Cold Welding: Crown of Bullets
The above crown is a project that began with the painting below. After its completion, I started to wonder if it was possible to create a 3-dimensional representation using the 2-d image as a guide.
Where do you start on a creative endeavor such as this when you don't know how to weld or have access to welding equipment??? COLD WELDING MY FRIENDS!
Quick Breakdown of the Materials:
1-2 Lamp Shades with Metal Frame
3-inch Steel flat Bar with 3/4inch thickness
6 Tapped-Out Bullet
20 gauge Hanging Wire
Professional Grade Molding Latex
Quick Breakdown of the Tools I used:
With bullet casings donated by @happymessART and a Select number of live rounds my friend Crystal tapped out for me, I was able to get started. Remember, SAFETY FIRST FOLKS!
For the base of the crown I used the circular steel flat bar found in an old lamp shade. Not all Lampshades manufactured today use metal rods. But if you can find a cool place like The Scrap Exchange(in Durham, NC) or a Thrift Store, you may be be able to find a "vintage" lamp shade that'll do the trick and for CHEAP!
Tip 1: A viable lamp shade will have several vertical support beams welded around the circumference of the upper(smaller) bar and lower base bar; connecting the two together. This type of lamp shade is ideal because you can separate all of the metal and have some left over for another project.
Tip 2: Use angle grinder and/or Dremel (w/ metal cutting disc) to separate vertical beams from circular bases
For the upper base I used 20 gauge hanging wire I found at Home Depot!. Its sold by 20 ft.
Placing the casing between the base and upper base I bonded each piece with J-B weld.
How to use J-B weld (link here)
note: base is upside in this picture
After the epoxy has had time to cure, I also bonded jump rings around the lower.
Trimming & Polishing Base
24-hrs later I used an angle grinder/cutter to cut away at the access metal that might get in the way of someone wearing the crown and polish downed the frayed edges and access epoxy.
Cutting & Bonding Crown Top to Base
In the meantime, I had the Steel flat bar I bought from Home Depot rolled and the ends welded together to match the circumference of the base. Super Uber thanks to Oscar the Welder and Greyland for taking the time to do this for me! With the middle portion finished I bonded it to complete the base.
After the cure time I cut spaces into the bonded flat bar where the taped-out rounds would be placed. And bonded the rounds to it. Personally, I loved the look of the crown without the metal leaf, but for the sake of the theme of my exhibition I covered it in metal leaf. But that might be coming off after the show. Which Runs October 30- November 12th @ TheCarrack in Durham, NC. Opening Reception November 3rd.
I bonded more jump rings around the top portion of the crown at this point.
Mold & Casting: Man Figure
I made a mold of Das Clay for the figure that would rest on the face of the crown. Once that dried(24hrs) I covered it with a polyurethane before successively adding latex to cast the shape.
and Plaster of Paris for the mother mold.
I let that dry and filled the mold with a mixture of J-B Weld and fiberglass (be safe when handling fiberglass. Use gloves and a mask.)
After filling in the indents (cause by air pockets), and sanding down and refining the surfaces area and edges, I used J-B Weld to bond the "man" to the face of the crown and supporting bars that would hold the green center crystal.
Prepping for Gold Leaf
When it had all cured I applied a base coat (pink) and a top coat (gold). Afterwards I decided to go ahead and gold leaf the entire crown.
Building Crystal Cage
Finding the Large 40mm undrilled gem I required to top off the crown, took months. I eventually found it on an etsy shop (who's link no long works) and messaged them to see if they had the blue gem depicted on their page in green. They did!
Unfortunately, I accidentally erased all the images from my phone that documented the process of making a cage for the loose gem and subsequently mounting it on the crown.I will do my best to describe the process.
Essentially I wrapped cellophane around the gem. I took children's play-doh and rolled it into a long cylinder, about 1/2inch in diameter and wrapped that around the gem. I shaped it to a very thin but sturdy layer and cut the access play doh off. I let that sit for 3-4 days to dry. I wasn't looking for the play-doh to completely harden because I needed to be about to remove the gem without it breaking apart.
After 3-4 days I removed the gem, and applied a thick layer J-B Weld the outside of the play-doh.
Once that cured, I dug out the play-doh with a clay-shaping tool. Then I sanded down the edges so the gem fit snugly into the harnest. I took more J-B Weld and made 4 prongs to hold the jewel in place.
Note: I forget to add the sealant to this portion of the Gold Leaf so it started to rust. So I eventually went back and sanded it down and added more with the sealant applied afterwards.
Attaching Caged Crystal To Crown.
The entire process of attaching the crystal to the crown was trial and error(much like the entire build) and I alot of cut adjustments to the supporting two beams as well as the hands.
I had to sand the hands down a bit to mach the slop of the bottom portion of the cage.
I also had to grind down the metal curved-supporting beams.
After all those adjustments were made, I used more J-B Weld to bond all four contact points.
After that cured, I sanded the contact points, cleaned it up with some water, let dry and gold leafed the cage.
Appyling the Flat Back Crystals.
This was a pretty straight-forward Process.
Then I simply applied Clear Tacky Glue inside of each jump ring and used tweezers position each inside.