Step 1: Equipment & Materials
- TIG (GTAW) or MIG (GMAW) Welder
- Stationary Belt Sander
- Bead Blasting Cabinet - Optional
- 4 1/2" Angle Grinder with Abrasion/Cutting Wheels
- Bench Grinder - Optional
- Metal Work Bench to Attach Ground Cable
- Bench Vise
- Ball-Peen Hammer
- Vise Grips
- Sheet Metal Sheers
- Dremel Tool with Grinding and Polishing Bits - Optional
- Typical Welding/Fabrication Safety Equipment
- 18, 20, or 22ga Stainless Steel Sheet Metal Scraps
- 1/4" Bar Stock (Round or Square)
- Stainless Steel Filler Rod (for TIG)
- Stainless Steel Electrode Wire (for MIG)
Step 2: Making the Basic Parts
The petal is the main and most notable part of the rose. They are made using a simple ice cream cone shape. You need to make them in increasing sizes because they need to get larger and larger as you go from the center of the rose outward. The number required completely depends on how detailed and how tightly packed you would like to make the rose. I used about thirty petals in my sculpture and made them very tightly packed.
The leaves of the rose are made with a shape that is similar to an ellipse, but with pointier tips along the large axis. The number of leaves required depends on your taste. You can even leave them out of the sculpture if desired
The thorns can easily be made out of left over scraps from making the other rose parts. Any triangular piece scrap metal that is between 1/2" to 1" in length along the hypotenuse will work fine. Once again the number of thorns is completely up to you.
The stem can be made out of any piece of stainless steel that is about 1/4" in diameter. You could use round or square bar stock. Round would be ideal, but square might give the rose a cool look. Square bar stock can easily be sanded or ground to a round profile if need be. I did not have either of the aforementioned materials, so I constructed my stem by TIG welding together 4 pieces of 1/8" welding filler rod. I do not recommend doing this because it is time consuming and requires welding experience to do correctly, however if you have the filler metal, experience, and time at your disposal...knock yourself out! It took me at least 8 hours of shop time to accomplish, but I had the time to burn. One cool result was that it gave my stem a very natural look because of the distortion that resulted from welding the filler rods together.
Step 3: Forming the Petals into the Rose Bloom
Basically, you start by folding two of the smallest sized petal pieces in half so they resemble the shape of a hot dog bun. Then slide the edge of one piece into the center of the other piece and crimp them together in a vise. Now you have your starting point to begin welding. From this point on you have to form each piece so that it 'hugs' around the core that you just started. After you have shaped a petal you can weld one side of it to the core and then if need be, you can bend it to perfectly fit the contour of the core. Once you achieve the desired shape, weld the other side. Then bend the pointed part of the ice cream cone shape inward to form the bottom of the rose bloom, weld it up, and grind smooth. After each pedal is welded onto the core make sure to grind or sand off the weld beads to keep the rose tightly packed. Once you start getting a couple layers away from the core you can begin creating the 'lip' along the top of the petal. This gives the rose an opening effect visually. I won't try to describe in words all the techniques for obtaining all the contours because it would sound confusing. Just use your vise, vise grips, ball peen hammer, and work bench and get creative! By trial and error you will get the hang of how the metal behaves. Just remember that the good thing about working with metal is that you can always fix a mistake and no one will ever know the difference. Remember to alternate locations of the pedals to avoid making the rose look like a spiral. Once you have gotten the rose bloom to your desired size just weld up any gaps in the bottom and sides, grind them clean, and move on to the stem.
Step 4: Making the Stem
To make the stem, take the bar stock, hammer it, and bend it so that it isn't perfectly straight or smooth. This makes it look less like a bar and more closely resembles a real rose stem. Then take the triangular pieces you formed for the thorns and weld them in the desired locations. After they are welded, grind off the weld beads and use the grinder (Or sander, or file, or Dremel tool) and shape the triangle into a pointed thorn. After you have attached and formed all of the thorns, it's time to move on to the leaves. The leaves are formed by bending the ellipse shape along it's long axis into a V. Then bend the edges, so it begins to resemble a pair of wax lips. After that is done, bend the leaves along the center ridge to give them a natural curved shape. This is tricky to do. I did it by putting the piece in a vise (ridge on one side, 'lips' on the other) and hammered it towards the ridge side, opened the vise, slid it up a little, closed the vise, and hammered again. Do this a couple of times and it will have the desired shape. After you have finished the leaves, just weld them on to the stem and grind away the welds.