RG-45 copper coated rod 1/8"
Can of spray adhesive (or) double sided carpet tape
Yarn or string
Adhesive backed foil
Bendable wire to help visualize shape
Glue to secure yarn ends (I use E-6000)
Dremel cutoff disks
Spot welder (MIG, TIG, Arc)
Step 1: What Is It You Want to Make?
To start a string or yarn sculpture, you have to first come up with a shape that allows for continuous wraps that don't intersect. Otherwise, wraps can get complicated. I generally choose sweeping, flowing kinds of shapes. They can be just about anything your imagination can come up with, like "Glamour Girl."
I generally use a length of rebar tie wire to get ideas for interesting shapes. Once you land on a shape that works for you, then mimic that shape using the 1/8" RG-45 rod as shown in the photo. It's important to prebend the shapes close to where they will lay before welding. This will take the tension out of the metal. When ready to weld, be sure to support both sides of the weldments to prevent sagging when the metal heats up.
Step 2: Foil Wrapping
Lay the adhesive backed foil onto the contours as flat as you can without crinkling. Cut around the frame so that enough foil sticks out to ensure a full wrap around the rod. Do both sides to completely encase the areas to be wrapped in string or yarn.
In this sculpture, notice that I added a head. It was made from folded over thin strip of sheet steel that was then brass coated along with what would become the arms of the sculpture.
Notice in the closeup photo the notches on both ends of the frame. These were done with the Dremel drill and cutoff wheels. This is where to lock in the start of the yarn.
Step 3: Wrapping the String or Yarn
Before you can start wrapping the string or yarn you have to prepare the surface with something the yarn will stick to. You can do this in either of two ways.
- Spray the foil covered surfaces with adhesive spray.
- Cover the foil surfaces with double sided carpet tape (outdoor type is the stickiest)
Start by tying a figure eight knot in one end and lay the string or yarn in the precut groove. Put a spot of glue under the knot and pull it until lightly seated until it stops. .From here, it's just a matter of continuously wrapping the string or yarn.
Here's a secret. Pull tightly on the inside curves and settle the yarn softly on the outside curves. The yarn will gather on the inside of the curves. A tighter pull on the yarn makes it a tiny bit thinner, so it takes up less space.
Step 4: The Finishing Touches
To make the hair, I just let out a bunch of MIG wire run off the spool and then cut it into four inch lengths. I welded the ends of the MIG cluster together and braize welded it to the top of Glamour Girl's head. The top of her head are more wraps held in place until the E-6000 glue set up.
Step 5: Other Things With Welded Metal and String Art
Here's a video showing part of the process of making Glamour Girl.
Because you coat the foil with adhesive, you can do inside contours with belly shapes as well.
Go nuts with your own Welded metal and String Art!