Oct 26, 2014

Gears, Gadgets, Goggles...Steampunk!

Every year our church has a Harvest Festival, which includes a chili cook-off, entertainment, trunk-or-treat, and costumes!  I love costumes and thought this year it would be fun to dress in a steampunk style and decorate the "trunk" of our van to match.  In case you don't know what steampunk is, here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery,[1] especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power.

So basically, I like to think of steampunk as Victorian Sci-fi, i.e. really fun costumes!  Of course a trip to the thrift store was in order.  As luck would have it, I discovered a local thrift store had already gathered steampunk inspired clothing and decorations and made a whole display from them.  Plus, it was half off women's clothing that day, so I got my jacket, black velveteen vest, and crushed velvet skirt all for $7!

I found a lace skirt at another thrift store.  Add that to the hat, belt, jewelry, boots, and victorian blouse I already had and I was well on my to completing my costume.

The victorian era blouse with the lace collar was just what this costume needed.

My pocket watch necklace originally made its appearance on my blog back in January of 2012.  It was the perfect accessory for this outfit.  The other necklace and wristwatch that I wore on my belt was already in my stash.

I just gathered and pinned the skirt up in the front to showcase the lace skirt underneath.

Of course, no steampunk outfit would be complete without the goggles!  I found a pair of green glasses with kaleidoscope lenses at a thrift store for 25¢.  I cut the sides down with my Dremel and drilled a couple of holes in each side so that I could attach some strapping. 

But first, I painted them gold and then layered on some copper and black metallic paint to distress them.  I super glued earrings to the side for decoration and used leather lacing to secure my straps.

I picked up a jewelers loupe at Harbor Freight for a few dollars and clipped it in place.

My husband and I like to match (or maybe its me that likes to match), either way it was time to work on his costume.  I picked up some welding goggles at Harbor Freight and got to work.  After taking them apart, I first sprayed them with a plastic primer hoping that it would make the spray paint adhere better.  Even so, the gold and silver spray paint crinkled up, but it was perfect for what I wanted.  Using a scrunched up piece of plastic wrap, I dabbed on copper, silver, and black metallic paints for a distressed effect.

I added some strapping and placed it on his top hat.

I found a lone knee pad at a thrift store and thought it would be perfect for his shoulder.  It basically got the same paint treatment as the other gadgets.  I added some straps and a buckle and he wore the pad on his shoulder with the straps going around his chest and back.

My husband is a good sport about dressing up, but it always helps to sweeten the deal if there are weapons involved.  In fact, we have been a gangster and flapper, pirates, a medieval knight and maiden, and Indiana Jones characters, to name a few...all involve weapons!  So this year it was no different.  Our futuristic steampunk weapons are in reality a squirt gun and toy gun that were worked over by a paint brush.

I used the same metallic paints as I did with the goggles.  I didn't worry too much about getting everything perfect considering they've probably been through a few battles already!

For the trunk-or-treat, we decorated our van in the same theme.  I rounded up things I had at home, and picked up a couple of things at the thrift stores.  My son had a plasma light that added some electric fun to the scene.  I also downloaded some vintage film footage of the industrial age and had it playing on the laptop.  To complete the whole feeling, we blasted Electro Swing music from the speakers...its a rather catchy genre of music!

The old dictionary was turned to the page featuring gears.  I highlighted the entry with this fun hands-free magnifying glass.

It was a fun style to dress in and made for a fun evening of food, entertainment, and handing out lots of candy!

I like to link to these great parties!


  1. Brilliant work! How fun! Visiting you from the Boogieboard Cottage.

  2. Fabulous! Our sons went through a Steampunk phase and had fun making costumes and such. We saw a museum exhibit when we visited San Diego one year that was great! http://www.rozyhomemaker.blogspot.com/search/label/steampunk

  3. This is awesome Susan! I am beyond impressed with those goggles - be on the lookout for a feature next Monday;) Thanks for linking to the Craftastic Monday party at Sew Can Do!

  4. You are so creative! I would have never seen the steam punk in the ordinary items you transformed. Awesome!

  5. Fantastic! I love how they all turned out. Ingenious use of all those bits to make awesome costumes!

  6. WOW! Total works of art, Susan! I'm so impressed. Your husband is such a good sport. If they had prizes for best costumes and trunks, yours would be the winner, HANDS DOWN! Happy Halloween!

  7. How fantastic! Your attention to detail is extraordinary, Susan! What a fun theme; great job!

  8. Awesome! and so imaginative!! Love it!!

  9. These are pretty great! We love Steampunk, too. Though we didn't have time for fun costumes this year, last year we had a Steampunk Katniss, Steampunk Engineer, and a Steampunk Warrior. Our Katniss won the local competition in her age group, but unfortunately our other two were in the same age group. It came down to the two of them, but the Engineer edged out the Warrior! I cant' wait to peruse the rest of your blog, it looks as though you have some fun stuff here!

  10. Love, love, love it all. Your outfit is beautiful. This is all so clever. Daughter and I are steampunk fans. She is using a steampunk theme for her art GCSE exams. I will send her a link to this post as inspiration. xx


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate the feedback and always look forward to reading what you have to say! Susan