Introduction: Steel Chequer Plate Garden Vase

About: I am a massive fan of the Instructables community, but these days I spend more time sculpting than Instructabling. See my art work on Instagram @de_burgh_steel
When I was a small child I loved a beautiful little ceramic vase my mother had. It was a delicate four-sided thing with a simple floral motif. No bigger than your hand. I guess that the magic of it was in its proportions, but I'm still amazed by the simplicity of its design.

Recently, while visiting my mother I happened to see my favorite little vase again, and was again struck by its beauty and simplicity. It occurred to me that I might be able to hijack some of that simple design and create something of my own.

Now, I'm no potter or sculptor of delicate and fragile objects, but I do have a pile of scrap steel, grinders, a MIG welder, an anvil, a selection of hammers, big calloused hands, and almost no patience, so my interpretation of my mother's little vase bears zero resemblance to the original, and really belongs in the garden; not in the china cabinet. However, I am quite happy with the way it turned out, and if you like it too; please have a crack at making one too. Here's how...
  1. Sketch what you think might be a good shape onto paper or card. Just remember the proportions will change as the plate is curved.
  2. Cut out that shape four times from what ever reasonably bendable steel plate you can find. I used chequer plate because I had some, and it has a cool texture.
  3. Weld the four cut out plates together bending them as you go so the edges touch. This probably won't be easy and might cost some blood and sweat, but as my dad used to say: "You haven't done a day's work until you've lost some bark!".
  4. Cut out a square for the bottom and weld it in place.
  5. If you're a rough welder like me you might need to grind the welds so they look a bit neat.
  6. You might like to finish the vase with a hit with a wire brush like I did, or paint it, or any finish you like.
  7. Stand back and admire your work. You Legend!
Since making this big outdoor vase I have experimented with other shapes and sizes and different types of plate. I've had some great results with hexagonal objects, and even triangular, but they are for another Instructable.

I'm sorry that the pictures only show my completed vase. I didn't know about Instructables when I made this.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them and I will do my best to answer them.

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