Steampunk: Sources for gears

Gears (or cogs) are a pretty iconic element of Steampunk crafting, but finding gears is a bit hard.  There are the Tim Holtz sprocket gears (I think that Michael’s sells them for about $7 for a set of 12) and you can order sets from eBay or Etsy too. Apparently you can find them from hardware stores – but I haven’t ever seen them in any of my local hardware stores.

So, I was really excited to hit one of the Halloween costume/party stores that pop up seasonally and finding a “bag of gears” from Forum Novelties in the Steampunk costume section.

the 'bag of gears'

The ‘Steampunk costume section’ was less than half a shelf, and included some cheaply made spats, aviator hat, some plastic rings and a few other inexpensive things, but I picked up a hat (a little back sinamay facinator) and the bag of gears.  I really like the wide variety of gears in the bag – lots of sizes and materials. This was about $4.

Close up of the gears

The next source I wanted to share is again from Michael’s – there are 90 pieces in this package – a few different designs in a few different colours.

gears from Michael's Bead Landing line

Although right now I’m not working on any gear-needing projects, I ended up picking up 4 packages of these – just because they were on 40% + 25% off, and I figure that it’s better to have too many than too few if I start in on a project.

Crafting – jewellery – image pendants


Some of the finished pendants

While browsing Etsy for crafting inspiration a few months ago, I really liked the glass tile pendants that seem to be all over the place over there. These are made with glass tiles and images, sealed on the back with a glaze. Funny enough, at the Arts & Crafts market we had at work before the holidays, there was one seller who had them, but none of them appealed to me. I spent some time looking in craft stores and the glass tiles that are finished and totally clear are nearly impossible to find. I found ONE package at the sewing trade show (back in October?) but they were way too tiny to make pendants with. I generally figured that supplies weren’t available in Calgary, and made a mental note to keep my eyes open when shopping in the USA next. (I hate shopping online.)

Another variation that I’ve seen are crafters taking old Scrabble tiles and making pendants from them – putting an image on the smooth side, adding that clear glaze over top, and then adding a bail to the back where the letters are. A similar variation uses old dominoes. Again, these seem really cute, but I’m not really going to flea market shop for old Scrabble sets or dominoes, nor raid my own games just for a pendant.

A third variation I’ve seen uses pre-made bezels, (or bottle cap alternatives) which I spent a lot of time looking at on the Fire Mountain Gem website. I really spent far too much time on that site actually. Good thing my purse wasn’t nearby when I was surfing, or it might have been a very expensive browse!

So, after finding that the different styles required supplies that I didn’t have readily available to me, I found another solution instead, in tools/supplies used for stained glass.

I made one pendant to start with – one side is a black and red brocade from my corset-making fabric stash, and the other is a 1920’s style collage.

Then since I had all of the supplies, I made a few others – including a few with a steampunk vibe.

What do you think?

finished pendants

Some of the finished pendants - steampunk lady, robot, cuthulu, octopus, lady in a boat with an octopus, absinthe advertisment, and more

finished pendants

Another view of some of the finished pendants.

Most of the finished pendants, in two sizes. Other images are Lawren Harris prints, Klimpt prints, and more of the cool collage images in blues and greens.

Steampunk – Accessories – Iconography

Some iconography that seems fairly common throughout the Steampunk genre include:

  • Cogs and gears
  • Watch hands
  • Keys and locks (and those beautiful escutcheons that go with them…)
  • Jailer’s keys on large keyrings
  • Airships, zepplins, flying machines… similarly anything with wings
  • Propellers
  • Tea! (hurrah!)
  • Corset lacing
  • Rivets, grommets, buckles, suspender clips (both above and below the waist styles)
  • Trains – steam engines of course!
  • Goggles
  • Octopus and squid
  • Compass, maps, other things for exploring the world
  • Bees and flies, dragonflies
  • Diving helmets
  • Ray-guns
  • Test tubes
  • Robotics (but with lots of rivets and exposed wiring, mad scientist vs. star wars)
  • Submarines (all Jules-Verne inspired on that one)
  • Cameos and silhouettes

http://www.ittybittyevilkitty.comI think that ravens would be relevant as well, though I haven’t yet seen much of that in my web-browsing.  I think tying the keys and things back in with the EGL movement, crowns and those sort of icons would work as well, in moderation.

What else?

I wanted to record some of this here, as reference, when I come back and am thinking about it…

Updated Jan 1 2011, Jan 7th, 2011