Steel Chequer Plate Garden Vase





Introduction: Steel Chequer Plate Garden Vase

About: To see more of my work you are welcome to follow me on Instagram @cam_de_burgh
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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    11 Discussions


    I may be overlooking something, but how thick is the steel plate? You say "bend as you go". Is it hard to bend the metal? Where did you buy the steel plate?

    1 reply

    I think the steel I used for this one was about 2mm thick. It wasn't particularly easy to bend. I just did it in stages - bend a little bit and weld, bend some more and weld again and so on.
    I just use whatever material I can find, so I can't be too fussy.

    That's impressive!

    I'm looking forward to some proper ("step-by-step") Instructables of the other shapes.

    With it standing on the gatepost like that, have you done anything to stop it being stolen?

    3 replies

    Hi Kiteman,
    Here is the step-by-step as suggested...


    Hi Kiteman. I've made an instructable for a chequer plate money box that you might like. It's a bit easier than this vase, but similar idea.

    Thanks Kiteman. There will definitely be a step-by-step Instructable next time I make something like this.
    As for the theft risk; I only had it on the post for the photo. It looked OK but it would need a partner for the other post. If I decide to mount it there permanently it would be pretty easy to weld some lugs to the base and dynabolt it to the post.

    The material and the design remind me of the explanation Burgess gave for "Clockwork Orange". A combo of organic and inorganic. Super bitchin'.

    Love the interpretation of a delicate vase in diamond (checker) plate- porcelain in a steel mill- industrial flower vase- heading toward Steampunk interior design...