Once a craft practiced only in factories, welding has become a respected form of art, thanks to artists like Alexander Calder. Welding is now taught as a class is many high school, college and graduate-level art programs. Even outside of schools, community classes are available to teach people of any age the beauty of welding as art.
Welding is a fun way to create one-of-a-kind, custom pieces of art to hang around your home or give away as gifts. Want to get started creating your own welded works of art? Here’s how:
Choose a space to work. Unlike some forms of art like painting or drawing, welding definitely requires its own special space. You need to have a safe, spacious and fairly empty room in which to weld. A wide-open area with just a few worktables, good ventilation and concrete flooring is ideal. If you don’t have access to a welding studio, a garage or basement with cement floors can work. If you work in the basement, be sure that you have good ventilation. Clear the space of all clutter, especially any items that may be flammable.
Gather your welding supplies. If you don’t have access to a welding studio, you’ll have to stock your own studio from scratch. If you’re new to welding, you can expect to spend $400+ on welding supplies and equipment. To get started, you’ll need everything from a torch kit, to cylinders for oxygen and fuel to safety supplies, regulators and more. You can purchase a welding starter kit or put together all the supplies on your own.
Don’t neglect safety. When you’re welding, especially as a first-timer or fairly inexperienced welder, it’s very important to put safety first. The sparks produced by welding are so bright, that they can blind you with prolonged, direct exposure. Always wear protective goggles or a helmet with a shield when welding. Don’t skimp on the eye protection. All lenses and helmet shields should be effective at guarding against radiant energy. You’ll also need a safety jacket or apron made of leather or other non-flammable material. Wear flame-resistant clothing like denim and heavy leather work boots. Invest in heavy-duty welding gloves to protect your hands and secure all loose hair and clothing before getting started.
Find your inspiration. Even after you have all of your supplies, getting started can still be the hardest part. You can research artists like Calder to learn more about the history of welding as an art form and to get ideas. You can also check your favorite home design, art and DIY blogs to find ideas to make functional and decorative pieces for your home. Pinterest and Tumblr are great places to search for inspiration.
Keep an eye on your equipment and perform regular maintenance. Once you’ve started using your welding equipment more often, you have to be sure that you keep up with the maintenance. Order welder replacement parts for lost, broken or worn pieces. Pay special attention to your safety equipment, too. If it’s worn or damaged, you could be at risk for injury.
With good maintenance and reliable parts, you’ll have a safe and functional welding studio to use for years to come.
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