Stainless Steel Spiders from Stolen Scissors

In the past year, the Transportation Security Administration has confiscated over 8 million items, including guns, knives, narcotics, cuticle scissors, mousse, pudding, and bottled water.  I have obtained some of the TSA-confiscated scissors, and they inspired me.

 The TSA officially allows scissors with blades less than four inches.  But the individual officers have the authority to disallow anything they think poses a potential threat.  These scissors all belong in that grey area between what should  be allowed on the plane, and what wasn’t  allowed.

I’ve cut the scissors up, bent them, and welded them back together into spiders. 

The rest of this page documents the process of creating the spider, with visual aids.

As Received

This is how I receive the scissors. In bulk, used, and mostly unsorted.


I sort them based on shape and size, and take out all the ones that are cheap filler metal. My welder doesn’t like those. This picture shows some that I’ve set aside because I like the shapes of the handles.


These 8 barber scissors will make a mighty fine spider.


First, I have to break them apart. Sometimes I can just twist them until they come loose. Other times, I have to grind off part of the screw/rivet that holds them together. Then I clamp part in the vice and twist them apart with pliers.


I use a torch to heat the handles up. This way, when I bend them, they don’t break.


A pair of legs, all bent up and nowhere to go.

Legs assembled2

Here’s 4 pairs of legs assembled and ready for the body.

Legs assembled

You can see the other half of the 8 pairs of scissors, waiting to be bent and welded together.


After the body has been attatched. Top view.


This is the same spider, as seen from the side. It might get a little wire brush treatment to shine it up, but this is pretty much what it will look like. This is the 4th in the series.

The following spiders are the first two in the series.


The first one is actually made from cuticle scissors.


Alternate view.


The second one. Made from barber scissors (like the one shown in the step-by-step)


Alternate view.


The first two together, showing the difference in size between the cuticle scissor spider and the barber scissor spider.

Thanks for looking. For more (related and unrelated) work, or if you would like to purchase a spider, please point your browser to http://heartlessmachine.com


66 Responses to “Stainless Steel Spiders from Stolen Scissors”

  1. August 28, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Very cool, menacing looking pieces. I bet they would not let you fly with one of these things now.

  2. 2 Sue
    October 30, 2007 at 6:28 am

    Your scissor work is awesome. Is any of it going to be for sale?

  3. October 30, 2007 at 7:43 am

    Gorgeous ! Now i might go and find some scissors too 😛

  4. October 30, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Nice to see some of these confiscated items put to good use.

  5. 5 laura delancey
    October 30, 2007 at 10:29 am

    are these for sale? they’re beautiful!


  6. 6 Lazlo Panaflex
    October 30, 2007 at 10:51 am

    these are freakin’ amazing. please let me know if they will be up for purchase because you seem to have combined two of my likes (scissors & spiders) into one fantastic thing. now if you could somehow make them into a skull…

  7. October 30, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Wow. Beautiful stuff. Very nice.

  8. 9 Billy
    October 30, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    I’d be interested in purchasing as well.

  9. 10 John F
    October 30, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Let me add my voice to the approving chorus. Your spiders are wonderful, and I need one RIGHT NOW! I’ve bookmarked your site, and will check periodically to see if you’re offering these for sale.

  10. 11 Laura S
    October 30, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Beautiful work!

    I would be interested in buying one, if you felt like selling….

  11. October 30, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    “Weaving spiders, come not here;
    Hence, you longlegged spinners, hence!
    Beetles black approach not near;
    Worm nor snail, do no offence.” – William Shakespeare

  12. 13 UnforGiven
    October 30, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    See if you can get them on an airplane now :/

  13. 14 Karl
    October 30, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    would be nice IF you decided to sell them you could donate the proceeds to 911 victims families. Just a thought.

  14. October 30, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    I am madly in love with this.


  15. 16 ms
    October 30, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    you should seell them back to the TSA, for posting in the security area as sculptures. They woudl remind people to make sure they put their stuff in their carry on bags.

  16. October 30, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Can you carry the spiders on a plane?

  17. 18 3DLover
    October 30, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    I know that everything that the TSA confiscates at the Portland airport (PDX) is sold online by the State of Oregon. Check out the ebay user OregonTrail2000. You can get large lots of knives, scissors, etc. Other states may do similar things.

  18. 20 Gilbert Wham
    October 30, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    They’re beautiful. I want a breeding pair. As a colossal nerd, I always carry things like screwdrivers, string & pocketknives about. I’ve had to do some very fast talking after being searched on sus (wrong place, wrong time), to keep my favourite penknife. I’ve lost a few too, that way, over the years (rules in Englishland about such things are becoming exponentially absurd). I feel the pain of every confiscated utensil.

  19. 21 Beth
    October 30, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    The big one is incredible! Really well done.
    I’m using Firefox and for some reason am unable to navigate your site. I would have loved to see what else you can do.

  20. 22 Paul
    October 31, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    Can I ask, how the heck do you find out where you can buy the scissors from TSA?? I mean, I know they have auctions but, how do I find the one in my area??

    Awesome work. What kind of welder are you using? I would think a small wirefeed would do the task.

  21. October 31, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Muthafricken scissor spiders on a plane!!

  22. November 3, 2007 at 7:21 am

    They’re beautiful to keep my favourite pen. Let me add my voice to the approving chorus. Your spiders are wonderful, I’ve bookmarked your site. Magnificent art work. What kind of design-God are you using? I wish good luck!

  23. 26 Eva
    November 3, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    Very cool looking! And ingenious of you to think of such a thing.

  24. November 7, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Fantastic. I recommend reading China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station; I think you would appreciate the character of the Weaver.

  25. 28 akromper
    November 7, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    The irony is they will be pulled/confiscated from one persons luggage one day and be shipped to someone else the next day. I’ve had more luggage opened and taped with cool TSA tape than not the last couple years. They’ve broken a dvd player, the glass faceplate on a clock I had since I was a kid and even unrolled my socks. I wouldn’t dare put anything of value in there.
    Very inventive though, treat them with respect every time you fire up, I’m sure some people didn’t really want to give them up.

  26. 29 Brian
    December 3, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    You’re totally amazing, fantastic work.

  27. 30 jaybuddy
    December 12, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Very cool!

  28. 31 Who's yer daddy & what does he do!
    January 3, 2008 at 11:25 am

    carry on, your doing very well!

  29. 35 David
    September 30, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I wanna see a scorpion

  30. 36 Christina Brine
    November 24, 2010 at 2:26 am


    Please add a “Like” button… so I can facebook “like” your site.

    Oh, forget it… I’ll just post it.

    Very cool.

    – Christina

  31. May 20, 2011 at 12:50 am

    any of them for sale?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

August 2007


%d bloggers like this: