Category : Arts & Crafts

6 posts

Making steel dragon-shaped ornaments can be a fun and creative project that requires some basic metalworking skills and tools. Here’s a general process to make steel dragon-shaped ornaments:

Materials: read more

There is a warm, hospitable beauty that is unique to a country-style home. More than the inviting colors, fresh look, and happy atmosphere, there is energetic tranquility that courses through the home and welcomes anyone that steps inside. The ability to decorate is in itself a beautiful thing because it allows you to communicate yourself through the venue of your home. When you are decorating a country home, one of the tools that can help you communicate clearly is the use of wrought iron in your decorating scheme.

Decoration Ideas

There are many options for using wrought iron throughout the living areas of your house; one of these options is the use of wall hangings. Several different types of wall hangings can be considered, ranging from wall sconces that hold candles, to the decorative designs of wrought iron grilles and medallions that serve as three-dimensional pictures. You can also find wrought iron clocks and even shelving that is perfect for holding lightweight books, candles, or figurines. Hanging planters are great for adding both class and color to your décor, and coat and key holders are a practical addition as well as an attractive one. Little artistic iron keys are easy to find and look great hanging on iron key holders when suspended by a satin ribbon looped through the handle. read more

Anyone who has experience with fireplaces knows that burning wood directly on the floor of the fireplace doesn’t really work. A good fire needs good air circulation, so it’s almost imperative that the logs are lifted off the ground a few inches. There are many types of fireplace accessories out there that will solve this problem, although andirons are usually the best and most attractive option.

Using Wrought Iron Andirons

Many people use a traditional wrought iron log rack in their fireplace. They work well, they’re sturdy, and they can be nice to look at. Wrought iron andirons have one major advantage over fireplace racks, however. Since andirons are not attached to each other, you can move them closer or further apart from each other depending on the size of your logs. read more

For cabinetry with a more hand-made look, many people choose to use wrought iron hardware and accessories. While wrought iron may not be the most durable of materials, many people are drawn to the rustic look and feel of it. Wrought iron provides a medium for many artists, so if you are looking for handmade, one of a kind items, wrought iron is a good place to start.

Because wrought iron has the propensity to rust over time, make sure to choose a durable lacquer or finish when selecting hardware made of this material. Some may choose to pursue the darker traditional look, letting the true color of the iron shine through with the aid of a protective coating. Others may opt for a color lacquer, with will also protect the metal against damaging moisture. read more

Wrought iron is currently one of the most popular types of indoor decor for walls, but it is just as trendy outdoors. Beautiful works of sculpted art that include colorful glass accents are available for the yard. They are absolutely stunning, and they are a giant step up from plastic geese, cast resin bunnies, spinning daisies and other cheap types of yard decor. They last much longer too.

I prefer wrought iron over cast resin or ceramic yard decor. I have a few beautiful pieces in my yard, and I want to add more. However, overdoing yard decorations can cheapen the landscape no matter the theme or style. I choose my wrought iron decor wisely, and I creatively place it in my yard. I arrange glass and metal pieces where they will pick up sunlight, and I use flowers to provide a natural background. read more

Building an Ornamental Iron Door: A Novice Blacksmith’s Guide

A wrought iron door can be sturdy, functional, and highly decorative, and can be used as a distinctive entrance when compared to standard pre-manufactured doors. Wrought iron doors lend themselves well to applications ranging from home use to doors for larger formal buildings, such as churches, libraries, and courthouses. An ornamental iron door works as a fine accompaniment to traditional masonry construction. Using a process called stipple etching, an ironworker can give a utilitarian metal door a far more ornate appearance than is normally found in wrought iron.


  1. Draw the outline of the door’s structural components, such as the two side beams and three cross beams of a standard square door, while marking the locations for pre-fabricated rivet holes using a mechanical pencil on the graph paper. Be sure to include holes for the heavy-duty door hinges that will be required to support a solid iron door. Use the geometry set to ensure that the drawing is made at an easily convertible scale. Finalize the door or structural design by adding numerical distance measurements based upon measurements of the doorway that the metal door will hang in, and ink the lines with the drafting pen. Once the ink has dried, use a white eraser to remove the pencil lines.
  2. Draw the decorative stipple design on the graph paper on a new page, using a mechanical pencil. When a pleasing aesthetic design is ready, finalize the drawing by inking the lines with the drafting pen. Allow the ink to dry before erasing the pencil lines with the white eraser.
  3. E-mail a copy of the structural design diagram to the nearest metal fabrication shop after securing a contract for fabrication work via the telephone. For the ease of the shop personnel, make sure to include an itemized list of parts and their dimensions, as well as where the pre-drilled rivet holes need to be located for the door to fit together. To obtain a digital copy of the hand-drawn diagram, either scan an image using a computer scanner or use a high-quality digital camera in good lighting conditions to create the digital image to send to the fabrication shop.
  4. Assemble the door pieces on the concrete shop floor, running the heavy rivets through the proper rivet holes to reach the final desired shape of the door. Use the metal C clamps to secure the areas where the siding crossbars meet. Use wet folded newspaper to provide a heat resistant buffer between the concrete floor and the iron door to avoid scuffing the metal while hammering the rivets. Place a copper shim block between the shop floor and the rivet to provide a solid backing while hammering the rivet in. Heat the protruding end of the top right corner rivet with a propane torch until it reaches a glowing orange color. Hammer the protruding end of the rivet with the ball-peen using the flat striking face. Hammer until a tight joint is created and the protruding end is rounded down. Repeat the process until all of the rivets are secured and the door structure is complete.
  5. Draw a series of dots on the surface of the iron door with the black permanent marker, using the draft image of the stipple ornamental design as a guide. Strike every place marked with a black dot with the dot punch by striking the punch firmly with the flat surface of the ball-peen hammer. Eventually, the dots will form a decorative image. When adding a stipple design to a metal surface, it is common practice to repeat the same smaller design multiple times to achieve a larger decorative effect, though elaborate pieces that form actual pictures rather than simple designs are possible in the hands of a skilled craftsman.

Things You’ll Need:

  • graph paper
  • geometry set
  • mechanical pencil
  • white eraser
  • drafting pen
  • computer
  • scanner or digital camera
  • prefabricated iron door components
  • heavy steel or iron rivets
  • copper shim block
  • propane torch
  • ball peen hammer
  • blacksmithing vest
  • safety glasses
  • fire extinguisher
  • dot punch


  • If you are unfamiliar with the process of stipple drawing, you can opt to hire an artist to create the stipple image for you at a resolution that matches the actual door itself. From there it is a simple matter to print out the design on one page at a time, tape it to the finished door structure, and use the printouts as a template to show the metalworker exactly where to strike with the dot punch.
  • Skilled metal workers can take the time to work the iron themselves straight out of raw iron ingots or sheets; however, this will add a significant amount of time to the project, meaning that pre-ordering custom fabricated pieces is the way to go for the craftsmen who value their time.
  • Combining the process of cloisonné –glass enameling – with the stipple engraving process on a piece by piece basis before assembling the entire structure can lead to fantastically beautiful works of craftsmanship the likes of which are rare in the modern era.
  • If during the design phase you suspect that the door will be too heavy using an entirely iron design, consider using a high-quality hardwood for the interior panels as opposed to iron plates. This saves on weight without substantially compromising structural quality.


  • Wear safety goggles and a blacksmithing vest at all times when working metal to prevent injury.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case, since the propane torch can lead to unexpected fire mishaps.