Trilobite scrap steel garden sculpture

Part of the welding module was a design-make project, the brief was to work in pairs to design and fabricate an animal from the scrap metal in the bins in the welding area & forge, the downside being – we only had two lessons to do it in! I was teamed up with my pal Ali, she’s the same age as me & we’re both very passionate about our work so it was a great fit.

We were told that cutting must be minimal as there is only 1 plasma cutter and 1 acetylene torch so not enough for everyone at the same time, which meant we had to be able to construct our creature mainly with the forms that are in the bin.
I took some of the photos below for inspiration, hmmm, what can you make with that?

Most of the scrap pieces are rectangular bright drawn or hot rolled steel section which has been welded (badly) into T sections with fillet welds, or butt or lap joins. Looking at the scrap in the bins we deduced we will need to make some kind of plated or armoured creature.
My thought was armadillo, woodlouse, or dinosaur?

In a moment of clarity I remembered a weird prehistoric creature from one of the BBC’s walking with dinosaurs series that my son was obsessed with. If Only I could remember what it was called! I knew it looked like a massive woodlouse and was around over 400 million years ago, it was something like trigladite or troglodyte, so I searched the internet. Turns out a troglodyte was a prehistoric cave dweller and a trigladite doesn’t exist. I’m sure I’m not making this up, think harder!!

I searched ‘massive prehistoric woodlouse’, that […]

The Salvage Sister’s Christmas giveaway!! #WINMYRING !!

So you want to win my ring huh? You’re in the right place!!

How to win my solid silver tentacle ring…

To enter the competition do at least one of these;
(although you can enter as many times as you like, on as many platforms as you like) –

– FACEBOOK Find ‘CHARIS WILLIAMS AKA THE SALVAGE SISTER’ and Like her page, LIKE the competition post, COMMENT why you must #winmyring and SHARE the post on your own profile or business age.
– TWITTER – FOLLOW @CharisWilliams , LIKE the competition post, RT the post with a QUOTE from you and TAG at least one friend saying why you must #winmyring
– INSTAGRAM – FOLLOW @CharisWilliams777 , LIKE the competition post, TAG at least 3 friends and say why you must #winmyring

See the full T&C’s at the bottom of this blog post.
I’ll be pinning the competition status with a photo to my Twitter feed and Facebook! You can enter as many times as you like on as many platforms as you like, the winner will be chosen at randomonium by myself on the 24th December – what an awesome Christmas pressy from moi!!
Competition runs from 24th November to the 24th December – you have one month to like, share and comment and bag yourself this one of a kind upcycled ring – MY FIRST ONE EVERRRR!! (I can’t actually believe I’m doing this!!)

If you haven’t already seen my Reloved column this month it’s all about the making of this ring & how I got a cool dude like Jeremy Hoye to wear elf ears!!

You can also watch my vlog to see more of the design process on my Youtube channel,
Click this link –
GOOD LUCK & Merry Christmas to you […]

How to make a simple trough from pallets

Last week at Kirstie’s Handmade Fair I made a planter, or trough out of two pallets with Kirstie in the Super Theatre in front of an audience!
Thank you to all of you who came to see this make live, I’m so pleased with the reception it got & thank you for the lovely messages telling me how inspired you are to give it a go yourself – this is what I live for!
So, due to popular demand I have written up a step by step ‘how-to’ for you, so you can be sure you’ve got it right.
Here goes…
These are the pallets I’m using, there are lots of different types of pallet, ones with big solid blocks of wood in the corner instead of struts, ones with reconstituted blocks in the corners, big ones, small ones, square, rectangle… you get the picture! If you want to copy this how-to exactly you will need two pallets that are the same as the ones in the picture, notice there are 3 struts which are held together with planks & they have two planks on the underside too. It doesn’t really matter if yours are smaller or larger, you will just have a smaller, or larger trough. FYI – These are about 90cm square-ish.

Once you have your pallets you need to cut one in half like this –
To make the cut I would mark half way along the pallet & cut with a circular saw. You will have to cut from both sides as the circular saw won’t cut deep enough to go all the way through from one side. Make sure you line your cuts up […]

My upcycled workshop part two! – Almost there!

Welcome back! Sorry it’s taken me so long to get this online for you, I literally cannot sit still long enough to write it!

Now, if you haven’t read part one you might want to head over & check that out first… it’s right here:

In my last workshop post I talked about the design, finding the materials and building the frame, now we’re onto damp proofing, boarding, insulation and that all important interior!  This is where we finished up last time (below) with a long way still to go to make this a functioning workshop!


I needed to damp proof the structure before I started boarding the outside or stuffing the pallet cavity on the inside with insulation. I remembered on one of my visits to Cat Fletcher at her Freecycle depo (when we were filming Fill Your House) she had tonnes (literally) of exterior vinyl advertising banners that had been used & were now out of date. Because these are made with vinyl to withstand the wind & rain I knew they would be the perfect damp proof answer for my workshop, and once again – free! Plus I’d be saving this useable material from landfill. I picked up what felt like a lifetimes supply & took it back to my shell where I covered the entire thing & overlapped by several inches – making sure that if condensation were to run down it would end up outside! They look really jazzy too, was almost a shame to cover them up!

As that task was coming to an end I jumped on Freegle & Freecycle to search for boarding materials. In an ideal world marine ply would have been perfect, although it is so expensive I […]

My up-cycled workshop stage 1 – The frame

The Frame for my up cycled workshop is made out of pallets and fence posts.

I chose pallets because they are strong, durable and easily found for free. I found mine in industrial sites all over Brighton, Hove & Shoreham. I was also given loads by my local wood recycling centre – and found many on Freegle & Freecycle. In short – pallets are easy to come by, there are probably some sat outside a house or business in your street as we speak! The other great thing about pallets is they have a recess, this is the pocket I used to fill with insulation – it’s like a cavity in a normal building wall.

As well as the pallets I also used six fence posts & offcuts of timber to strengthen the structure.


As you can imagine I quickly covered every available floor space in my front and back garden with an array of pallets! The neighbours did wonder what I was on, although thankfully (probably due to their curiosity) they let me carry on!

Now, the thing you have to remember about collecting free pallets is – you are going to get lots of different sizes and types, some will be 120cm by 120cm, some are 100cm x 80cm, some are 100cm x 64cm, then you have different depths too! Basically you’re going to need to collect a lot to make sure you have enough of the right size to use together to make your life easier when constructing your workshop. Don’t worry because you will need lots off cuts from the pallets you’re not using for the frame for strengthening joints and cladding the exterior etc. Plus, if you have neighbours […]