Say whatever you want, but Steampunk is primarily a maker culture. Consider that Steampunk has existed since the 1960s and yet more or less languished in obscurity until approximately 2005, which is when it made the leap to costuming. That costuming was what provided the leap to the tangible, despite the fact that Steampunk art had also existed for years.
If you're a Steampunk (or costumer of any variety) and you don't know what Rub 'n Buff is, this tutorial will make your life so much easier. You have no idea.
We see Steampunk props all the time and wonder where the maker found all their pieces. In fact, for some people it's almost like a game to examine each prop and see if they can name all of the original parts.
What I'm going to do in this tutorial is, as the title implies, teach you how to make nearly anything look like metal. This can especially come in handy in Steampunk, as most of us don't have the ability to machine brass. We do, however, have access to wood, PVC, and spray paint. Not to mention that, as a costumer, I can speak from personal experience when I say that things made of brass are really, really, really heavy!
Thrift stores! As a Steampunk, they can be your best friend, but it's easy to make a tragic mistake. This hands-on guide will help you navigate the murky waters of successful thrifting in order to find the hidden gems that will make your Steampunk outfit complete!
Steampunking Nerf guns by painting them is a pretty common practice among Steampunks, but unfortunately, the really amazing-looking ones involve literally taking the gun apart, painting it, and then screwing it all back together.
In the first part of this two-part guide, I covered cutting, grooving, beveling, making holes, and stamping/tooling. I hope you enjoyed that part, because we're pushing the accelerator to the floor and moving ahead at full speed!
While I am a writer with a degree in Creative Writing, I haven't published any Steampunk fiction. However, as a panelist and track director, I've been on panels with many well-known Steampunk writers and have gleaned insight from the things they've said. I've compiled some of those things into this post, which will hopefully be helpful to all of the writers out there!
Tea has been around for thousands of years, and as a result, tons of customs and ceremonies have sprung up around its consumption. Some cultures take their tea plain, while others put things in it. Sometimes there are special tea-holding vessels, other times not. Maybe there will even be special foods meant to be eaten with tea. However, in America, our appreciation of tea has waned. For many, iced tea is their biggest source of tea consumption, and it's imbibed with no ceremony whatsoever in...
Many people find Steampunk problematic for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is the glorification of an era of Western history that featured institutionalized slavery, racism, sexism, elitism, and many more -isms.
Let's say that you've got the look down, and you have your Steampunk props all ready to go. Congratulations! You're a Steampunk!
There are tons of uses for a flashlight. You can turn it into a laser, hack it into a night vision flashlight, or make it super bright. Or if you're a Steampunk Jedi, you turn it into a steampunk lightsaber. Jen from EPBOT started with a vintage flashlight and attached a piece of plumbing extension pipe. Screen splicing was glued on with E-600 for the grip and brass mesh with buttons and rhinestones makes up the 'control panel.' She added a silver gear to cover up the logo on the end. The LED...
There's a lot that goes into making a nice crystal radio set, so this is going to have to be broken down into two parts. The first part is the actual making of a functional radio, and the second part is making the whole arrangement look nice. In this part, I'm actually going to tell you more than just how to make a crystal radio, but I'm also going to explain how and why they work. Crystal radios are pretty Steampunk in and of themselves, since they were first developed in the late 19th centu...
I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there who have no idea what a plague doctor is/was, so I'll start with an explanation.
In my last article, I explained why text adventure games are some of the most Steampunk computer games out there. I even shared a free Steampunk text adventure game that I'd made myself!
Before I really get into this article, it's important to note that you do not need a Steampunk persona (or "steamsona") in order to be a Steampunk, or wear Steampunk clothes. Some people like to pretend to be a different person when dressed up in Steampunk clothing, but that is entirely optional, and only to be done if it appeals to you. That said, even if you aren't actually acting as your character, it may still be helpful to have one in mind when putting together an outfit. Personally, I'v...
The holiday season is creeping up fast, and if you're shopping for a Steampunk, it could be almost impossible to find anything for them unless you know exactly where to look. Luckily for you, some of us have done all of the work you'll need. Whether you're Steampunk shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, Chrismukkah (yes, that's real), Kwanzaa, or Festivus, you're sure to find something for that special lady or gentleman in your life by taking a stroll down this list!
I obviously do a lot of Steampunk projects, but there are a ton of things out there that I haven't tried yet. So, in an effort to broaden my horizons, I recently taught myself how to use Arduinos, which I plan to incorporate into some of my future Steampunk builds.
I've had a handlebar mustache for about five years now, and I've learned a lot over those years about how to grow and care for it. I will now share all of that information with you! Hopefully this will encourage you to grow one for Movember! The first thing I want to address right now is that I do not use wax on a daily basis. I kind of hate using wax, but I still do it on occasion. I shall teach you my secrets, starting from the beginning!
