Introduction: Metal Art Photo

This Instructable shows you how to take a favorite photo or image and convert it to a large metal art hanging that can be used to decorate a wall, or used as a stencil to reproduce the image.

Step 1: Step 1: Find a Photo or Image

The first step is to find a photo you want to use for your metal art. 

Things You Will Need:

-Large sheet of aluminum 0 .090" - 0.2" thick
-Editing software (I use Gimp, it's free!)
-Vector graphics editing software (I used Inkscape...again it's free!)
-Locate someone who can provide CNC waterjet or plasma cutting services.  Many local machine shops offer this service.

Step 2: Step 2: Convert Image to a Stencil

Here's a good youtube tutorial for converting images to stencils.  The white parts are the parts you'll be cutting out so make sure all the black features are connected.

Step 3: Step 3: Convert to .dxf File

To get the stencil cut out of metal using CNC equipment, you'll need the image converted to a .dxf file.  This creates the path the tool will follow when cutting out the image.  To do this, open your stencil image using Inkscape and save-as: .dxf file.

Step 4: Step 4: Have the Image Cut!

Once you locate someone who provides CNC cutting services; e-mail them the .dxf file of your image.  The image of my kids I show in this Instructable was cut from a 24" x 36" sheet of .090" aluminum.  It only took 18 minutes of cutting time using an abrasive water jet.  A machine shop might charge up to $80/hr for cutting so you can expect to spend ~$20 to have your image cut.

After it's cut, sand the showing surface, spray with primer and spray paint a dark color.  When the metal art is held against a light colored wall the image can be seen clearly!

Step 5: Optional Step 5: Image Transfer

You can also use your metal art as a stencil to recreate the image.  Find a dark surface to create the image on.  Hold the metal stencil over it and spray with a light color spray paint.  I recreated the image on a piece of stretched canvas that I painted black with acrylic paint and used three coats of white spray paint to create the image on canvas.

Have fun!


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