DIY Parasols

One thing that Steampunks tend to do a lot more than Goths is make our own stuff. That whole DIY culture is really prevalent within many of the different Steampunk persuasions and preferences. There is, however, some considerable cross-over between Steampunk and Goth, so it should come as no surprise that many Goths enjoy making their own things as well, though not as integral to their subculture as it is to ours.

Maker Hexotica recently wrote a wonderful tutorial for DIY parasols. Though geared more towards the Gothic community and aesthetic, a simple reselection of colors and designs can make this piece of interest to Steampunks as well. With a little work, this:

Into a lovely parasol like this:

To learn all how to convert your own boring umbrella into a statement piece for your latest ensemble, visit Hexotica’s website and check out her tutorial.

atomefabrik

While I myself do not consider goggles an absolute necessity to Steampunk fashion, there are few pieces that so enhance a Steampunk’s overall presentation as a pair of impressive goggles. Finding that right pair of goggles, however, is something of a challenge. You want them the  be as unique as your own style and definition of Steampunk, but finding that perfect pair is difficult when a lot of goggles that are available these days just have gears glued to the sides of a standard goggle. Thanks, but no thanks.

The goggles created by atomefabrik, however, are works of art. Gorgeous in their handcrafted detail, these goggles are sure to give you the exact look that you want. Check out the full image gallery for goggles to see all the wonderful designs.

Atomefabrik is dedicated to creating original, hand crafted designs by the artist. The website’s About Me Section is particularly illuminating as to the maker’s philosophy, which, in my mind, is perfectly in line with how Steampunk should be thinking about itself:

“atomefabrik” is the name for my “autonomous manufacture of possible items”,

autonomous= AtomeFabrik is a small business , independant, free of any constraint set by a conservative marketing line or enchained to some bank loans. By “small” I mean = I do the work alone, designing, engineering, manufacturing, packing, web design, emails, and all the cleaning…and I don’t want to grow big.

manufacture= all items are handcrafted using craftmanship processing, which means conventionnal machining rather than high productivity stamping or CNC machining; bolting and riveting rather than robotic welding, hand assembly etc…human “imperfection” rather than mass production ! Like any craftmanship this manufacturing work comes at a cost. Generally speaking by buying from a craftsman you contribute to the making and the perpetuation of unique and true skills that would desapear otherwise, because, honnestly, that’s the way it is.

possible Items= anything at all, I just try to experiment what Victor Hugo said: ” Possible worlds are a fantastic matrix”

Amazing art and a fabulous philosophy behind it. Be sure to check it out!

When Punk Gains Steam

I love that Steampunk has such a strong emphasis on individual artisans and makers. In a time when most of what the populace consumes is mass produced and disposable goods, Steampunk makes a stand and consciously supports its artists and creators. And that’s a good thing because it gets people asking a lot of the right questions they should be asking about everything they buy. Questions like, “Who made this?” “Where did it come from?” and “How do I take care of it?” aren’t questions that need be limited to the arena of Steampunk.

That Maker Ethic plays a huge role in Steampunk philosophy, lifestyle and politics, and recently an article entitled When Punk Gains Steam by Jennifer Hendrix was published that focuses on the DIY aspect of Steampunk and is definitely worth your attention. Here’s a blurb of the article I found particularly insightful on the whole idea of what it means to have Punk in Steampunk:

As does punk, the steampunk community applies the idea of individual freedom and openness, beginning with our relationship to technology, to an entire lifestyle involving everything from a unique style of dress to music and film.  Through its aesthetic, it provides a way to question the status quo definition of “progress.”

The article goes on to talk about how Steampunk has and continues to adapt to an increasing audience as more people become interested in it on a variety of levels.

Although something of a lengthy article, When Punk Gains Steam is certianly worth your time and consideration, so do be sure to give it a look.

Steampunk Knitting Patterns

Attention all Steampunk knitters! Today’s post will sure to inspire the happiest of dances among those of your wishing to add a bit of Steamy goodness to your knitting projects.

The Sanguine Gryphon recently did an entire series of Steampunk inspired pattens for all your knitting project needs. There’s everything here from parasols and socks to skirts and gloves.

