You're sitting alone at your messy metal shop, staring at the bleak view of dead metal and equipment. Objects that are once alive with sparks and fumes spewing out because of your artistry.
You haven't mustered up the courage to pick up the welding gun and start the arc. You want to begin a new creative welding project, but all you do now is stare at nothingness, hoping your creativity will come back to life.
Artistic block happens to the best of us. It takes active participation to resuscitate your creativity and get it pumping ideas once again. One method is switching mediums to start a creative diversion.
From Arc to Paint: A Suitable Creative Diversion for Artistic Welders
A switch from a welding arc to a paintbrush (or spray paint) as a medium can help jumpstart your creativity. Switching mediums is a way to shake up the familiar processes and methods you’ve become accustomed to doing. Here's why painting is a good way to rejuvenate your welding creativity.
Paint is everywhere. The wall of your home is covered in paint, building facades are, too. Paint is cheap, and you can buy them at any home or art depot in your neighborhood.
Easy to start
Paint doesn't need technical know-how to start. You don't have to be knowledgeable about color theory, shading, or mixture to start painting. Just get a blank canvas and paint an abstract.
Expands your creativity
Working on a different medium such as paint opens you up to new ways of seeing and doing things. If you're starting out with little to no knowledge about it, it will activate your creative mind to experiment with different styles, colors, and patterns. These new discoveries can spark inspiration which you can carry to your metal workshop.
Relieves the pressure
The pressure to create something may clog the creative mind. A diversion such as painting redirects your attention to something that you most likely perceive as an escape. The diversion allows your mind to go on "play mode" and create spontaneously at its own pace. This opens up the possibility for a random creative idea to sprout from the crevices of your artistic mind.
The unexpected outcome of your artistic output when painting can encourage problem-solving. If you want to get a better result from work, you'll think of ways to work with what materials you've got.
This creative diversion shakes your normal artistic processes and changes your routine. So if you're convinced to take up painting as your creative diversion, here's a great idea: try painting on your welding helmet. Not only will your welding helmet mask look cool, but you'll also be inspired to paint well because you're wearing it on your head too.
Painting Your Own Awesome Welding Mask Design
Painting on your own custom welding mask can be an exhilarating experience. Just imagine breathing life into the simple helmet. It gives you a sense of individuality and reinforces your artistic side—something you need when you want to get back on the horse. Here are the steps that would guide you into painting your custom welding helmet.
Examine your welding mask and the welding manual.
Identify your mask first. Is it a TIG welding mask or a MIG welding mask? A large or a small one? Then, examine the welding helmet from the skull, face, and lens. The outline and surface area is a factor in the design you want to put on your custom face mask so inspect it also for damages and cracks. You'll want to work on a headgear that's damage-free, so the design is not compromised. Check your welding helmet manual for any safety precautions, such as whether you can paint on your headgear or not, among other things.
Have all the things you need for your workshop.
It's important to have everything you need ready right in front of you to avoid any interruptions. This helps you concentrate and achieve that "flow state" when you're painting on your cool welding helmet. Here are some essential things you need to get started:
- Unused cloths
- Two-sided sponges
- Paint thinner
- An old toothbrush
- Fire-resistant white primer
- Paint fillers
- Old newspaper or scratch papers
- Duct tape
If you're painting using acrylic, have these items ready.
- Acrylic paint tubes
If you're going to use spray paint instead, these are what you'll need.
- Spray paint cans of a chosen color
- Clear coating
Prepare the welding mask's exterior.
Put the welding mask on your work table and wash it with water mixed with a little detergent. This is to prepare the surface of the helmet by removing any dirt that might get in the way. For stubborn dirt, you can use the old toothbrush to remove it. Use the rough side of the sponge for dirt and stains. Afterward, wipe it off with a dry cloth and let it air dry for a couple of minutes to ensure there's no moist spots. Be sure to remove the lens to prevent any paint materials from staining or distorting it. This is necessary, especially if you have an auto welding mask that adjusts lens shade.
Cover the mask's interior and other parts you don't want to be painted.
Paint can color certain parts of your helmet unintentionally. This is especially true for spray paints as they tend to spray on a wide surface area. For parts you don't want to be painted, cover them with an old newspaper and tape. This also includes the interior, as you will have to move your welding cap around to paint on hard-to-reach parts.
Apply a white primer with a mix of filler paint.
The white primer will serve as your blank canvas for your custom welding helmet. Also, the fire-resistant properties of the primer will keep your finished work protected from welding sparks and spatter that may burn it. On the other hand, the filler paint serves to give a rough texture to your primer, so the paint will stick well on the surface.
Brush on uncovered spaces with the same base material.
If there are spaces that weren't covered during the initial round of putting the primer, fill it with the same material. Examine your custom welding helmet carefully for any parts you want to paint on that aren't covered in white primer. The purpose of this is to have a neat-looking canvas for your work.
Once the primer is dry, paint your heart out. Use the paint thinner to remove any unwanted paint strokes or colors and improve your work. Then, let it dry. If you use acrylic, you'll need to coat it with a varnish to protect the work. If it's spray paint, use the transparent filler paint to coat it. Additionally, you can use thinner to remove the stains and start over again with a new design.
Buying Your Own Cool Welding Mask
If you're not into creating the artwork for your helmet, you can purchase one instead. There are ready-made custom welding masks that you can purchase online and in nearby stores. Select the one that matches your taste. More importantly, get the one that sparks your inspiration for welding.
Once you've gone through the entire process of creative diversion, you can take your insights to the metal shop and see how it has changed you. It may not come instantly, but in time, you'll feel the creative welder's mind reignited, and you'll overflow with new project ideas—so much so that you'll be eager to push that trigger and start the arc once again.