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 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!

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!

More on the Maker Culture and DIY

A few weeks back, I wrote an article on why the handmade aspect of Steampunk is so important to keeping the movement for ourselves, rather than the corporations. As every corporation’s end concern is their profit margins, they have a vested interest in the production of cheap goods to sell at high prices to a growing Steampunk subculture.  It is a real threat to Steampunk as an organic movement. For a concrete example, please click here for my post on the theft of an artist’s original designs by Hot Topic.

And so you all don’t think I’m just one crazy Steampunk yelling out into the void of the internet insisting that his is how Steampunk should be done, I’d like to bring your attention to two other articles that do a great job of backing up and expounding upon my case.

Captain Robert of Abney Park recently published a post to his blog entitled, “Made By Makers – Save the World, Kill The Corporations.” In it, he talks about the band’s unique model of production. All of their goods, from their music to merchandise is produced by independent artists. This is one of my favorite examples of an incredibly Steampunk group that has made the conscious decision to go solely independent in their production, and has still enjoyed immense success in the Steampunk community. And, as an important aside, it is so evident upon meeting the members of Abney Park and experiencing their shows live, that are doing something that they genuinely love.

Why is this important? Why should you concern yourself with how things are made as long as you get the things you want? Captain Robert points out that when you buy from independent artists, you are allowing an artist to live their dreams. Rather than pouring your money into corporations that care nothing for your movement, the case for supporting the independent artist is a easy one to make.

The second article I would like to draw your attention to is one entitled, Making A Living in MakerCulture from The Tyee. This article covers the next question that invariably creeps into one’s mind when admiring the Do It Yourself lifestyle, “Wow, that’s neat, but I can’t do that! I have bills to pay!”  Turns out independent artists also have bills to pay, but are able to make a living by producing their own goods and this article highlights a number of artists, including a Steampunk, who are taking control of their production. There’s also a sidebar on the right-hand side with lots of clicky-links that can redirect you to tons of DIY resources.

If you are in love with the concept of the maker culture, you’ll adore The Tyee’s Maker Culture Series, a compendium of DIY articles that can serve to enlighten and educate.

So, DIY and handmade is really important to Steampunk. It’s about keeping Steampunk for the Steampunks, supporting artists and their dreams, and taking more control of your life and work. It’s not easy or for the faint of heart, but the rewards are great.

Regretsy- Not Remotely Steampunk

We all know that the popularity of Steampunk is growing. People are discovering and embracing the genre and subculture everyday, and that’s a great and wonderful thing! (If’ you’re new to Steampunk, welcome! This is where all the cool kids hang out) 😛

And, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you all know how much I love Etsy and its ability to connect Steampunks to handmade goods, rather than having to go corporate to buy goodies you can’t make yourself.

But, there is a sinister side to all of this… a dark, leering creature that hides within the halls of Etsy using the term Steampunk to describe goods that are clearly not.

The blog Regretsy written by April Winchell, which features the more bizarre Etsy projects out there, has dedicated a section of it postings to showcase the hilarity of these mislabelings: Not Remotely Steampunk. Here, you’ll find all things clearly not Steampunk, but labeled by the creator as such. It’s amusing to see what people are trying to pass as Steampunk, and it makes me feel a little bit better knowing that April is out there keeping an eye out for all us Steampunks. So, April, thanks!

If you’ve enjoyed this train-wreck of Do It Yourself projects, you will most certianly enjoy April’s book, Regretsy: Where DIY meets WTF.

Digitally Fabricated Steampunk Goggles

All you Steampunk Makers out there have quite likely heard of MAKE Magazine, a do-it-yourself magazine loaded with all sorts of projects for your amusement. If you haven’t, please check out their website. I think you will like what they have to offer. Although they are not a solely Steampunk undertaking, their projects can certainly inspire the Steampunk inventor to craft his or her own contraptions.

MAKE Magazine also has its own blog and recently did an impressively in-depth article on artist Matt Borgatti’s digitally created Steampunk goggles.

This article stands out to me because it goes into considerable depth about the creative and technical process for creating a pair of truly unique goggles. I was particularly impressed by the concept of digitally designing the goggles.

And for all of you who are covetous of Mr. Borgatti’s goggles, you’ll be very happy to know that his designs for the goggles are open source. You can find all his 3D files, leather patterns, and some stitching instructions on Thingiverse. He also created some files that are ready to cut through Ponoko (for sale), and prepped all the goggle hardware for 3D printing over on Shapeways.

Top Hats

Cut Out and Keep is another one of those Do It Yourself websites that attracts a lot of Steampunk projects. In May, I featured a fun project on Steampunking your composition notebooks. If you missed that post, you can check it out here. It’s absolutely worth looking at, especially for all those Steampunk students are out of school with time on their hands for the summer.

Another simple Steampunk project caught my eye on their site, and I thought you all might like it brought to your attention. This particular set of instructions features recommendations on how to create your own Steampunk Hat.

The directions are simple enough. Like any well executed project, the real work is in the planning.

What I really like about this particular page, however is the assortment of hats that the instructions have inspired that can be viewed below the instructions. Every one is markedly different from the others, giving a small glance into the personality of the owner and their personal flare of Steampunk.

So, if you don’t have a Steampunk hat yet, or are looking to dress yours up, this tutorial (but more so the pictures) might serve some inspiration! Happy modding!