Step 2: Be damn grateful for your packratting, junkloving relatives, for they will hear you say you'd like to try something, and they will inevitably produce an extra piece of equipment that you can have! Thank you, Uncle Ralph, for passing along the arc welder you bought sometime when I was just a wee anklebiter (and quite possibly a bit before I came into the world). I LOVE IT!! It works fine, and it will even weld thicker pieces than I thought (of course, I have to practice that particular skill, but it's nice to know the capacity is there when I'm ready). Thanks for the helmet, too! I replaced the regular dark lens with a daylight lens (my only real $ expense in this welding on the cheap experiment-- a whole 49 bucks).
Step 3: Play! Practice! Do something fun! I really wanted a welder so I could make raised designs on metal scraps, so that's what I played with the last two days while the kids were at school. I still suck at sticking two pieces of metal together, but I can see it just requires more practice. "Writing" with the welding rods is rather addictive, though! Oh, my, did I mention I had fun? After a bit, I was making crude designs, like these roses and vines I made all around this piece of scrap. Definitely need more practice, but hey, why waste an interesting piece of metal?
Step 4: Never throw away a practice project if you can possibly think of a way to use it instead of wasting it. Why waste it, indeed? I brought it home, proud as punch, and have proceeded to give it some faint color by coloring it with Sharpies! Unorthodox, I'm fairly certain, but once again, FUN! A little more grinding to soften the top and bottom edges, a bit of glass torching to make a sculpture to go with it, and I'll have a new Beadalina creation.
P.S. Did I mention I'm having FUN?