Each pattern is only five for six dollars, making this an inexpensive indulgence for all you knitting Steampunks out there. Head over to their Fall 2010 line for their full offering of Steampunk inspired patterns, and while you are there, make sure to explore their other lines as well. Each season has a different and often retrofuturisitic theme, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a new project for the knitting needles. There’s even some free patterns, so be sure to check out the Sanguine Gryphon.

Steampunk Corset Instructable

There’s some aspects of Steampunk fashion that I’m happy and able to make myself. Corsets, however, was one particular item that I always approached with some caution. There’s a lot of important internal organs being compressed as the corset laces are tightened. A poorly constructed corset would not only be uncomfortable, it could also be dangerous.

Corsets are, however, a staple to the feminine Steampunk wardrobe and knowing how to make them is a wonderful skill and knowledge to have. A recently published Instructable does a fantastic job of demonstrating how to construct your very own corset.

Written by lw119, this instructable provides great visual and textual steps for the creation of your own corset, which is fantastic because making your own corset means you can choose any fabric and color you desire. It even has video!

Constructing a corset according to this Instructable will run you an inexpensive 30 to 50 USD, though plan on more if you have to purchase the necessary tools to get the job done.

Wooden Steampunk Lamp

It’s been a while since I posted an Instructable, so today’s is a DIY project for a Steampunk lamp created by elco_chan.

This project is really neat because it uses the wooden gears on the side as the dimmer switch for the light. Very creative!

This is a pretty involved project, and you need a respectable amount of woodworking tools to get the final project as pictured above, but it’s a neat little lamp you can create. If it was my lamp, I’d add some finishing touches like painting the socket with some brass leaf paint and perhaps staining the wood to a nice dark cherry or mahogany.

And if you’re envious of his carved gears but don’t necessarily want to make this lamp, you’ll find the Gear Template Generator he used to be especially helpful for your other Steampunk pursuits.

And, if you like elco_chan’s lamp project, make sure to check back with him on occasion. He’s already promised another Steampunk instructable in the near future.

DIY Tesla Coils

Nicola Tesla has to be one of my favorite of the historical scientists that influences Steampunk as we know it at present. Tesla, for a number of reasons, (both deservedly and not) embodies the quintessential mad scientist. Many of his proposed ideas and inventions were so far ahead of his time that people were unable to comprehend them, and its quite likely that some of his inventions still remain out of our collective awareness because we either can’t understand his plans or he decided his inventions were simply too destructive for us to be privy to his discoveries.

One piece of technology we do know how to create and operate, however, is the Tesla Coil, which he created in 1891. The coil is a high voltage transformer for alternating current.

Against my better judgment, I’d like to point you to two tutorials for DIY Tesla coils. As a preliminary warning, don’t come crying to me if you destroy your nervous system putting one of these together. These things are not toys so be careful. Please. I’m not responsible for you zapping yourself or your friends if that’s what happens.

So without further ado or reservation, you can find two great resources for DIY Tesla Coils as Instructables and at Deep Fried Neon. Hopefully you can find one to be helpful as you construct your own coil.

So have fun, be safe, and let me know if you construct one and what you decide to use it for!

DIY Steampunk Pants

Captain Robert does more that just make awesome music. He also makes awesome mods!

Today, I’ve got an easy tutorial for you to mod some boring, everyday pants with some Steampunk goodness. Check out the video below how Captain Robert made these awesome stripey Steampunk pants:

A friend of mine here in Dallas needed some help in making some awesome new Steampunk pants, and I directed him the Captain Robert’s video. After a little encouragement on my part, he finally did it, and the pants that he produced wound up being exactly what he needed. Here’s an account from him about his adventures:

***

Hello all. My name in Jonny Phoenyx and my good friend, Captain Audelia Flint, has requested a more detailed tutorial on Captain Robert’s DIY Steampunk Pants.

I have never written a “blerb” or tutorial, but I will do my best. When it comes to costuming, even expert seamsters will tell you pants are difficult to make. Since steampunk is essentially a form of modding modern stuff with a Victorian aesthetic, this works out really well for pant-making!

Supplies:

  • A cheap pare of khaki pants (or other color)
  • Painters Tape (It’s almost always blue!)
  • Rust-Oleum Spray Paint
  • Ducktape
  • Painting tarp or large Garage bags

The Captain used canvas khakis, but any type of fabric should be fine. I just used 100% Cotton khakis from Old Navy. I would not recommend cargo pants. The pockets will be tricky, but hey, you might devise you own method! The Painter’s tape comes in a wide variety of sizes, so choose which ever will best fit your needs. After experimenting, I concluded that as long as the spray paint is meant for outdoor furniture (to resist most water and heat), you shouldn’t have a problem.

