Finished "gold" rose (it's actually just brass, shh)
Started with a 12×24" sheet of 26awg brass sheet metal. I thought it would look cool to make a gold colored rose. The sheet was about $30 from Lowe's, and was way more than I needed but oh well.
26 awg is pretty thin, but thin is good – anything thicker would be a pain to cut and form by hand later on.
Starting with the cuts. A standard pair of aviator snips work well for this. Roughed out the inner most set of petals with only three. I left a generous blank spot in the middle to allow for a 1/4" hole to be punched out later on.
Second set of petals roughed out, upped it to 5. Having a roughed out shape that is close to your final shape makes the detailed trimming a LOT easier. This is because the excess bends out of the way much more easily while cutting if there is less of it that has to deform.
Second set of petals cut out and shape honed a bit with a file. The snips leave a little bit of a jaggedy edge so I at least wanted to take off the burrs. The file makes quick work of smoothing out a crappy cut too.
Hammer and chisel used to give the top side of the pedals some texture. Careful not to go too crazy with the chisel if it is sharp, I accidentally cut through some of the earlier pedals because I was rushing. Not shown on the back: took some coarse (~80 grit) sandpaper to give a little grain, and then followed with fine (400 grit) to take it down to a matte finish. The top side was left shiny.
I think this was the last (fifth) set of petals.
Last set of petals all trimmed and textured.
Decided to make the leaves on the bottom (sepals?) a different color, so I used some steel scrap that was lying around. Used the chisel again to etch the veins. The leave ended up looking kinda too fat, if I were to do it again I'd make them a bit skinnier.
I used a Rotex punch to knock out a 1/4" hole in the middle of all the petals. It was a perfect fit around some 1/4" copper tubing I picked up at Lowe's. The tubing was only $3 for about 2 ft. If you don't have a punch, a small step bit would work well too. Drill bits in thin sheet metal really suck though, so use that as your last resort.
Cut the excess and crimped with a pair of pliers. Did the same thing underneath. The crimps will be covered up later.
Started folding the petals up. Tried to kind of make the spiral around each other. Used a regular pair of needle nose pliers for this.
Second set of petals folded up. I thought it looked nicer to bend the tips back out a little bit. Careful with this part – if you were a little overzealous with the texturing earlier on, the petals will want to split at this stage. If I were to do it again, I'd lighten up on the texture a bit. In hindsight I probably would also wrap my needle nose pliers with a few layers of electrical tape to give them a softer and rounder bite.
Got lazy with pics, pretty much done here.
Bent the copper a bit randomly to give it a more organic look. The base is a redwood block that was meant to be a 4×4 post topper. It was the perfect size for this project, and coincidentally also had a 1/4" hole already drilled in the center! I literally did nothing to prep it, just shoved the copper tube in. The block was under $3 from Lowe's – score!
All done! Finished the wood base with Howard's butcher block conditioner, which is basically just mineral oil mixed with some waxes to stabilize it. Really brought out a deep rich red color to it.