Stainless Steel Rose From Scrap Metal




This is a rose sculpture I TIG (GTAW) welded at school. It is made from left-over stainless steel scraps that were straight off the shop floor at my school welding shop. I believe this project embodies the topic of this contest in a few ways. The first and most obvious being that it was completely constructed from scrap metal. And not just typical scrap...the scraps in our shop go through a series of re-uses until they reach a size that is no longer easily used in class and is then shipped to the scrap yard for recycling. I made sure to grab the majority of my scraps from the end bin to make sure the scraps had been re-used as much as possible before I began building with them. Secondly, the topic of my piece is a rose which is an embodiment and symbol of nature's beauty. I dedicated roughly 55 hours of shop time to obtain the final product to replicate that beauty as closely as I could. Lastly, the material I used for the project was stainless steel. I did this to give the final piece a certain level of complexity both visual and inherent. It stands as a icon that something as industrial as steel can be used to create one of nature's softest, most stunning symbols. It also shows that this relationship between industry and nature can be renewable and sustainable...hence the "Stainless" aspect of it.

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

It doesn't matter how you shape the metal as long as you can form the basic shapes needed to construct the parts of the rose. I had a full shop at my disposal, so I made my pieces using a hydraulic press to make straight cuts and I used a stationary belt sander to obtain the rounded shapes. However, these tools are not necessary. If you know any body that has a laser engraver/cutter (wink, wink), or a water jet you could draw up the pieces on AutoCAD and get them cut for you. Or if you have a bench grinder and a chop saw with an abrasion blade, you are totally capable of making these simple shapes. If you use a lighter gauge metal, such as 22ga, then sheet metal sheers will be adequate to cut the shapes out of the steel.

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

After the parts have been shaped you can move on to forming them.

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.

Step 5: Finishing

After you have made the rose bloom and the stem (with thorns and leaves), all you have to do is attach them. Just tack weld the tip of the stem onto the center of the bottom of the rose bloom. Stand back from the rose and look at it to make sure you have the stem where you want it. If it looks good, go ahead and weld it up and grind the weld bead off. Viola! You have just made a rose out of scrap metal! You can leave the rose 'as is' if you like or you can clean it up if you wish. For mine, I sand blasted everything except where the rose opens to get a nice clean look. I didn't sandblast the opening of the rose because the steel charred heavily when the rose bloom was very small, but as it became larger and larger it became more able to dissipate the heat and slowly became less charred. It gave the steel and cool look by being dark in the center and it gradually gets lighter and more reddish until it no longer shows any signs of being effected by the heat. Then I polished the thorns, etched my signature onto the underside of a leaf, and proceeded to show it to everybody. I had a great time making it and it is now one of my favorite art pieces. I hope you have the same experience as I did. Enjoy.

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183 Discussions


6 years ago on Introduction

loved your tutorial. here's my version. not quite as refined. i wanted it to be a close replica to a rose i had in the shop. so i folded some of the petals to make the classic point you see the petals making once the rose starts to die. i only have a die grinder and a bend grinder and some pliers and a millermatic 180 220v. i spend probably 15-18 total hours. 23 pieces in the bloom. and various other pieces. i couldnt get my thorns quite as nice as yours though, i plan on using a dremel to shape them next try. thanks again for your awesome tutorial.

2 replies

Reply 1 year ago

Finally! I've actually tracked down the guy who made this beautiful rose!! Please please please could you email me the steps you took to achieve this version of the metal rose. I absolutely adore it


Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Very nice! It definitely has a different look to it. Like you described, It has more of an aged rose that has the petals beginning to curl. I'm glad you liked the instructable. I have made a couple of different types of flowers and I took pictures, so when I find time I will try and post new instructables.


2 years ago

Steel is really magical! From a scrap turned into an artwork-- a masterpiece! Everyone demands for it. There are also artists from the Philippines that's why there are many Steel Supplier in the Philippines.


2 years ago

I am in search of a very solid steel rose for a gift. If you have one for sale please text me 8153017609. Will need it to be shipped and will pay for shipping. Please contact me. Thank you


2 years ago

i like the rose and would like to make some!


2 years ago

I am making this right now in my welding class, any tips or suggestions?


