How To Steampunk Anything

How To Steampunk Anything

What is it to Steampunk something?

Steampunk is all about using your hands to build and being independent just in case of the end times or the coming of a apocalyptic era. The words ‘Steampunking’, ‘Steampunked’ or ‘Steampunk it’ are words in their own right though not currently in the dictionary. It has become a popular way among the fans of the genre to describe the action of taking something, anything whether that be in decor, clothing, jewellrey and giving it a twist or even completely repurposing it so it enters into the steampunk aesthetic from its original state. Where once before it was not, it is now Steampunk.

There are endless ways this can be done to only the limits of the imagination. Some are very popular and a right of passage or tradition like making your first set of Steampunk goggles from toilet roll tubes or even painting a fake plastic gun from a charity shop  to look real and fit in to the fashion.

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Some ways are obvious others are a little more obscure in this article we are going to explain several ways you can ‘Steampunk something’ so it is suitable for the aesthetic. There are many to learn and once you have you will be closer to a true Steampunk Gent or lady prepared and capable.

-Add a Steampunk subculture motif charm to your jewellrey to make it Steampunk , motifs are popular in the Steampunk aesthetic some are the octopus, hot air balloon, cogs and gears, locomotive, dragonfly and keys. Adding a charm of one of these subculture motifs that are abundant online in places like ebay or etsy you can change a objects heritage to Steampunk. For example taking a locket necklace and adding a charm to the chain that shows a octopus will be instantly recognisable to Steampunk fans who will more than likely say to you do you love Steampunk too? on seeing it.

-Paint things in the Steampunk colour pallet to make it Steampunk, though there are no set Steampunk colours and any are allowed being exquisite and beautiful all in their own way, some colours are commonly used –  see the pallet below. Add these colours to any item and it is on its way to looking like Steampunk most easily done through painting but can be transferred to material dying, tattoos, art, home decor among others.

– Get jewellrey or pocket watch engraved with steampunk quote or initials. Engravings are a great way to personalise something metal or alternatively Steampunk it. By adding a famous quote like ‘A simple touch melted my tin heart’ or novelist initial like ‘H. G. Wells’ the famous Steampunk writer to the back of a pocket watch will make it recognisable as Steampunk. See our article on engraving.

-Reveal and highlight those inside cogs and gears, anything mechanical make it skeleton, popular items like cars, motor bikes, clocks, pocket watches anything with cogs and gears inside set them free to be admired. This is called skeletonising or turning something skeleton it is taking away it’s layers and revealing the inner workings which to a passionate Steampunk fan is one of the most beautiful sights of the aesthetic true to the Victorian and industrial era. It is also proven to be very popular and beautiful with those who know nothing about the genre and sort after.

-Use aesthetics reminiscent of Victorian era, Steampunk is based on the Victorian era with a futuristic twist so take anything Victorian or near to that era and it has a claim to being Steampunk. Vintage and antique are often a good basis for steampunk also as they reference bygone times and look Victorian in appearance.

– Rub ‘n Buff is a product made of wax and very, very fine metal grit. You can rub it on any smooth surface, and that surface will then look like metal. It’s a amazing product and every Steampunk fan should have it. Use it to turn plastic into metal from a distance. Use it on anything from plastic toy guns to plastic goggles.

– Ageing items like jewellrey and pocket watches will give a item a Steampunk look relevant to a apocalyptic time. For a pocketwatch you can file the edges so the paint chips off to make it look worn same with jewelry.

-Tea dying,  How to dye fabric with tea. This only works on natural fibers like cotton, wool, linen, and silk. It will not work on polyester or other synthetic fabrics. Aging clothing can give it a Victorian feel.

– Adding soot to your own face around your goggles is the look of a true cogger who means business. Not just your face add it to your accessories or clothing for a industrial dirty looking twist. Lots of steampunk character archetypes include soot in the overall look including mad scientist, mechanic, street urchin and more. Simple and superb.

– Use bronze lots of bronze,adding bronze will bring you closer to the Steampunk look. It is one of the most popular colours and metals in the genre and connected to the industrial eras popular usage.

– Add cogs and gears. If your love cogs and gears you are known as a ‘cogger’. They are a famous and very popular aspect of the fashion. Add them to jewellrey, clothing, decor and even your tattoo and it is essentially connected to Steampunk.

-Paint Effects & Finishes

A paint effect can completely change how someone perceives a object and it is used alot to change for instance a plastic toy gun into a Steampunk weapon accessory and is far cheaper than the real thing. Fans often have some tucked away just in case for a event or dress up. Over night you can knock up some Steampunk accessories or props to have you looking fabulous if need be and finish off you outfit.


These are ideas that will add to your repertoire and we recommend you give each a try to broaden your Steampunk horizons. You must keep in mind Steampunk can be anything, If someone says they are a steampunk and that their work is Steampunk, then they are a Steampunk. Steampunk is so individual, who is one person to say what is and what isn’t Steampunk? get your hands dirty maybe employ your own ideas and techniques to ‘Steampunking’ something it is anyone’s and you never know the whole Steampunk community might just be inspired by what you create. There is plenty of ideas out there on place’s like Pinterest and Instagram go have a look and get stuck in.

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