How To Make Steampunk Jewelry

by marciag

You can easily learn how to make steampunk jewelry if you are interested in this very popular Victorian / Edwardian style using simple tools and a bit of creativity and fun.

Ever since steampunk as a style in fashion, art and even home decor has become popular (and the interest in steampunk is rising even today), people have been looking to wear steampunk jewelry as body adornment.

If you're a fan of steampunk as well, you can either buy some beautiful pieces, or you can make your own. Of course having a few basic jewelry making skills is needed, but it's nothing that one can't learn easily with just a bit of practice.

The fun think about steampunk jewelry is that you can use and repurpose things that you already have at home.

How Do You Recognize Steampunk Jewelry?

I'm sure you've seen steampunk jewelry so far, but you might not know that this is how it's called. It is a style of jewelry that incorporates vintage watch parts, small gadgets, gears, cogs, old fashioned keys, antique buttons, various hardware bits and lots of gadget parts in interesting wearable pieces that can become nothing short of art.

Steampunk Jewelry Cufflinks
Steampunk Jewelry Cufflinks
Steampunk Watch jewelry
Steampunk Watch jewelry
Steampunk Necklace
Steampunk Necklace
Steampunk Gears Pendant
Steampunk Gears Pendant

If you check the jewelry pieces above, they all have something in common: they use various gadgets, watch elements, broken clock parts, even a cameo and hardware items that are so characteristic of the Victorian steampunk style.

Making steampunk jewelry is extremely versatile because there is so much one can do. Just think of the Victorian England of the late 1800s and the early 1900s, of the stylish fashion of the time, add to it a bit of science, sci-fi and fantasy elements such as time travel, new inventions, fun gadgets and even weapons of the time, and you have something called steampunk.

Steampunk Jewelry Supplies

There is a good list of what components you can add when making your steampunk jewelry. I bet many of these are already in your home, all you need is to find them around the house. Or in the hardware store.

Your main tools:

  • a pair of pliers
  • hot glue or craft glue
  • scissors
  • resin
  • jewelry parts including findings, cuff links, etc

Items with a vintage / Edwardian style

  • chains
  • cameos
  • antique and vintage buttons
  • mini photo frames
  • lace, ribbon
  • velvet
  • corset closures
  • filigree elements
  • lockets
  • tiny or miniature bottles

Industrial and tech style elements with a hint of sci-fi

  • old fashioned watch parts
  • clock hands
  • antique compass elements
  • springs, coils of brass, copper and other metal
  • interesting vintage gadgets
  • moving parts
  • antique typwriter keys
  • skeleton keys

One place I found many vintage style objects that lend themselves beautifully to make steampunk jewelry is at garage sales. You'd be surprised just what kind of things people no longer need that will be perfect for your jewelry making purposes.

If you don't have easy access to these kinds of things, you can find many of these parts online as well - I prefer Amazon because they are the most reliable and trustworthy around.

Easy Steampunk Jewelry Tutorials To Get Started With

The are easy to do even if you are a beginner to making jewelry

Make an easy steampunk brooch
This is a very easy introductory tutorial to making steampunk jewelry. The only extra thing you might need to hunt down is thin aluminum sheet.

Several Steampunk Jewelry Tutorials
A great overview of steampunk jewelry with examples of how to make them - there is even a fun steampunk gun included!

Steampunk Jewellery Tutorial At DeviantArt
I left the best at the bottom. I really love this tutorial. On the page you'll see a thin stripe of image - simply click on it and you'll see the entire tutorial greatly enlarged. Absolutely love it!

Make These Moving Steampunk Pendants And Charms

Ideas For Making Your Steampunk Jewelry

It is very difficult to give a tutorial of a particular steampunk jewelry piece because unlike when making regular jewelry let's say with wire wrapping technique, what supplies you will have at home I might not - and viceversa.

For pretty much everything else you need some beads, wire, thread, the usual. But for steampunk? Not so much.

The main idea when making this type of futuristic-retro style jewelry is to lay down all the items that you have around and try to see the final piece in your mind.

You do need some resin, strong glue and a few other tools like some jewelry pliers, a toothpick (for the glue), scissors, as well.

  • For example let's say you have an old cameo - you can use that as the pendant focal point which will be embellished with the gears and other gadgets.
  • Or you can use a tiny locket which can be attached with jump rings to the various clock parts.
  • Or how about a locket with an antique skeleton key attached to hand on the bottom?

What I like about making steampunk jewelry is that you really don't need to be a good jewelry designer or artisan. You simply need to learn a few basic things on how to put with glue or jump rings elements together to make them look the part with a combination of industrial revolution and Victorian England in a vintage technology look - man vs machine if you will. And I bet you ever piece you make will be truly unique.

If You Are Serious About Learning To Make Steampunk Jewelry

This books is a must
Steampunk Style Jewelry: Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklac...

How To Antique Your Jewelry To Look Truly Steampunk

The most popular material for steampunk jewelry is brass and antiqued copper. For the material to make it truly look antique, you need to oxidize it. There are several ways to give this antique patina before you make it into a finished piece and here are a few of them explained.

  • If you have a simple creme brulee kitchen torch, take your brass and your copper elements (make sure you don't have any items nearby that could catch fire, burn or get destroyed by the torch) and start heaving the pieces with the flame.

    After a few minutes the elements will become very dark in color. You can play with the torch by holding the flame on various parts of the pieces more than on other pieces for some interesting visual effects. Once the piece is dark enough, take some steel wool (I use the grade 0, the thinnest possible) and polish the metal so the rising surfaces will change lightly color and the piece ends up looking truly vintage.
  • Another way to add patina to the piece is to put it into a solution of vinegar and salt (the video tutorial on this is below, it's very cool!)
  • My own pieces of LOSLiver of Sulphur (also called LOS by jewelry artists) is a great way and a tiny piece goes a long way. But beware - it stinks really bad like rotten eggs! You can find LOS either as liqud solution, or as hard piece from which you can chop off a tiny bit (the size of a bean). First clean your piece of grease or other dirt. Then mix a bean size LOS to hot, but not boiling water.

    Let the piece dissolve and then add your brass or copper (can also be used on sterling silver) in it. You can leave it for a few minutes in the solution until it changes color. Once it's done, use the steel wool to polish it for extra effect.

There are several other ways to do it involving boiled eggs, for example, and although this is the method I started out with a few years ago, I never really got the results I actually wanted. For me liver of sulphur worked always the best.

Antique Your Using Using Non-Toxic Methods

Do You To Wear Steampunk Jewelry?

Updated: 05/23/2013, marciag
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Have You Ever Tried To Make Steampunk Jewelry?

Tara_W on 08/21/2013

I've never tried to make Steampunk jewelry but I love the style and this page has given me some great ideas.

kimbesa on 08/19/2013

I don't wear it, but I would if it fit the event. It's really cool jewelry.

Sethisis on 05/24/2013

Fantastic Ideas! The steampunk look is wonderfully creative =]

belinda342 on 05/23/2013

What great ideas! I love the look of Steampunk jewelry and after reading this, I just might try my hand at making some of my own. (I need to gear up for the next GenCon!)

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