The Art Of Metalworking: How To Create Stunning Sculptures From Metal

Metalworking is an art form that dates back to the earliest civilizations. It involves shaping metal with tools and techniques like forging, casting and lost wax casting. You can use this skill to create stunning sculptures, jewelry and other decorative objects. 

The following article will help you get started with metalworking!

Mike’s Makers: Turning scrap metal into art
Metalworking is a fascinating and rewarding art form that requires skill, patience, and creativity.
Sculpture can be made from a wide variety of metals, each with its own unique properties and characteristics.
Techniques such as welding, casting, and forging can be used to create stunning metal sculptures and structures.
Metalworking is a complex and demanding discipline, but with time and practice, artists can create amazing works of art from metal.
Whether you’re an aspiring metalworker or simply interested in learning more about sculpture, there are many resources available to help you get started.

Chasing And Repoussé

Chasing is the process of removing material from a sheet of metal to create a raised design. The word “chasing” refers to chasing after your design as you work, which is why it’s also known as chasing the metal. 

The term “repoussé,” on the other hand, refers to adding metal where you don’t want it in order to create a recessed design or pattern (think bas-relief). Repoussé can be done by pushing (pushing out) or pulling (pulling in).

A great way to understand these two processes is through an analogy: if chasing is like sculpting with clay, repoussé would be like carving stone into lovely statues!

Stone sculpting is a challenging and fascinating discipline that requires skill and patience. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our guide on stone sculpting techniques and inspiration for carving marble and granite to discover the tools and techniques used by expert artists in the field.

Sheet Metal Work

Sheet metal work is the process of working with flat sheets of metal, usually in the form of a sheet or strip. The resulting objects can be used for various purposes; decorative objects such as jewelry and sculpture; artworks; engineering components in architecture and construction.

The most common type of sheet metal work involves cutting, bending and forming flat sheets into three-dimensional objects. This can be done by hand or machine methods that use dies to bend or cut the material into shape.

Silver Working

Silver is an excellent metal for making jewelry and sculptures, as it’s ductile, malleable and can be worked with tools. 

It also has some useful properties that make it a good choice for working with: silver is a good conductor of heat and electricity. 

The metal can be melted down and cast into molds, soldered to other metals (although this requires special equipment), hammered into shape or even plated with another metal such as gold or copper.

Abstract sculpture is a vibrant and exciting art form that invites interpretation and contemplation. Want to learn more? Check out our article on the beauty of abstract sculpture: exploring the depths of non-representational art to discover the history, techniques, and aesthetics of this fascinating field.

Lost Wax Casting

Lost wax casting is a great way to create sculptures. In this technique, you’ll make a mold out of wax. Then, you’ll make a model out of clay or another material. 

Next, you’ll fill the mold with plaster and allow it to dry overnight before repeating the process again and again until you have enough plaster inside the mold. 

You can then melt away all the wax that was used to build your model by heating it up in an oven at high temperatures (usually 200 degrees Celsius). 

The remaining plaster will harden into its final shape once cooled down, leaving only an empty space where your original model was originally made from clay!

This is where we come into play: We provide our customers with beautiful blueprints for lost wax casting projects delivered through email which provides them all they need without having any knowledge on how these things work together like magic.

ProcessMaking a mold out of wax, then filling it with metal
MaterialsWax, clay, plaster, silicone, investment powder, metal alloys
Model making toolsChavant NSP, Monster Clay, Sculpey, Castilene, and more
Mold making toolsEnvironMolds, Smooth-On, Alumilite, and more
Casting toolsCrucibles, flasks, tongs, burnout furnaces, centrifugal casting kits
ApplicationsJewelry making, sculpture making, custom metal parts
MetalsBronze, brass, aluminum, silver, and gold alloys

Note: Chavant NSP, Monster Clay, Sculpey, and Castilene are brand names of modeling clays that are commonly used in sculpting. EnvironMolds, Smooth-On, and Alumilite are brand names of mold-making materials.

