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Steel Cheerleader Dress Sculpture

How to make life-sized sculptures out of vintage metal cans - in this this project, a cheerleader dress sculpture.

Project by Donna McCullough from Beltsville, Md.


3 vintage oil cans
metal scraps
plasma cutter
pneumatic metal shears
heavy-duty scissors
pop riveter
safety mask/hood
welding supplies
vinegar and salt


1. Wash cans out. Cut off top and bottom with plasma cutter. Be sure to wear safety mask/hood.

2. Cut side with pneumatic metal shears. Cut out shape for bodice of dress using pattern of your choice.

3. Shape piece of metal into bodice. Use pop rivets to secure bodice.

4. Decide on length of skirt. Cut long strips for skirt. Drill holes through all skirt strips.

5. Hammer rivets through the pieces to attach using an anvil.

6. Check out the design and decide on embellishments for dress.

7. Fashion and attach embellishments (collar, ribbon, etc.).

8. Look around at materials and find objects to make base for dress (farm implements, car parts, pieces of steel).
Cut apart the materials for base with chop saw or tool and dye.

9. Weld pieces together.

10. Fashion an armature (hanger) to hang dress on using more metal and attach to base. Hang dress on base loosely.

11. Add vinegar and salt to the design if it needs more rust.

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