Steampunk inspiration and resources

Posts tagged “Jewelry

Mechanical Menagerie: Dragons

Ever since watching the campy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes I have been thinking about mechanical dragons. I have been sitting on a photo of the new mechanized Malificent-as-a-dragon from Disney’s parade for months, so I went out and scoured the interwebs for some more scaly Steampunk friends to join her. I hope you enjoy the gallery!


Tips for Makers: Taming Metal Part 4, “Sketch and Etch”

When I was in college I figured out that the most dangerous room on campus wasn’t what you might expect. It was the print-making lab where I spent a goodly portion of freshman year. There were several large and powerful presses that could crush your fingers, a large box full of sawdust soaked in kerosene from cleaning ink off of metal plates, and my personal favorite, a vat of acid for etching copper plates. Thankfully, you don’t have to use something nearly as corrosive and dangerous as acid to do your own etching.

Etched metal is absolutely gorgeous and oh-so-Steampunk. In short, etching is a process where metal is removed chemically or with electricity. The metal is selectively protected by a resistant medium (called the mask or the resist) and the etching occurs on the exposed metal surface.

The oldest method of etching, called intaglio, is the same one I used for print-making. A metal like copper, zinc or steel is covered with a substance that is resistant to the etching solution and the design is incised into the mask with a sharp tool, leaving some of the metal exposed. Then the plate is bathed in a corrosive solution which “bites” into the metal and leaves lines behind. If you are making a print, you rub ink into the lines, wipe off the plate and use a press to transfer the ink to paper. When making jewelry or other accessories the next step is often to treat the metal to give is the right patina or finish, ie color and shine.

To do etching at home, you don’t have to need much in the way of fancy equipment, just some salt water, batteries and some tape. It turns out that the toner used in laserjet printers is a resistant to some corrosive chemicals used in etching, and it is easy to transfer designs that you have scanned into the computer onto your etched thing-to-be as long as you print onto the right kind of paper. So you can draw whatever you want and print it in black and white, and then presto! you get to see it in metal. Sharpie and sticky-backed vinyl can also be used for your mask.

There is an article in the Steampunk Bible about making awesome etched tins, and the author Jake von Slatt has also posted a great page on the Steampunk Workshop website with pictures. You can check out the tutorial here.

I also found a nice youtube instructional video that focuses on jewelry.

Happy etching!

Looking for more ways to tame metal? Check out parts 1, 2 and 3 of the series.


Cog Couture: The Jewelry Designs of Angela Venable

Collar by Angela Venable

The first place I ran across Angela Venable’s work was on YouTube. She has posted a video tutorial about how she creates her Steampunk statement necklaces. I recognized many of the findings and paper from my own sojourns to Michael’s and I think we share a similar aesthetic. I’ll start posting some of my own art soon (the pesky camera is acting up on me) but until then I hope you enjoy this sampling of Angela’s jewelry and paper arts.

You can see more of Angela’s jewelry designs as well as the tutorial I mentioned here.