and apartments are made of it, it is lighter than metal and stone, and with the right preparation, will last a long time. It can be cut in various ways, drilled, routed, and glued,

In many cases, lumber can be had for free. Many times, a property management company will hire a contractor to do some rebuilding jobs. The contractor will bill the property management company for lumber purchased and , in many cases, will discard left over lumber in dumpsters. It is a good idea to keep your eyes open when renovations are made to apartments or condiminiums. Sometimes free lumber can be found on craiglist or freecycle