Steampunk Outfits Through the Years…

For maybe 6-7 years i’ve been involved in the steampunk community, it’s been a big part of my life, and one of the reasons I got in to costume making. Though, like a lot of UK steampunks, to me these are outfits rather than “costumes” (I’d wear a lot of these out on a regular day too). One thing I love about this community is the sheer overwhelming inspiration at every turn, so much creativity by everyone involved, even if it’s picking out premade bought stuff to put together in to an outfit. So I just thought i’d share a few of mine from over the years, from way back when I first started out and organised a meetup in North Wales, to now living in Lincoln, at the heart of the UK steampunk scene!

First one, (third from the left) my first steampunk outfit ever, with an ill fitting shirt, boots that hurt like hell, and other pieces from charity shops.

First asylum, more charity shop clothes, and feeling totally underdressed compared to everyone around!

Maybe two years later? Had a mohawk and had fake dreads put in for this. I wish I knew what makeup was back then -_- One of my first tries at clothes making, turning sari fabric in to a bustle. This photoshoot was so awkward. Photographer cornered me outside, asked me to pose in the greenhouse, and before this was asking me to pose like I was awe inspired by something magical I’d seen in the distance. I threw my hands to the sky and gasped in awe, and it looked SO, SO BAD. Then I asked if I could just do a normal one.

Bought a vintage bridesmaids dress and discovered the beauty of wigs, feeling fancy here

Crappy mirror selfie ahead. Wish I hadn’t got rid of that skirt, but i’m not sure red is for me.

The bridesmaid dress in full at the next Asylum. Also this hat I found in a charity shop which I’m still not entirely sure what kind it is but it’s great for keeping the rain off.

A couple of years ago, I wanted to do a casual steampunk witch type thing. Might post a tutorial on how to make the hats, they’re super easy.

Last year me and my partner decided to do a steampunk/dystopian fusion look, little bit mad max inspired. Getting more in to making my own stuff to wear, did the goggles, arm warmers, and stuff hanging off belts, which is totally a thing in the dystopian future.

This was a test for it beforehand,when I was thinking of wearing leggings and a cape as well.

More witchy look with a dress my brother got me, from a charity shop somehow, amazing the stuff you can find! I made the birdhouse staff too from a wooden  basic bird house, then adding moss and fimo bits.

  

and finally, a more girly look I threw together for the last day of Asylum last year. The parasol I made years ago, it’s got toadstool style pattern on top, and the same but with no wig.

 

So that’s it for now, this Asylum i’m planning on a few different things, one being the Mei outfit, which I might do a steampunk adaption of, and just generally want to keep improving! Hopefully this shows you can start out crap and with no knowledge of putting together costumes, but with practice can end up with something decent.

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The Gloves

Ok so here’s my progress for the gloves. I found a pair on ebay that were mega cheap and basically perfect for like £2, here’s a link! http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/232273824514?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&var=531518613383&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

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I traced around the front bit, and then make this sort of shape on paper.

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Cut it out in EVA foam to give it rigidity (Try saying that word multiple times)

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Was very lucky to find this material in a bargain bin, this photo is awful, but it’s beautiful in real life.Traced so it overlaps the foam a little bit, and just glued it on.

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Drew out the heart shape in foam, it was a little too big to be honest, I wish i’d measured this all first.

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Getting out the contact adhesive again and gluing that one. For the white bits, the tips of the fingers I used some of the same PVC material as on the coat to make it sturdier, and then realised I had a bottle of white puff paint, which was actually perfect for the lines. But you do need a sturdy hand… More PVC for the line around the heart too.

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Looking alright! The only thing is I got too much contact adhesive everywhere, so now i’m slowly removing it with cleaning alcohol.

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More gluing to put it all together, and it’s done! I had to cut in to the foam a little more for the triangle though, the shape wasn’t quite right, but i’m pretty happy with this.

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Mei Checking In.

And it’s done! I really doubted if this would work, and spent a lot of time frustrated and wanting to throw it away, but for a first attempt i’m super happy with the outcome.

I mostly just chose this costume since it means I can wear my glasses to an event to be honest, long term lazy.

Full photo with the trigger and back piece on. You can pull the trigger to turn it on, unfortunately I put the switch the wrong direction, so the trigger goes side to side instead.

Glow from the back…

Thanks for reading, i’ll be back soon with updates from the coat! I actually know how to make clothes already, so that will be a more helpful guide.

Come on everyone, just a little bit longer.

At this point I forgot about the bit sticking out the side, which I had no idea how I was going to get that shaped. I experimented with heating foam again, but it just didn’t work out. I found a bottle that was the perfect shape and size, but too heavy. In the end I found a small bottle of glitter glue I had that was right for it, so I sprayed and painted that up, then made a base for it from foam. I wanted it to be secure in the back piece, hence the long bit of foam sticking out the bottom, thats just for balance.

Inside the back piece, I found a use for that self adhesive vinyl- Here’s where I planned to put the LED, so hoped that putting shiny paper down would make it reflect the light out better. I covered the whole inside, and made a kind of floor, and stuck the LED through that, so that the wires were hidden at the very bottom.

…like so. Pretty messy and I just wedged in purple foam to stand it up. But it works! I also hastily cut a hole in one side for the bottle. Finding the plastic globe was an absolute nightmare. I tried buying half baubles off ebay, but in the end I found the perfect size on the packaging for this like, runner bean teepee thing my nan bought. I nearly cried when I finally found the perfect clear plastic semisphere. That’s what my life is now.