Sculpture Welding

Welding is the process of joining two pieces of metal together by melting them and fusing them together. The process of welding and soldering are not the same. 

Welding is usually done with a flame, and involves melting the edges of two pieces to be joined, then pressing them together to form a bond. 

Soldering involves heating one piece until it melts into another piece; after cooling, this forms a permanent joint.

There are several different types of welding: gas welding (with acetylene or natural gas), arc-welding (with an electric arc), resistance welding (also known as spot or stick), friction-stirring and braze-welding. 

You can use any type you like once you get some practice under your belt! These techniques all involve using heat to melt metal at its surface so that it forms a bond with other metals nearby. 

You can also use these techniques to add decorative details onto your sculptures without changing their overall shape too much – just look out for those sharp edges!

Lost wax casting is a complex and intricate process that allows artists to create stunning sculptures in a variety of materials. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our guide on from clay to bronze: a step-by-step guide to lost wax casting to discover the history and techniques of this ancient art form.

Forging And Blacksmithing

Forging is the art of shaping metal by heating it and hammering it while it is hot. Forging is used to make tools and weapons, and also to create decorative objects such as jewelry or sculpture.

The process of forging metal involves heating the object to be worked on in a forge or fire. Once it becomes hot enough, you can then shape it by hammering on an anvil (a hard block of steel). 

This technique results in an object that is much stronger than its original form due to the redistribution of internal stresses within its material caused by heating and cooling cycles during forging.

If you want your pieces to look realistic, remember that they need texture! Use small divots or marks made with a chisel in order for them not only look like metal but feel like metal too – perfect for those who want something more realistic than just having some smooth surfaces.”

ProcessDeformation of metal under heat and force
MaterialsSteel, iron, copper, aluminum, alloys
Tools and EquipmentAnvils, hammers, tongs, chisels, swages, forges, power hammers, presses
TechniquesDrawing out, upsetting, bending, twisting, punching, drifting, scrolling
ApplicationsKnife making, tool making, decorative objects, architectural elements
Forging BrandsPeddinghaus, Emerson, Ridgid-Peddinghaus, Grizzly, and more
Blacksmithing BrandsJET, Pro-Tools, Coal Ironworks, Pieh Tool, and more

Note: Peddinghaus, Emerson, Ridgid-Peddinghaus, Grizzly, and JET are brand names of tools and equipment used in forging and blacksmithing. Pro-Tools, Coal Ironworks, and Pieh Tool are brands that specialize in blacksmithing tools and equipment.


Niello is a black alloy of silver, copper and sulphur. It was also used to make jewelry and other decorative items. 

The word niello comes from the Italian word for black, which was also used to describe the color of this material (as opposed to giallo).

Niello is an ancient art form that traces its origins back as far as Ancient Egypt. There are examples of niello work that date back to 2000 BC! 

Today, it is still used today in jewelry making and not just because it’s pretty cool-looking; there are other practical reasons why you’d want your jewelry made with niello:

  • It protects against corrosion
  • It stands up well against wear and tear

Sculpture is a rewarding and fulfilling art form that can be practiced with basic tools and materials. If you’re interested in creating your own sculptures on a budget, check out our guide on sculpture on a budget: how to create amazing pieces with basic tools to discover tips, tricks, and techniques for making beautiful sculptures with simple materials.

Pressed Metal Sculpture

Pressed metal sculpture is a technique that can be used to create sculptures and jewelry. It’s also great for reusing old scraps of metal, and it makes a fun craft project.

If you’re interested in making an original piece of pressed metal art, here’s how to get started:

Find some scrap pieces or components that you want to work with. You’ll need a hammer, an anvil (or other hard surface), and something soft like wood or rubber that will protect your work surface from damage.

Lay out your pieces on the surface where you’ll be working so that they’re all facing up in the same direction—you don’t want them flipped over when you start hammering! Try not to use too many different types of materials; if possible just use one type of metal at a time so they all have similar properties during pressing time (this isn’t necessary but can help keep things consistent).


