Let me start out by saying that Steampunk isn't about being historically accurate, and that everything I'm about to tell you is entirely optional. That said, let's take a look at the history of screws! What many people don't realize is that before we had metal screws, wooden screws were in wide use for things like wine and oil presses. Generally, the invention of the screw is attributed to Archimedes in the 3rd century BC. That was a long, long time ago. Metal screws and even screwdrivers hav...
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:
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 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!
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.
As practically the entire Steampunk world knows by now, IBM has predicted that Steampunk will be the big new trend from 2013 to 2015. They based this prediction on their computers, which sift through broad swathes of the internet in order to see patterns that may help commercial industries. According to them, Steampunk has been on the rise for the last few years, and they predict that it will explode into peak popularity within the next two years. But what does that mean and how will it impac...
Many people have spent many hours discussing how to "properly" be Steampunk. Well, I turned it around and asked myself, "How can you not be Steampunk?"
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.
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.
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!
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...
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...
If you've been to a convention of any sort before, you know that there are good and bad panels, and that their inherent goodness or badness often has little to do with the actual content being discussed. That's because giving a panel is a skill that not everyone has. However, it is a skill that everyone could have! In this article, I'll tell you how to give a good panel on practically any subject. Image by Shannon Cottrell
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.
Once you have the skills to bring your ideas to life, the hardest part is coming up with ideas. What do you do when you can't think of something to make? What happens when your well of inspiration runs dry?
There was recently a case that came to national attention where a gentleman was arrested at an airport for having a watch that looked like a bomb, among other things. As it came out, the watch was, in fact, not a bomb, and the man was just an artist who was probably trying to make a statement of some sort. Well, that message was lost amongst the hail of people shouting that either he had been stupid for bringing that watch on the plane and so deserved to be arrested, or that it's a free count...
Full disclosure: I didn't create this. However, do what the picture below says, and your night will instantly become classy. Link One
As I said in this earlier post, there's no easy way to explain or define the Steampunk aesthetic. There are a large number of Steampunk tropes or "cues", as I call them, that bring to mind the feeling of Steampunk. These cues combine to push past the "not-Steampunk" threshold into firmly "Steampunk" territory.
One of the hardest, most intimidating parts of making your own Steampunk guns from scratch is the wooden stock of the gun. To be fair, it's probably the hardest part. It requires the most artistry, and is the easiest to mess up.
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.
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!
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.
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!
As you know, it's impossible to be a Steampunk without a pair of goggles. In fact, there are entire communities dedicated to judging other Steampunks based solely on their goggles. A Steampunk without goggles is like Samson without his hair, or a duck without a beak—totally powerless. As I'm sure you also know, the right pair of goggles can instantly render any outfit Steampunk, no matter what it looks like.
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?
I chose to make this a Steampunk iPad case, but you can change the details and make it look as modern as you'd like. As I said earlier, Steampunks probably shouldn't buy iPhones or iPads, but if you're going to get one, you may as well make it look cool, right? The iPad pictured below was borrowed from a friend of mine, though I should add that this design will easily work with tablet computers of any variety, Apple, Android, or otherwise.
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!
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!
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.
Many of us in the Steampunk community have pets that we love and cherish, myself included, and we want those pets to share our joy of Steampunk. In reality, they couldn't care less, but for some reason we still love to dress them up. Their reactions usually range from bemused acceptance to temper tantrums, but the awwwws we get from onlookers usually makes it worthwhile.
I'm not any good with Photoshop myself, but this article on Designer Daily has links to fifteen different steampunk-based Photoshop tutorials. Judging by the images of the finished products, they look really amazing!
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!
I know, "Steamdown" conjures images of a hoedown, but "Steampunk prop breakdown" is a bit of a mouthful, I thought.
You may or may not have heard of alt-rock band Panic! at the Disco, but a year and a half ago they released a single called "The Ballad of Mona Lisa", which had an accompanying music video that was Steampunk-themed. In fact, here's the video:
Last year, Instructables user Horatius.Steam created Dr. Brain, a small computer connected to a model brain that can tell stories and have Skype conversations. But one thing it couldn't do was print, so to solve that problem, he came up with this awesome Steampunk "Ticker Machine". A wooden base and glass dome make up the housing for a thermal printer, and the driver is hidden in a paper tube that's painted to look like wood. A slot at the bottom feeds the paper out from under the dome and a ...
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.
So, you want to throw a steampunk party and you have almost everything in place—your steampunk persona and iPhone are ready to go, and you've even got your own steampunk straight razor. What's missing? The Elixirator, that's what. The Elixirator is a steampunk cocktail-making machine by Botronics that can hold four different ingredients and mix up to ten drinks. It has a Picaxe microcontroller for a brain and was built using a lot of pieces from thrift shops. It has a plasma globe at the top ...
I collect straight razors from the Victorian era and then add some steampunk style. Step 1: Remove the Old Scales
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...
If you're like me, you've already spent a ton of money on your costumes, your badge, and your hotel room, and now you're looking for ways to cut costs. There are all kinds of ways to save money at DragonCon, but many of them involve violating the rules in some way, such as not buying a badge, sleeping on the floor in a hallway somewhere, etc. However, the one thing you can do that is totally not against the rules is eat for free. It requires a little self-discipline and a willingness to eat w...