I did something I have never done before: I brought scrap home from the scrap yard and made it into something pretty.
I know, you’re supposed to come home with an EMPTY trailer. But it’s OK to break the rules every now and then, right? It IS, especially when it could be profitable.
The scrap yard is where I take the stuff that’s left after making pretty things, like the little bits of tin left of the sheets of barn roofing after cutting out hearts, stars, roosters, letters and whatnots. Or stuff that I can’t make into other things, like super heavy pipe, old creep feeders, bits of aluminum and brass, and froze up electric motors.
So, it’s hard for me to see really neat stuff that I KNOW still has life in it, tossed away in the mountains at the scrap yard, waiting to be shredded and melted down.
I had never attempted to resurrect anything from the scrap yard until recently, when I watched the machines unload a pretty piece of decorative iron and throw it on the scrap pile. Here’s the photographic evidence:
I’m not sure what this piece was, originally…maybe a piece of a fence, or the top piece off of a headboard. Whatever. It doesn’t matter now. Why? Because it’s pretty! And alllll mine.
After we got home from the scrap yard, I had Creek take it out of the truck and put it in front of the junk shed, where it lay for a week or two, then one day, I went out to cut some metal stuff out for the Tulsa junk show, and became distracted by the pretty hunk of metal from the scrap yard.
My pile of beautiful rusty barn roof tin is out in front of the junk shed as well. I was carrying a piece of it inside to cut out hearts and pigs and roosters, and had to step over the graveyard treasure (because as she is wont to do, Creek laid it right in the middle of my path to the doorway), when inspiration hit me (as it is wont to do, right in the middle of working on something else), and suddenly there I was, simultaneously wrestling a 10-foot sheet of tin and a 4-foot piece of decorative iron onto my workbench together.
I used the rescued rubbish as a pattern to cut pretty filigree pieces of rusty tin. The first one, I just laid the trash piece on top of the tin horizontally and traced around it.
It turned out pretty! But I felt like I could do better, so I tried turning the pattern 90 degrees on the tin to make a taller, skinnier chathedral window-style piece.
I liked this one even better. I had to get creative with the peak of the window. As you can see in the first piece, the original pattern is rounded at the top, not pointed. So I had to turn the pattern and lay it strategically at the top of the cathedral piece and fill in the pointed top with cutouts. The very top cutout, I freehanded with no pattern to follow.
I stewed on these pieces for a few days, then tried an even bigger piece. I laid the pattern on the tin like I did with the cathedral window, stayed true to the round top, then I flipped it and mirrored it to make a larger oval-shaped symmetrical piece that is about 4 feet long and 27 inches tall.
I LOVE THIS! It would be SO pretty on a wall above a mantle or over a bed. It’s large enough to be a focal point in a room. It would be especially beautiful mounted on weathered wood, and would be AMAZING on a garden fence or wall with a vine growing on it. I think I’ll make more for the spring shows that are approaching!
This whole story is a fine example of turning trash into treasure. While I felt squeamish about putting that piece of metal into my truck at the scrap yard, the pride I feel at having used it to make these beauties is undeniable, and I have zero regrets at having drug it home!
I sold the cathedral window piece at the Tulsa show for $30, so now it is also undeniable that it was a profitable pilfer!
I hope this inspires you to step outside your comfort zone in your creative journey… Break the rules. Be wild. Create!
I use my plasma cutter every week to create products. Learn more about using plasma cutters and welders! Some of the links below are affiliate links, which help me cover the cost of my website.
Here’s my video on plasma cutters and basic usage: https://youtu.be/_HFFOlhcvr8
I also have a shorter video on cutting trees out of metal saws: https://youtu.be/ZyQ3uIzhQJg
This is my plasma cutter, the Hypertherm Powermax 30 Air. Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/31ocdUo
This book is great for learning more about plasma cutting basics, and features Hypertherm machines. Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/2Uog2aJ