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Poor Mans Steampunk

Updated on April 4, 2010
Thanks go out to my marvelous model Squidy.
Thanks go out to my marvelous model Squidy.
Sprockets and copper wire.
Sprockets and copper wire.
Fanciful braided twine, with spring medallion.
Fanciful braided twine, with spring medallion.
A Closer look.
A Closer look.

A How-To for easily making cheap steam punk Jewelry

It wasn’t too long ago that I stumbled across the style and genre known as “Steam-Punk.” I don’t know how it made its start, so I will leave the history telling for someone more fit for the job. For now I will stick to the task at hand. Two of the key ideas behind steam punk are gears, and being worn out and a bit rigged.  The latter helps us keep things easy and cheap.

Shopping for supplies: The first place to go would be your local hardware store. Most towns have at least one, if not two or three. While you are there, look for actual gears. I have yet to find them at any of the hardware stores near me, but it’s worth a try. Failing at that, you need to look for sprockets (they vary in size and type) and toothed lock-washers. Both of these things are quite common for any hardware store that sells nuts and bolts. (Also, Google images have some nice pictures if you want to know what you are looking for.) I got them for seven cents apiece, and you only really need between two and four for a necklace.
Next on the shopping list is wire. There are different types and different gages of it. A craft store or a Wal-mart may be a better place to look for the wire.
On the optional list some things you may want to pick up are twine and very small springs. I personally don’t like working with the springs, but they do add a cool look.

Assembly: The two parts as I will name them are: the medallion and the necklace. The necklace is the rope, twine, or chain that holds the medallion. For the necklace part, there are three options that I have used and think fit the look well. First is a normal run-of-the-mill three-string braid using twine. The second look is to take three different materials for your braid, i.e. twine, string, and a strand of black rubber cord. The third is to look up some fancy braiding techniques and try them out.

As for the medallion part, before you start wiring your pieces together, take a lighter to your sprockets and lock washers. At first you will get a black film that will wipe off leaving them a little less shiny. If you continue to hold a flame to them they get darker and pocked. Personally I think the burnt and pocked look fits the steam punk style better, but keep experimenting until you get the look you want. *Make sure that you hold the sprocket with a pair of pliers, as they will get literally cherry-red quite quickly. Also, don’t make a habit of breathing the fumes.* Once you have finished “prepping” your sprockets you can lay them into the pattern you want, the sky is the limit for this one. Then use the wire to bind them in place.  Make sure to be a bit random with your wire, to make it look “rigged” as we mentioned before. Once your wiring is done, use a pair of pliers to mold the wire firmly in place. Finish up with another run through the lighter and you're good to go. You now have a genuine hand-made steam-punk necklace for right around 45 cents.

Well, for now this is Judah bidding you all good luck and
farewell.

“May you be in heaven three days, before the devil knows you’re dead.”

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