Bolts – A Scrap Metal Art Piece


In the process of transforming used and forgotten into new and repurposed, my project  “Bolts” stands as a creative exploration within the realm of Scrap Metal art. This report documents the conception and creation of a sculpture crafted from metal pieces once deemed obsolete or unused, with a commitment to sustainability and artistic expression.

Inspiration and Design Adaptations:

The rich history of Scrap Metal art, rooted in the early 20th century’s embrace of industrial by-products, served as the foundation for “Bolts”. This piece is a modern-day ode to the ethos of artists like David Smith and Alexander Calder, who saw the potential for beauty in the castoffs of the industrial era. Each component of this sculpture is a deliberate nod to the tradition of creating art from the remnants of progress and utility.

Project Vision and Aesthetic:

The vision for “Bolts” was to blend artistic expression of Scrap Metal art with a cute, relatable dog, with homage to engineering and mechanics. The aesthetic was curated to pay tribute to the raw and weathered textures typical of this art form, mirroring the decay and rebirth of industrial materials. The piece was envisioned to serve not just as art, but as a symbol of transformation—turning the discarded into the treasured.

Fabrication Process:

The creation of Bolts involved some planning and assembly. I began with a few sketches (shown in Figure 1), outlining the basic shape and structure and to give me some ideas to build off of. At first my plan was to create a sculpture of a person doing something using the same materials and then I transitioned into creating a dog for simplicity. The main body was crafted from four large nuts, with bolts forming the limbs. For my prototype, I used a hot glue gun to adhere the parts together (shown in Figure 2) and once I was happy with the look, I used a welder to weld all the components together taking its final form (Figure 3). The tail was fashioned from a reclaimed spring, adding a playful element to the piece. The entire process is documented with a series of photos, showcasing the progression from a collection of parts to a cohesive sculpture.

Figure 1: Example of initial sketches.

Figure 2: Sculpture prototype using hot glue as the adhesive.

Figure 3: Final sculpture after welding.

Final Artifact Description:

“Bolts” stands proudly, each rusted curve and welded joint narrating the past life of the materials. The sculpture’s physique, crafted from an assortment of metals, carries the weight of its origins and the spirit of Scrap Metal art. Its stance is both majestic and humble, a testament to the transformative power of artistic vision.

Functional Goals Comparison:

Functionally, the project was aimed to serve as a decorative piece that could potentially function as a conversation starter or a desk piece. I also had the idea that it could be a decorative piece for plant pots or gardens, where it could just hang out among the plants. It stands stable and serves the intended purpose well.

Artistic Goals Comparison:

The piece has successfully captured the intended aesthetic of Scrap Metal art, displaying the textured, worn appearance characteristic of the genre. While it pays respect to the movement’s roots, it also carries a contemporary edge, reflecting the ongoing evolution of the medium.

Future of the Artifact:

Any more refinement for this piece would be pretty minor. I have thoughts of possibly painting the finished piece, but I think any significant refinement would not be on this piece itself. For the future, I would like to create more little animals to accompany Bolts as a set of decorative pieces. For now, it will remain a proud display piece on my desk, symbolizing the beauty of upcycling.


“Bolts” stands as a personal milestone in my upcycling journey, blending artistic vision with environmental consciousness from being around the machine shop for so long. This project has reinforced my belief in the potential of discarded materials, turning them into art that speaks of both past and future. It stands as a personal tribute to the enduring legacy of Scrap Metal art and

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