Steampunk Fashion Jewelry and Polymer Clay

Steampunk Fasion on Etsy

Edgy, New, Old, and Mechanical. These Are the Words I Came Up with to Describe this Sub-culture Fantasy Genre:

The other day, a jewelry designer (Wild Heather is her name) mentioned something about Steampunk Jewelry on Etsy. Of course with me always in the know (not), I said "Yeah, there sure is a lot of cool stuff on Etsy alright!"

Well after doing some quick follow up research, I  discovered that not only is Steam Punk cool and edgy (what I had correctly assumed by the name), it is an entire sub-culture that is quickly gaining popularity!

Similar to how cyber-punk fashion taps into computer gidgets and gadget types of things, steampunk style follows more of a Neo-Victorian fantasy genre based on steam engines, cogs, gears, clockworks, etc. All with a spooky Goth-like, highly decorative, yet also mechanical feel.

Those of you who know me well, know that Edward Scissorhands is my all time favorite movie. So when I saw the steampunk art on Etsy, I was very excited! How fun would it be to make some steam punk jewelry out of polymer clay! I’ll have to dig around in my junk box for keys and clock parts to make with some really cool polymer clay beads or pendants or something.

Now don’t worry, I most likely will never be seen wearing a black lace bustier with copper rivets and a periscope. But I may have to put on my steampunk diy hat and come up with some fashion accessories to go with my jeans and T-shirts.

After all, I do like it when the other Moms on the playground ask me, "What it is that you’re wearing?" Who really wants to get lost in the crowd anyway?!!

  1. Cindy Lietz, 26 April, 2008

    Tell me… what do you think about Steampunk? Can you relate to any of it? Or do you feel strongly that retired mechanical gears, parts and pieces should all be buried for good in the junk yard heap?

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Clay Texture Sheets and Other Cool Tools for Polymer Clay

  2. Danelle Dragonetti, 05 May, 2008

    I love Steampunk / Neo Voctorian. My apartment is done in it! I own more that $5,000.00 in corsets not to mention the long curtian dress made from silk, satin and chaffon. Then there’s the bustels. Looking for a good parasal now.. maybe a couple to match all those corsets. White goth makeup and fangs just seem to set it all off – not unlike Peta Wilson’s charactor. (I even have that exact outfit!)All I have to say is.. Keep it coming!

  3. Cindy Lietz, 07 July, 2008

    Wow Danelle that’s a lot of corsets!! Sounds like you really go all out with the Steampunk fashion. Hope you find that parasol you’re looking for!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Summer Polymer Clay Contest – Online Bead Treasure Hunt

  4. Nelda Airington, 16 August, 2008

    I found Steampunk a few months ago and love it.I’m having sooo much fun taking old watches and broken jewelry and making something totally new.I have some pics on Flickr.

  5. Cindy Lietz, 17 August, 2008

    Nelda that is so cool!! I’ve seen some such wonderful jewelry pieces made with watch parts, hardware and re-purposed jewelry. I bet if we put our heads together we could come up with some cool ways of incorporating polymer clay as well!

    Cindy’s last post..Polymer Clay Tutorial – Make Your Own Buffing Wheels

  6. Cindy Lietz, 17 August, 2008

    Nelda, I forgot to mention this… In a couple of other posts I’ve discussed using old silverware to make jewelry pendants. You may be able to work these spoon jewellery ideas in with your Steampunk clock parts!

    How to Make Polymer Clay Pendants
    Make Pendant Spoon Jewelry

  7. Nelda Airington, 17 August, 2008

    Here’s a picture of a really gaudy one I made. The face is of Polymer clay. All the other pieces are vintage earrings, watch parts, etc. >>

  8. Cindy Lietz, 17 August, 2008

    That is pretty fun Nelda! Love the term Tribal Steampunk! Have you ever thought about antiquing your pieces? It would add an aged look that might look cool. Shoe polish or paint works for this aging technique… or you could use those cool distressing inks and embossing powders from Tim Holtz!

    Cindy’s post..Getting Your Beads To Shine with a Dremel Buffing Wheel

  9. Anna Sabina, 22 November, 2008

    Nelda: Oh my, I LOVED your jewelry. I recently bought 2 big bags of old jewelry at a garage sale and have been weeding through all the twisted chains. But I LOVE finding treasures and saying “Now how ugly is that!!! It is the ugliest thing I’ve seen but it’s a keeper.” I also purchased some old watches but most were batter operated, they still have a nice face and a few other parts to use.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 22 November, 2008

    How fun Anna! The ugly stuff can make the most interesting pieces of jewelry! I’d love to see what you end up making!

  11. Seedplanter, 19 February, 2009

    I’m so excited about the possibilities of this! I have a couple of boxes on my closet shelf of stuff my dad had saved. Just little odds and ends…and I have the coolest vintage tie clip of a gold hammer. Also old watches. I’m anxious to turn them into wearable art. Problem is, I don’t know if I’ll be able to part with them once I create something.

    Question: Do metal pieces bake well w/polymer clay? Does the baking time have to be adjusted? What do you suggest as a finish for these–Future floor finish?

  12. Anna Sabina, 19 February, 2009

    I have just finished a SteamPunk project and had no problem baking metal parts with PC; baked according to PC directions. My only suggestion is with watch parts to be sure what you have is metal and not metal colored plastic. This will not be a problem with really old watches but many are battery operated and have some metal and some plastic parts hidden amount the metal. I am not try to don’t want to insult anyone but be sure to open the back of a watch to check for a battery and throw out the battery before baking anything. I found a lot of “old looking” watches were not gear driver and a small battery looked like a watch part. . I did not sand or use any finish on my SteamPunk piece as I wanted a matte industrial look. I used Pearl Ex powders to darken some areas. I also used acrylic paint to tone down some of the shine on metal pieces.

    I know what you mean about not wanting to part with things you have made.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 19 February, 2009

    @seedplanter: Metal bakes wonderfully with polymer clay. Sky’s pretty much the limit, so just be creative with it!

    @Anna: What wonderful advice you gave to seedplanter! I have not come across plastic gears that look like metal, so I would have never thought to warn about those! I’ve seen some white plastic gears in watches before but not metal looking ones. All of your other advice is excellent as well. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge on this!

  14. Anna Sabina, 19 February, 2009

    Forgot to mention I put a thin layer of liquid Sculpy on the raw clay and then gently pressed in the metal piece. Another option is to bake the piece first and then attach gears with Super Glue.

  15. Cindy Lietz, 20 February, 2009

    Thank you Anna for this information! It is very helpful!

    BTW I just finished making a steampunk jewelery pendant that I will post about in the next day or two. It was really fun to work on it!

  16. crystal, 07 March, 2009

    Another way to attach pieces is to use very thin silk plant wire, loop it around the part or through the bead, twist it tight then cut all but about a 1/4″. the twisted metal works great as an anchor, I’ve never had to use anything else to attach my decorations

  17. Cindy Lietz, 07 March, 2009

    Fantastic Idea Crystal! Thank you so much for sharing it!

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