Happy, happy New Year! Did you do anything fun last week? We enjoyed watching the movie Hugo, based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Have you seen it? It’s about a 12-year old boy who lives in a Paris train station and maintains its many clocks. It’s a wonderful story, full of tinkering and invention, and close-up views of the massive clocks and their whirling gears. In my mind, the movie has elements of steampunk style. And it’s the perfect setting for today’s craft – a DIY Steampunk Photo Cube.
What’s steampunk? It’s a melding of our modern day world with Victorian times. If you like Victorian or vintage style, and tinkering with old watches, gears, jewelry parts, keys, hardware, and other found items, then steampunk style is for you. And you’re in luck because authors & designers Jennifer & Kitty O’Neil are offering a copy of their new book Steampunk Chic for one of our Crafts ‘n Coffee readers.
Here’s what Jennifer & Kitty have to say about steampunk: “It’s watch faces, keys and gears spun together with crystals, silk and lace . . . Steampunk Chic is the union of antique technology with Victorian charm and elegance.”
You’ll find so much inspiration in this book, along with a dozen different projects with step-by-step instructions. The O’Neils, who are known for their flea market prowess, will show you how to mix and match gears, keys, postage stamps, buttons, and other ephemera to create your own funky, vintage yet modern home décor.
And if you can’t wait to get started, we have a tutorial today, too, and you can make our Steampunk Photo Cube. Designer Kathleen George is also a fan of this style and she designed this project with beautiful vintage details – look closely to see the keys, hinges, buttons, nuts & bolts, and even a small figurine.
To make a Steampunk Photo Cube, you will need:
- STYROFOAM Brand Foam: 4” cube
- 12” x 12” scrapbook paper in Victorian theme
- Large bolts, four
- Small fork
- Metal objects* – brass hinges, coins, washers & bolts, keys, charms, upholstery tacks, silverware
- Fabrics and notions – buttons, lace
- Paper – embossed trims, paper filigree, scraps
- Miscellaneous – watch faces, silk flowers, beads
- Paper paste (we used Yes! Paste)
- Low temp glue gun & glue sticks
- Tools needed: Ruler; sharp pencil; scissors; 1” putty knife or similar tool; smooth pointed jewelry pliers; Exacto knife; 18-gauge wire; bone folder (optional)
(*Kathleen shares a hint for aging shiny, new metal: use a dry brush and apply a very thin glaze of grey acrylic paint to the surface to give the metal a tarnished looked.)
To make a Steampunk Photo Cube:
1. Cut a 4 ½” square of paper; score each side ¼” from the edge. Clip the corners. Spread a thin layer of paper paste on top of cube. Apply the paper square, smoothing it down with fingers. Fold edges down onto sides and glue in place.
2. Cut a 4” x 12” strip of the paper and score vertically every 4”. Spread think layer of paste onto sides of cube and glue the paper strip in place.
3. Cut a 4” x 4” paper square and glue to bottom of cube.
4. Use a sharp pencil to make small starter holes in each of the corners on the bottom of the cube. Twist large headed bolts into each corner to serve as feet.
5. Using jewelry pliers, gently bend back the top part of fork. Slightly bend forward every other tine so that the fork will hold a photo. Optional: Add decorative beads to tines.
5. Using Exacto knife, cut a small slit at the top, center of the cube. Push the end of the fork down into the cube at such an angle that a photo will stand straight.
6. Decorate cube with embellishments, using photo for inspiration. To attach heavy items, bend a small length of wire into a u-shape, use this u-pin to attach items, pushing ends through paper and into foam.
Are you wondering about the beautiful lady in the photo? Kathleen shares that it’s her grandmother Clara and the photo was taken in the early 1900s. Clara had just finished her bachelor’s degree in home economics at the University of Kansas and was on her European tour. The photo was taken in Paris for Clara’s fiancé, who was finishing up his PhD in agriculture at the University of Rutgers. According to Kathleen, Clara’s father was scandalized by the price of this stunning Parisian hat! It’s no surprise that this Victorian lady was also voted homecoming queen at the University of Kansas.
So, we start the year with a little history, a steampunk craft and a giveaway! And now, we’ll take a look forward – if you’d like to win the book Steampunk Chic, please leave a comment below and share with us what you’re looking forward to in 2012. Let’s celebrate the New Year and new beginnings!
Please leave your comment by Monday, January 9. Thank you.
**PLEASE NOTE: This Giveaway is Closed!**
Happy New Year and happy crafting!