3 years ago on Introduction

I haven't seen such beautiful metal rose before. Such a flawless art. I am definitely going to try it for myself. Will soon post the image.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Hahaha, are those spoons!?! That's pretty cool and really creative. I was looking at the picture and I was about to comment on how smooth you were able to make the contours of the petals, but then it struck me...all of those petals have the exact same shape! My first thought was, "Oh, he made a mold or plug and hammered them into uniform shapes." About a spit second after that thought, my brain made the connection and I knew they were spoons! It looks great. I feel it resembles other flowers more than a rose, but still a cool idea. I really like found art sculptures.


4 years ago on Introduction

This is just beautiful! Great artistry! What program let you do this at school? Who did you give it to?

Sophia Liam |


4 years ago on Step 5

thanks for showing how you did this rose, supper good looking rose, i too have been looking on the 'net to find the how too. I an going to make my 'rose' out of brass shim stock.

I really appreciate your tutorial.


5 years ago on Introduction

What does stainless rose flower made by 316 stainless steel or 304 stainless steel? I have a review the difference between 304 stainless steel and 316 stainless steel. I think it will supply a little knowledge for you. Thanks


5 years ago on Step 5

This helped me so much I have to create a bouquet of these for a project and I had no idea where to begin. I'm more of a mechanic than a welder, but I was just wonder how much would making one cost? I have to buy my own metal and my teacher needs an estimate.


5 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the walkthrough, this was my first real metal working project! I TIG welded this with a Lincoln Electric Precision 275 TIG welder.This was an awesome project to do. I used 24 ga. mild steel for all the petals and leaves. We didn't have any rod around, so i made the stem from turned down allthread. I tried making the prickers out of the 24 ga. but it was too thin to build up properly, so I wound up just beading up welds. Also, instead of using mild steel filler metal I used 304L rod, which actually added a real unique coloring element once I blued it. The base was made out of a piece of 5/8" flat stock. I took a plasma cutter to the sides, to give it the striations. Finished up by a nice bluing and oil bath! Roughly 35-40 hours of throwing misbent pieces, swearing and fun later! Thank you so much, I had a great time doing this!

1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Looks great. You did a very good job of making your petals consistent. That is definitely the hardest part. I'm glad to see it also took you a long time to finish. My first one took forever, but I can do them in less than half the time now!

P.S. Good idea for a simple, weighed base.


6 years ago on Introduction

I have been flipping trough different ways and ideas how to make roses/flowers from steel before. First one I made roughly 10 years ago in school for a "rustic" gate, from mild steel. I'm bummed out though that I didn't have the patience to read all these comments in here, because I would have wanted to steal MIGDHORSE's idea about the curled petals, looks really nice ;)

So here's my 20 cents on the matter of building it:
As I said, I have made steel roses before, from mild steel and 430 stainless. This newest one is made from pure 304L stainless. Biggest difference was, that 430 (and of course mild steel) was alot more easier to cold form, as 304L starts to harden after some amount of hammering and shaping > becomes brittle.

I welded the rose petals together with a TIG, which I borrowed from a friend. Tungsten was already around 1/2" long and last thing i managed to do with it was to attach the stem to the bud. After that it seemed impossible to weld rest of the leaves to the stem, as all of the leaves and petals were made from 0.5mm sheet (I believe its 25 or 26 gauge) and the welding arc got too long which resulted as a big gaping hole and a scorched leaf. So as all the shops were closed had to break out acetylene torch and silver soldered all the leaves etc. in place.

I made the petals just by cutting a bunch of different size rectangulars, and then by using snips just made them closer to the desired shape. Didn't fuzz about the shape much, no outlining etc. because I was sure that I can't form them all to same shape or weld them exactly the same way.

Steel was already polished so I had to choose the tools wisely as I did not want to scratch the steel. The weight of the rose got so out of hand because of the number of petals so I decided to use 2kg piece of Finnish bedrock as a stand.

Took little bit less that 20 hours, just aviator snips, before mentioned welding machines, small tinsman's hammer, plastic hammer, rounded up pliers and my Leatherman Surge.

And i made this for my mothers birthday present :)