Step 1: Intro
Step 2: Sketches and Prototypes
Step 3: Final Design in Adobe Illustrator
Here're the files in DXF format, normal-orientation Illustrator and packed onto a sheet. You can get a free fully-working 30-day trial of Illustrator from Adobe's website, and the latest version includes the ability to export to DXF format.
Step 4: Choose a Material
I wound up purchasing two sheets of brass, both from Anvilfire (OnlineMetals.com). The first sheet was 20 gauge (0.032" thick), but after I got it I was afraid would look too thin, so I purchased a second sheet of 14 gauge (0.063"). It turns out the thiner sheet would have worked just fine, but as you'll see shortly I'm very glad I had a backup sheet! The 14 gauge came to $136 for a 22" x 33" sheet.
Step 5: Protecting Against Dust
Step 6: Cutting the Pieces
Luckily, sometimes two wrongs do make a right. Just in case something like this happened, I had brought along the original brass sheet that I decided was too thin. It was a different size so I couldn't fit all four pieces on it, but I was able to cut the first three no problem. And it turns out the difference in thickness is hardly noticeable at all, so all worked out.
Step 7: Mounting
First I found the balance point on each piece that would cause it to hang at the desired angle. Then I used two brass washers and some thin brass wire to make a wire hanger for each piece. I looped the wire back and forth alternately through the center of each washer, leaving a couple inches between them. Then I twisted the loops to form a single stranded wire. Finally, I glued the washers to the back of each of the three pieces such that the center of the wire was at the center of gravity I'd located earlier. JB Weld works well as a metal-to-metal adhesive, and is available at most hardware stores.
Then I installed EZ Anchors (available at most hardware stores) into the drywall at the appropriate position, and inserted long #8 brass screws into the anchors such that they poked out at the depth I wanted. Then I just hung each piece like I'd hang a painting, and could adjust a little along their wire hangers to make sure they were all positioned at the right angle.
As I mentioned above, the smallest piece didn't have an appropriate place to attach a hanger, but luckily it was both light and intended to be flush with the wall anyway. After briefly experimenting with gluing nails directly to the back of the piece (didn't stick â€” the heads of the nails didn't have enough surface area) I just stuck two normal sewing pins into the wall so and set the piece on top of them (barely visible in the rightmost picture, above). Then I cut the head of the pin and bent it slightly to make the piece more secure.