Just stick some gears on it and call it steampunk.

I don’t normally step outside my comfort zone and do something even remotely trendy, not even for Halloween.  Well, until now.

A friend told me in passing that he had a particular fondness for a sub-genre of science fiction called Steampunk.  According to Wikipedia

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery,[1] especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century, or a post apocalyptic enviroment. Therefore, steampunk works are often set in an alternate history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, and China Mieville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace’s Analytical Engine.

Intrigued by the visual images and having a secret fondness for mechanical things and a growing stash of gears, skeleton keys and pocket watches, I decided to discover more about steampunk.  To my delight, there have been plenty of ideas using steampunk elements – including jewelry, costumes, and art.

Science geek and amateur artist that I am, and plum out of ideas for a costume for a Halloween party I go to every year with friends from my old crime lab days, I decided to give it a shot at making a homemade costume.  I figured it couldn’t be any lamer than the costumes I’d thrown together in the past (gypsy, a beatnik poet, a Miss America contestant).

Don’t laugh, but I managed to fake my way into a steampunk gentleman’s costume, making a steampunk-ish hat, and some clothes I cobbled together from the thrift store, my closet, my husband’s closet, the hardware store and the craft store.  The only props I had to buy at the Halloween costume shop was my felt hat and the faux pocket watch.


I scavenged a leather pocket off an old leather purse of mine to turn it into a small pouch to carry my necessities in and used it for the hatband.  I made the gear-themed watch chain to hang a fake monocle on (not pictured).

I used an old scarf of mine for a faux ascot tie.


And even though I totally cheated on my steampunk goggles, shamelessly using plastic welding googles that I painted with bronze acrylic paint over a layer of white gesso, I think they turned out well:


I hot glued a LOT of gears and a faux watch face and a compass on it.


My friend objected to the plastic used.  Not very Victorian, I admit.  But I reminded him that I threw the hat together the morning of Halloween (nothing like doing things the very last minute now, huh?).

Okay, so it’s the ESSENCE of steampunk, if not true authentic steampunk.

But hey, at least I avoided the travesty of ONLY gluing some gears on it and calling it steampunk.


No one laughed at me at the party, they actually knew what I was going for, and they thought it was really kind of cool.

At some point I’ll actually attempt to make homemade steampunk goggles the more authentic way.

I really had so much fun with this.  I really want to make more steampunk art and jewelry.

I’ve already made an art journaling layout that I had some fun with.


Closeup of the left side:

And the right:


Yeah, I liked it.  It’s a keeper.

Wanna see more?

Here’s a list of someone’s favorite Steampunk movies.

About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in Art Journaling, Steampunk. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Just stick some gears on it and call it steampunk.

  1. Very nice. I particularly like the goggles on the dude from your journal page… 🙂

  2. Phil says:

    Love it! I’m a big fan of Steampunk, and I personally think you nailed it! Excellent creativity and versatility working with what you had available. Thanks for sharing. You rocked the look.

  3. Aw, thanks Phil!

    It was fun throwing it together. I’m glad you like it!

    I’m already thinking of making a NEW steampunk costume – a steampunk Victorian Lady with a beautiful dress and a corset and all. I’m eager to start collecting my supplies to make that for next year.

    I will keep scouring the thrift shops for a dress I can modify.

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