Credit for this idea goes to an unknown metal artist I saw at the 2009 Rochester Lilac Festival. Drop by next year and see if you can find him.
And if you don't mind, please rate this Instructable and leave me some critical feedback!
Step 1: What You'll Need
1.Silverware- For this flower, you'll need 8 large soup spoons, and 2 forks. It's easy to pick up used silverware at minimal cost at garage sales, commission shops or auctions. The thicker and heavier, the better. Just make sure your flatware is stainless steel, and not your mom's long lost heirloom silver collection. Silver is worth far more in whole form, and it won't weld properly anyways!
2. Ladle Scoop- You'll need one stainless ladle scoop, either from a broken ladle, or perhaps liberated from a used utensil. A similarly sized stainless steel cup or bowl could work as well.
2. Metal Rod- Any sort of steel scrap you have laying around will work- or you can buy 1/2" steel re-bar at most hardware stores.
My costs for this project have hovered around $3 for the silverware and steel rod.
1. Welder- I use a home-built microwave in the true DIY spirit, but MIG or TIG would be much more precise. The design of the flower could be adapted to use a spot welder too. By the way, this project is a great excuse to build a welder! See the links below.
2. Weld Rods- I cannot justify the cost of stainless weld rods on a project that should only cost
$3-5, so I used some 3/32" 6013 mild steel weld rods I had lying around. They do not do a beautiful job, but most of the welds are hidden. I would recommend using a similar cheap, mild steel weld rod for cost reasons, but you can use whatever you want!
3. Clamps- At minimum, you'll need a clamp or two to hold things in place while you weld. Some vie-grip clamps would be ideal. As you'll see, I found it easier to use some large steel pieces to hold the spoons in place. Bottom line, use what you've got.
4. Hacksaw- to cut the silverware.
Step 2: Cut the Spoons
Arrange a pair of spoons opposite each other under the ladle, so that there is some length of handle outside the ladle edge. We'll need this later in order to bend the spoons. Then, lift the ladle and mark across the center of the spoons. Go ahead and mark the rest of the spoons to the same length.
Using the hacksaw, cut all the handles off at the place you've marked.
Step 3: Weld the Spoons
Take two of the spoons, and butt their cut ends together. Using clamps, or something heavy, fix the spoons in place. Weld the pair together. Repeat this for all the spoons, forming four welding pairs.
Next, using the same fixturing method, weld each pair together in the center. Weld each pair on individually, arranging them evenly to create the flower petals.
Step 4: Assemble the Flower
Next, place the ladle into the cup formed by the spoons. You may need to adjust your bends so that it fits in properly. Place the flower facing up, and tack the edge of the ladle in place with one of the spoons. This step can be difficult, since you're welding thin stainless with a not-so-precise arc welder.
I've found the easiest way to do this is to weld to the thickest spoon handle you've got, weld on the outside of the ladle, and make sure that the spoon you're welding to is well supported. Otherwise, you may end up cutting off the spoon altogether. While you can always weld it back on, it's frustrating.
Don't bother tacking the ladle in more than one place- if you get it tacked well in one spot, it'll hold fine and help conceal the welds better.
Step 5: Add the Stem, Leaves
Leaves are the final touch. Clamp the forks onto the rod wherever you like. Tack the forks on, then bend the forks outward so they resemble some sort of garbage can foliage.
In order to preserve the non-stainless steel parts a little better from rust, you can spray down the stem and underside of the flower with some clear coat acrylic spray paint.
All done! Go plant your masterpiece in your garden or give it away as gift- people love these.
And remember, this is art- experiment and create new hybrids! (And monsters...)