Electroplating is a process in which a thin layer of metal is deposited onto an object. It’s done through electrolysis, which involves the use of electricity to separate ions from a solution containing them. 

When this happens, they’re attracted to the negative or positive electrode that is placed in the solution. 

The object being plated with this process should be dipped into a solution that contains the metal you want your final product to have (e.g., copper).

ProcessDeposition of a thin layer of metal onto an object
MethodElectrolysis using direct current (DC)
SolutionsAqueous or non-aqueous solutions
Electroplating kitsCaswell Plating, Rio Grande, Gesswein, and more
ApplicationsCorrosion resistance, wear resistance, decoration, repair
Common metalsChromium, copper, gold, nickel, silver, tin, and zinc

Note: Electroplating kits refer to starter kits or beginner kits to start the electroplating process at home or small scale.

Enamels For Metalwork Sculpture

Enamels are an extremely versatile material that can be used to create very different effects. The most common types of enamel are vitreous and fusion, but there are also some less common varieties like resin, glass, and ceramic. 

There is a difference between vitreous enamel and fusion depending on how the material is fired. Vitreous enamel involves firing in an oxidizing atmosphere while fusion involves firing in a reducing atmosphere.

When it comes to creating your own metalwork sculpture with enamels, you’ll need to make sure you’re using the right tools for the job! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A container for mixing powders (like a plastic bowl)
  • A brush or other type of applicator (make sure not too big so it doesn’t drip)

Sculpture has a long and fascinating history that encompasses many different styles, materials, and cultures. If you’re interested in learning more about this diverse and dynamic art form, check out our article on the evolution of sculpture: from ancient to modern to discover the major movements, artists, and techniques that have shaped sculpture over the centuries.


I hope that this article has given you a little insight into the world of metal work and how it differs from other types of art. 

Metalwork combines many different techniques in order to create stunning sculptures and jewelry, so there’s something for everyone here.

If you’re interested in starting your own journey into the world of metalwork sculpture then why not start by taking one of our classes? 

We offer everything from introductory classes through to advanced ones depending on what level of knowledge you want to gain before starting on your own projects at home!

Further Reading

Here are a few additional resources for anyone interested in learning more about the art of metalworking and metal sculpture:

Online Metals: Metal Art & Welding Guide: A comprehensive guide to metalworking and welding for artists and hobbyists, with helpful tips, tutorials, and project ideas.

Garage Hobbyist: Scrap Metal Art: A blog post that explores the world of scrap metal art, with examples of stunning sculptures made from salvaged materials.

The Fabricator: Putting Together a Career as a Metal Sculptor, One Piece at a Time: An interview with metal sculptor Kira Campbell, who shares her insights and advice for aspiring artists.


Here are some frequently asked questions about metalworking and metal sculpture:

What materials are typically used in metal sculpture?

Metal sculptures can be made from a wide variety of materials, including steel, bronze, aluminum, copper, and iron. Some artists also incorporate other materials, such as wood, stone, or glass, into their sculptures for a mixed-media effect.

What tools are required for metal sculpture?

The tools required for metal sculpture will depend on the artist’s specific techniques and approach. Some common tools include welding equipment, grinders, chisels, hammers, and files. Other specialized tools, such as plasma cutters or metal shears, may also be used.

Is welding the only way to create metal sculptures?

No, welding is not the only way to create metal sculptures. While welding is a popular technique for joining pieces of metal together, other methods such as brazing, soldering, riveting, or even using mechanical fasteners can also be used.

Do I need formal training to become a metal sculptor?

While some artists do receive formal training or attend art school in order to become metal sculptors, it’s not always necessary. Many successful metal sculptors are self-taught or learn through apprenticeships, workshops, or online tutorials. Ultimately, dedication, creativity, and practice are the most important factors in developing as an artist.

Where can I see examples of metal sculpture?

Metal sculptures can be found in a variety of settings, including galleries, museums, public parks, and private collections. Many artists also showcase their work online, through their own websites or social media platforms, or through online galleries and marketplaces.