LEGO has not attempted a blimp, zeppelin, or similar airship since 1999, the 5956 Expedition Balloon which used highly specialized parts. This is unfortunate as these vessels are well and truly part of the pulpy adventure and steampunk scene.
A Steampunk's Guide to Sex was the subject of a recent successful Kickstarter campaign, and I now hold the finished book in my hands. As such, I can say (mostly) unreservedly that you should buy this book. Allow me to tell you why, before I get into the nitty-gritty about the book itself. Sex is something of an odd topic in America because it's perfectly legal, and yet taboo. Unlike things that are illegal and not taboo, like drug use, murder, theft, etc. What this means is that children can ...
You may or may not care about this, but sometimes it physically upsets me when I see gears stuck together haphazardly, with no concern for whether their teeth interlock. I mean, what do you do with non-interlocking gears?
Ever since the mid-2000s, there's been a lot of bandying back and forth on the Internet over what exactly Steampunk is. Some people think it's one thing, others another thing, and some think that it shouldn't be defined at all.
Nikola Tesla is one of the most tragic figures in the history of science, a history that is practically filled to the brim with tragic figures. Francis Bacon, a 16th century philosopher and scientist, caught pneumonia and died because he was trying to stuff snow into a dead chicken. Marie Curie died as a result of her long-term exposure to radioactivity, and her papers from the 1890s are too radioactive to touch without protective gear to this day.
Imagine a world where the Rococo period never ended, and it had a lovechild with Sid Vicious. Sounds unlikely? Well, it is. Still, historical accuracy wasn't the goal for this motley group of costumers.
This two-part series (second part here) will teach you literally everything you need to know in order to make pretty much anything out of leather.
This list may not blow your mind as much as it may make you want to blow your brains out, depending on how tired you are of goggles in Steampunk.
With this article, I'll be continuing the series I started with my recent plague doctor article. That is, examining tropes that may at first appear to not fit into Steampunk.
You may or may not have heard the term "greebles" or "kit-bashing" before, but if not, they may sound like nonsense. Particularly 'greebles', which sounds more like the name of a small, gremlin-like creature. However, I assure you that they are very important in prop-making, and if you can master them both, you'll be able to make intricate, great-looking props in hardly any time!
"Jef with one F" from the Houston Press compiled a list of the 10 best steampunk songs, but it's really a collection of the best steampunk music videos. There are some amazing videos in the collection, such as this one, "Brass Goggles" by Steam-Powered Giraffe. It's not the best-looking, but it's a great performance.
Those of you who have attended a Steampunk convention in the last year or two may have heard of something called "Tea Duelling" and been intrigued.
Sometimes I forget that I'm also a fiction writer, so I thought it might be a nice change of pace to share one of my stories with you. I wrote this piece awhile ago for an anthology that never came together and I'm tired of just sitting on it.
I recently set out to do a roundup post on the state of Steampunk underwear, but what I found surprised me: There wasn't any men's underwear! Did I accidentally stumble onto sexism in Steampunk?
First off, let me say this—using real steam power is dangerous, and heavy, and just generally not worth it when you have modern alternatives. Except, you know, if you're a Steampunk. Or this guy:
I don't know how many of you had this experience in your youth, but when I was a kid, I used to actively think about what would happen if I suddenly woke up in a fantasy land, or were to pass through a portal into another space and time. I knew it wouldn't really happen, but when you're a kid, these can be important issues to you. So I slept with my glasses on every night, just in case. Photo from George Pal's The Time Machine.
If you want to make clothes for your cat, you're on your own. As I recently said in this article, cats will just totally flip out if you make them wear things. Your dog may also flip out, but I've found them to be more tolerant, personally.
For creating my costumes I try to use only authentic materials, such as old leather, steel, brass, copper, wood and glass. Nearly nothing is glued, most parts are reversible connected with screws.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous characters in modern history, and has appeared in film more often than any other character. No less than 78 different actors have taken their turn at portraying the enigmatic deduction machine in various mediums, and each has brought their own foibles to the role. Some of the names may even surprise you: Tom Baker, John Cleese, Peter Cushing, Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee, Roger Moore, and even Leonard Nimoy.
This ship is over 4 ft. long with many moving parts all run from a live steam engine. There are two videos, one more detailed about the story and one blog showing how it was built. Hope you enjoy.
While the pope himself may not be Steampunk, you might be amazed at what is: the coronation stove. For those who don't know, it's been a tradition for a very long time to signal the election of a new pope (or the lack of a new pope) via colored smoke. More specifically, once the cardinals have all voted for the new pope during the conclave, the ballots are burned in a special stove in the Sistine Chapel, and the smoke is visible in St. Peter's square.