I cut a hole in this bit for the battery pack to go in to. There is also a switch attached, which was to hang down between the two sections and stick underneath, then the plan was to stick the trigger to it so you could click it to turn on.

I found an Etsy store where someone had made the decals, which you can buy made up properly, he says you can just print it out if you want. Which I am eternally grateful for and should probably send some money their way because this was a lifesaver. https://www.etsy.com/listing/477896474/mei-gun-waterslide-decal-set

Also gold sprayed the lower bit, used the hole punch to make a hole and screws,  and made little bits for the side from more foam.

To stop the battery pack falling out the front and being visible, I made a plug that was icicle shaped, which just slotted in through the front of the barrel. It’s just scrunched up paper painted up.

Painted in the side bits. If i did this again i’d make this more 3D.

And stuck more decals on.

At which point I realised I forgot that gold bit that goes on the back, and the white cap on top. Back to foam!

The icicle on the inside.

I stuck a bit of unpainted foam between the back piece and barrel, just to hold all the electronics in, as you can see some wires poke out for the battery pack in the barrel. It gave more of a surface for it all to glue together nicely too.

..now I realised that the handle was too small. So I ragequit for a little bit, then just quickly remade it. Here you can see where the switch is as well, I just cut a semi circle for it to be glued in to, it holds steady between the two sides.

The handle would be supporting a  lot of weight, so I stuck some needles in to the smaller bit of it to stick in to the cannister. This worked well, and it feels very sturdy. For the top part, I used an actual screw stuck in to it to hold it in place, it would have just fallen otherwise.

The final steps were just polishing everything off and gluing the back to the front piece, which was more nerve wracking than I feel it should have been. In the next post i’ll show the finished product!

 

Cold as Ice!

Everything online recommends using Plastidip spray to coat foam EVA, so I listened to their advice. And I pass it on to you, definitely do that. Although don’t do what I did and go in heavy handed and close, the layers ended up a bit thick so I ended up with bobbly bits. On the whole though, even coating, and dries very quickly!

This is my makeshift spray station- A bamboo pole between the table and wall, and some string suspending it.

For the barrel, I bought an incredible metallic blue paint, after spending waay too long researching it. This is after one single coat…

The white acrylic paint on the other hand, awful, just awful. It ruined the smoothness of the tube on the bottom, and no matter how many coats you add, it just is streaky and horrible. So later on I bought some white spray paint to lay on thick, and it worked so much better.

Learn from my mistakes, please.

Now a bit I was dreading, the back piece… I just couldn’t work out how to do it for ages. Here’s a base shape that I managed to work out, it’s not 100%, but it looks right in the final thing. Also in the photo on the right, you can see my first attempt vs last attempt, which ended up being super different.

 

Adding more to it… Bottom left is the bit on the inside, it was an awkward shape to make in foam since it’s kind of round, so I just made a stack of foam then heated a foam circle on top to give it that shape. Bottom right is after plastidip, so happy with it at that point!

 

  

Starting to come together after I begin adding colour! Coated many times in white spray paint, then used the same blue as for the barrel. Those round holes were made using one of those hole punches shaped like a pen…they’re super cheap but also just the right size to punch screw shaped holes or make tiny foam cylinders.

In the next post i’ll go over the extras and details.

This Could Have Gone Better…

So this is when my not-quite-a-dremel arrived. I ordered one with a flexi end, to be more detailed, but that didn’t work so I just did it with the main section. Would not recommend with cheap ass models… However later on when they sent a new flexi thing it worked great. So here you can see me butchering it.

Went a different direction with the barrel so that it no longer looks like something from the dregs of a bargain bin. Two rectangles, folded over and glued together, with the side cut out, and layering bits on to the end to sand away.

..ehh bit messy but it kind of gave the shape I was looking for.

This probably looks like a bit of a leap, but actually it’s just gluing all the different pieces together, which was a lot of fun to see it come together!

I didn’t make the back piece yet, because I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it yet and wanted to keep options open for maybe using white clay/fimo. Up next, spraying!

Ice Gun, Coming Up!

I thought i’d post my progress along the way as I work on a cosplay, for my own reference and anyone who’s interested! It’s not necessarily the best way to do it, but this made a good result for a complete and total beginner.

First step, tracing over the gun cosplay reference in Illustrator to create a vector I could print and cut out. If anyone wants the PDF let me know, handily it fits on an A4 page!

I cut out bits that would be separate pieces.

I bought a roll of EVA foam from Ebay to work with, it was possibly a little thin for some bits, so I also cut up a cheap mousemat I had. I traced around sections from the template, and glued together with contact adhesive (This stuff is incredible how have I never heard of it before!)

For the tube, I tried out just rolling up a bit of foam, but it looked pretty awful

..so this is how I did it instead. Cut along one edge of a loo roll, cut the ends to size, and sellotape to reseal. Then glue on the foam with contact adhesive, the edges going a little over the edge of the tube. Foam circles glued to where the top of the loo roll tube was, and then I used a hot air gun to slowly heat up the hanging edges and press them inwards to get that shape. There will be a gap on top still, so just glued a circle on that.

 

Front section traced and cut, make sure to use a scalpel or craft knife! So much more precise, but also dangerous, so be very careful. I made fake screws by just rolling up some foam and gluing to itself.

The arch at the front, I traced it out like this, then added a flat bit along the longest edge. I would advice adding some strong wire to keep it in shape, which I didn’t but.. hindsight.

 

 

And this is where I stopped for a few days. I thought that self adhesive vinyl stuck to a card tube would be a good way of doing the barrel. Spoiler alert, it is not. Look at this. It could have been so good 😦

More progress next time! Thanks for reading