The holiday gift-giving season is just around the corner.  If you are looking for gifts that are unique, personal, good for the environment, available at various price points and not impacted by supply chain problems, art and usable items made from scrap metal may be the solution.

From coasters and key chains to full-size garden sculptures, you can find beautiful and fun options made from scrap metal that would otherwise be in a landfill if not remade into your gift. 

The practice of using metal for artwork is nothing new.  Metal is a solid, hard, opaque material used by sculptors since ancient times. Metals can be hammered without breaking or cracking in order the shape them. They can be melted, used in molds, or made into wire and modeled. This makes them the ideal media for a sculptor to work with. Today, conservation-minded artists are taking this ancient practice one step further. They are using scrap metal as their media to kindle creativity and benefit the environment, breathing new life into existing metal instead of using new, virgin material.

For centuries artists and craftsmen used recycled items to first and foremost save money on materials. What started out as a prudent business practice ended up inspiring creativity. The recycled material already had its own patina from wear and use that could be incorporated into a new piece in an interesting and thought-provoking way and today can infuse that work with an environmentally conscious theme. This movement is so popular now that it’s the subject of courses in art education and even online study programs like 

At this time of the year, in anticipation of the holiday season, its customary for craft fairs and art galleries to feature local artists who create art and gifts using recycled materials. But interesting scrap metal art is available now more than ever before because of new venues. The rise of online marketplaces, that provide a platform for a variety of artists and designers, allows consumers to easily find scrap metal art at a variety of prices. Websites like Etsy, Red Bubble, Zazzle and many others feature endless options that would make great gifts. Just type “Scrap Metal Art” into your search engine to explore their offerings.  Below are just two links with examples of scrap metal art and gifts, with prices ranging from $30 to several hundred dollars.

As these online marketplaces illustrate, there is a scrap metal art gift that can uniquely speak to anyone on your gift list. It can be a simply decorative item, or something functional, like a bottle opener. To take the personalization one step further, another option is to create your own scrap metal art if you have some experience with welding. YouTube videos and Pinterest pages provide ideas and step-by-step instructions for learning to create your own scrap metal art.

Another art and design website, Uncommon Good, showcases artists whose work is especially environmentally friendly.

As an example, Matt Retzlaff is one of its featured artists who, according to his bio, “has spent the past five years scouting garage sales and picking through mountains of discarded hardware.  All of this effort is to find the right pieces to fit into the puzzle of his distinctive art installations.  A mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry, Matt draws on his ability to visualize in three dimensions in order to bring his creative ideas to life.  He seeks to emulate the natural world with man-made mechanical pieces that inspire closer inspection and light up the imagination.” 

ScrapWare Corp. has worked with scrap metal recycling companies for more than 30 years.  It understands and appreciates the important role of the scrap metal recycling industry today.  One of ScrapWare’s inspirational mascots are these “busy scrap bees” sculpted by Retzlaff.  The winsome sculpture portrays these essential insects which are as industrious and vital as ScrapWare’s scrap metal recycling customers.

Happy gift-giving!

ScrapWare Corp., of Rockville, MD, has been providing software to the scrap metal recycling industry for over 30 years.  ScrapWare uses an Oracle database to provide a cloud-based software solution to manage all aspects of a recycling business.  With numerous modules, extensive technical support, remote installation and online training, ScrapWare helps recycling companies with compliance, efficiency and profitability. Check out ScrapWare’s website, read the user testimonials, and see its offerings for your recycling software solution.