How to Make a Metal Fish Sculpture

Cut, weld and spray paint metal to create this whimsical fish sculpture.
hclvr222_1final

hclvr222_1final

Materials and Tools:

16-gauge sheet metal
1" wide strap metal
1/8" wire
spray paint in various colors
clear coat sealer
plasma torch
acetylene torch
MIG welder
hand grinders
several sets of pliers
hammers
eye protection
welding gloves
permanent marker
vise
white glue
half round jewels for eyes
newsprint
painter's tape

Steps:

  1. Draw three fish shapes on a sheet of metal with a permanent marker. 
  2. Cut the fish out with a plasma torch.
  3. Grind smooth all the sharp edges with a grinder.
  4. Cut three lengths of 1-inch strap material for seaweed.
  5. Create pointy straps with a torch and then grind smooth. 
  6. Put each piece of seaweed in a vise and twist into artistic shapes using pliers.
  7. Lay out the seaweed and fish on a table in desired positions.
  8. Weld the seaweed together.
  9. Contour the fish with a large rubber hammer and vise. Pound the metal until it is curved and bent to the desired shape. This will give dimension to the fish.
  10. While cooling, paint the seaweed with glossy black spray paint.
  11. When the seaweed is dry, place the fish in the original layout position.
  12. Tack weld the fish into place on the seaweed.
  13. Add a hanger to the back of the seaweed. Let cool. 
  14. Place newsprint paper and tape around the seaweed to protect it from paint overspray.
  15. Spray paint fish in lively colors.
  16. Add detail to the fish, including gills, mouth and fin lines with a permanent marker.
  17. Let dry and spot paint the seaweed as necessary.
  18. Glue one-half round jewel to each fish for eyes using white glue. Weld two rods to the back of each fish a few inches apart to attach later to the seaweed.
  19. Clear coat all parts and let dry.
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