The last two items are somewhat optional. I live in an apartment, so I my only option was to go out in a neighboring parking lot to spray paint. So I wouldn’t cause any trouble (and to just respect public property), I laid down a few cut garbage bags and taped them to the pavement so I wouldn’t leave any paint splotches. The tarp would be easier and re-usable, but I already had the garbage bags, so why spend the extra coin? Spray paint gets everywhere. I would highly recommend waiting until there is little or now wind. Just pick up the garbage bags after you done, and you will likely see the outlines of your tarp.

Time for the actual tutorial!

Step 1: Iron your pants! This will make applying the painter’s tape immensely easier. Try to get the pocket linings as well if you can.

Step 2: Apply the tape! This might sound easy, but it can be a simple or as complicated as you want it to be. I just went with some simple pirate stripes (evenly spaced 1.5” lines). If you want, you can do zigzags, spirals, even cogs! When putting the tape on the fabric, make sure it’s on there very well and as straight (on not so straight) as you desire. Because of the unusual shape of pants, a long single strip will not line up evenly on the pants (with the exception of the side seams) So, for a single strip I used as much as 4 pieces to slowly “curve” the tape to fit the bulges and curvature of the pants. Because of this, even the smallest edge of “edited” tape will be very noticeable once the paint it applied and dried. So just be careful and keep that in mind. *Note: The blue represents the un-painted areas. So unless you want paint on the inside of your britches, I recommend lining the bottom cuff, top interiors of pockets, and the inside of the waistband.*

Step 3: Once you have your desired tape pattern(s), stroll outside, set-up you tarps, and begin spraying those pants! This is pretty simple. I let it dry for a half hour or so and applied another coat. Let them dry overnight. I actually left it outside for two days to be on the safe side.

Step 4: Congratulations! You know have your own pair of steamy pants! Now go strut your stuff!

Oh, and the biggest question….Are these machine washable?

Yes!

I have washed them 3 times and they still feel comfortable. I will mention that depending on the type of paint used, the designs/patterns can be a bit stiff or itchy at first. This did go away after the second wash for me. Also, it is not uncommon for the tape to have puckered when spray-painting it, leaving some unusual lines of discolor. If this bothers you, just repaint that particular spot. No harm done.

However, the colors will fade slightly with washing. I do not know if this I because of the detergent I use, the dryer, or just the paint. Either way, it didn’t fade enough to hinder my wardrobe. In fact, it enhanced it in an odd way! Huzzah!

That’s really all I can think of to tell you. If something doesn’t quite work out the way you wanted, just experiment! That’s what my first pair was, and it turned out better than I expected! Now go make stuff! Steamy Stuff!

How to Make Steampunk Gloves

Threadbanger recently came out with a great tutorial to make some unique Steampunk gloves. Here it is below! Watch and enjoy, and please turn your sound up. The sound quality of the maker is rather poor, but the video does a good job of explaining what to do with visuals, so I decided I would post it anyway.

Materials Needed:

  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Stainless Steel 18 Inches Ruler
  • Leather, or any other material for the glove
  • Black Satin Ribbon
  • Grommet Pliers and Grommets

Have fun making these neat gloves! Feel free to post a link below if you happen to make a pair for yourself. I’d love to see how they turned out!

Free crochet pattern: Steampunk Ruffled Spats

For all you makers out there, I have a beautiful and free crochet spats pattern.

Brought to you by the Grand Rapids Arts and Crafts Examiner, these spats are sure to put an impressive finishing touch to your latest Steampunk outfit. Please click here to view the pattern.

The example shown was crocheted using light weight yarn and a size F hook.  Finished size will vary based on yarn selection, hook size, and tension.  This pattern is written for making the right spat.  To change the pattern for the left foot, work R10 in back loops only instead of front.

And because this is the pattern and not just an outright purchase, you can be sure that whatever spats you create will be the perfect color to match your Steampunk wardrobe. And really, spats go with just about anything with a Steampunk flair. It’s like a white scarf… it’s good for all seasons and occasions!