How to Make Metal Bird Sculptures

Updated March 23, 2017

Metal bird sculptures set the mood and add flair to great sprawling lawns and small urban garden spaces alike. Select a bird model from among large pelicans, graceful cranes, tropical or endangered species or common ones like sparrows. Then choose what size and what metals you want to work with. Lightweight metals are easier to cut and heavy ones may require some professional attention, such as welding. After that, it's just a matter of cutting and pounding metal and piecing it together with wire. Always were appropriate protective gear like thick gloves and eye protection to avoid injury.

Draw all component parts of the bird body onto sheet metal. Use a magic marker to outline the side view of the bird body and be sure to draw two of them. Draw two sets of wings on the metal sheeting. Draw two rectangles the length of the body to represent the top and bottom sides of the bird. Draw two oval shaped pieces to be used for the head. Allow for a long neck if it suits your design taste.

Put on a pair of thick leather gloves and protective eye wear to protect yourself during metal cutting. Using the appropriate strength metal snips or cutters for your metal, cut along the edges of all marker outlines. The cut edges may be very sharp, so take care not to accidentally brush against them.

Use an electric sander to smooth down all rough edges. Wear a dust mask to keep out the fine flying metal debris. Go over the edges with a damp rag to check for any rough spots you may have missed. Continue sanding until all edges are smoothed down to your satisfaction.

Use a mallet or hammer to pound out the shape of the body parts and the head. Shape the two rectangular pieces into rounded shapes to resemble the bird's back and belly. Round out both head pieces in the same fashion.

Punch a few holes, using the hole punch, around the edges of the body, sides, back, belly and head. Try to match up the holes where metal will be connected. For example, match holes along the top side to the bird's back. Make one or two single punches on each side where the wings will attach to the body. Make two small punches on the head for eyes and on each side of the face for the beak.

Shape some wire into a double loop and then form it into a beak. Attach to either side of the face by poking wire through the holes. Fashion some eyes with the wire by forming two separate spiral cones.

Wire the hole-punched parts together using single pieces of thin gauge wire. Cut away excess wire using the metal cutters.

Form twisted wire legs and feet with a thick gauge wire. Use several strands of wire and twist them to give form and strength. Attach to the body with thin wire loops.

Things You'll Need

  • Marker
  • Sheet metal
  • Thick gloves
  • Protective eye wear
  • Metal cutter
  • Dust mask
  • Rag
  • Hole punch
  • Electric sander
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Thin and thick gauge wire
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About the Author

Erin Moseley is an advocate for science education. Since 1985, she has written numerous technical, user and training manuals for major corporations, public agencies and universities. She holds a Bachelor of Science in geology.