Make a steampunk style photo cube (& win the book Steampunk Chic)

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.

Hugo Cabret

12-year old Hugo lives in a Paris train station and maintains its many clocks. (Photo – Paramount Pictures)

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.

steampunk chic

Authors & designers Jennifer & Kitty O’Neil are giving away a copy of this 64-page book to one of our 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.

Steampunk Chic

Tussy Mussy’s Corsage is one of 12 projects in the book Steampunk Chic.

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.

DIY a mixed media, steampunk style photo cube

Steampunk Photo Cube by Kathleen George.

vintage steampunk craft ideas made with mixed media

Check out the details — a key, a hinge, bolt feet, 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.

vintage photo

Clara models the latest in Parisian haberdashery in the 1900s.

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!


This entry was posted in Craft Tutorial, Giveaways, Home Decor, Mixed Media, Paper Crafts, Recycle Crafts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Make a steampunk style photo cube (& win the book Steampunk Chic)

  1. Sar Tann says:

    What a cool idea. I enjoy steampunk themed things very much and this photo cube is really cool. The wreath is very cool and I think it would be cool to do something like that on a more miniature scale and make a pin out of it. Thank you for the ideas. 🙂

  2. That’s awesome! I only just recently learned what steampunk is, something I’m certainly gonna look into more..

  3. Violet W. says:

    I went back up to the post. It will not let me do anything. Unless there is a way that I don’t know about. I know what you are talking about though.

    • Violet W. says:

      I tried something different. I did subscribe because I like your site. If I have the same problem I will have to unsubscribe and stay away. 😦

      • Sharon says:

        Please let me know if your solution works, Violet. The only other option I can think of is to unsubscribe and the subscribe again. I am so sorry that you’re having an issue with the comment feed! Sharon

  4. Violet W. says:

    Could anyone tell me how to stop receiving emails on this particular post? It is the same one time after time.

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Violet, I might have figured this out. Please go back to your original comment for this post. It’s possible that after your comment you checked the box requesting an update on every comment posted. If so, you’ll want to uncheck this box. Please take a look and then let me know if this corrects the problem. I am so sorry that we’ve been flooding your inbox! Sharon

  5. Fran DeWitte says:

    The steampunk picture cube is great. Looks like a good winter project for while
    I have +2 feet of snow in my yard!! Would love to win the book.

    Thank you for the project,

    Franny D

  6. Heidi gil says:

    This idea is amazing!!! I’m contacting my Grandma to get a picture of her when she was young!!

  7. I’m looking forward to new opportunities in 2012.

    Looks like a great book!

  8. Connie SMith says:

    Love this cube!! It’s so hard to find something to hold photos that is this pretty!! Looking forward to more uses for vintage jewelry and clock parts, etc.. into NEW steam punk decorations and useable items!! Also looking forward to a more prosperous year!!

  9. Gil Crews says:

    We love Steampunk. It is one of the most creative and imaginative arts.
    2012 will be a year of new beginnings for us.

  10. Patwoman says:

    Love the steampunk style!

    In 2012 I’m looking forward to new adventures, and the opportunity to infuse my creativity with new techniques.

  11. Denise J says:

    love your ideas on the steampunk, wow very creative. Thank you so much for sharing.

  12. Randi says:

    I am looking forward to the birth of a new granddaughter in May! Maybe I’ll celebrate by buying her a little steampunk outfit. 🙂 Great giveaway, by the way. I love steampunk.

  13. Debi says:

    What an awesome project. I love the picture of Clara’s grandmother! My Alma Mater is the University of Kansas. Awesome creating!

  14. Suzie Shull says:

    I’ve been following the Steampunk movement for a couple years now and have a few books but this one is definitely inspired me to get going and do some myself! Looks fantastic!

  15. ChrisTea says:

    I’ve always liked Steampunk. It’s pleasing with its own sense of creativity. I’d love to win this book – thank you! In 2012, I just hope it’s MUCH better than 2011 which wasn’t a good year all the way around. I’m hoping for peace and more time to spend on creative ventures.

  16. Kate says:

    What an inspiration you are. I absolutely love steam punk and can’t wait to make this project.Thanks for sharing…Hugs, Kathie

  17. What a great project! I’d love to win this book!

  18. Violet W. says:

    Thank you for offering this great prize. I am hopefully going to be looking forward to being healthier, more creative and organized.

  19. Sharon says:

    Thank you all for the wonderful comments and for sharing your resolutions. I love that so many readers want to create more in 2012 and try new techniques, too. You are inspiring me to do the same! Just to clarify, the photo cube is designed by Kathleen George (I wish I had made it, sigh). I wrote about a visit with Kathleen earlier this summer, and if you search the blog for “Kathleen George” you’ll find the feature and you’ll get to “meet” her, too. Thanks, again! Sharon

  20. Deb Neerman says:

    WoWzA, this is fantastical! I MUST make something like this … it is too cool! Thanx for sharing … and for the inspiration!!

    I am looking forward to a more “creative” year … I’m reorganizing and revamping my craft room and hope to spend many more hours in there being creative.

    Thanks so very much for the chance to win this fabulous book!!!!! And happy New Year to you and yours!

  21. ReaderWoman says:

    Steampunk-y things speak to my soul – just love them! 2012 is going to be my year for crafts – the tried and true as well as the innovative (and steampunk!)

  22. Danielle F. says:

    I have been enamored with steampunk for several years now and have been trying to figure out how to bring more elements of this eclectic style into my own crafts. I love the romance and texture and the color pallets are right up my alley. I would love to add this book to my inspiration collection! Thanks!

  23. boblosan says:

    That’s awesome! Beautiful photo, too:)

  24. Claire says:

    I really love your photo cube, and the book with looks great. It’s something I know my friend would love and she has a Birthday very soon, it would make a very nice gift that’s if I can bare to give it away…

  25. Sharon says:

    This piece is so cool!! thanks for sharing and how to create it with us!!
    I don’t “do” resolutions…..I’m just going to be the best person I can be…..
    Best Wishes for the New Year and thanks for the giveaway

  26. iamvics says:

    I’m looking forward to creating more art in 2012. I’m loving making albums with my Cinch.

  27. Pat Cross says:

    This is my first visit to your blog and wow! I am so excited about what you are doing. I like the idea of using styrofoam for a base because it is so light. Thanks for the great ideas.

  28. Pamela Gilbert says:

    I think this is so imaginative. I love all the new things that can be done with old things. I have saved lots of things over the years to use in crafts and gifts. It would be great to win, and be able to have help with these projects.

  29. Jeanne G says:

    I am looking forward to being more organized and using my time wisely in 2012. I started a day planner in November 2011 making sure that I did not over-challenge myself. I hope to learn a couple of new things this year and improve my knitting “lack of skills”.

  30. Barbra says:

    Wonderful piece and tutorial. Love it.

  31. Elaine Akers says:

    I love the photo cube you created with all the wonderful elements. The photo is just beautiful. As for 2012…I hope that I will have the time to experiment with art projects that I’ve never tried before. Also hope that this year I will even more little treasures to use in my art when I hit the yard sales, thrift stores, etc.
    Happy New Year and thanks for the chance to win your wonderful giveaway.

  32. Betty Maple says:

    Very inspiring! Looks like a must have book

  33. Sharon F says:

    What a fabulous project and tutorial! I love steampunk and have just begun experimenting with the format… I’m in awe of your talent! Thanks so much for an opportunity to win this gorgeous piece of art!

  34. Beverly says:

    Oh, memories of some things my grandparents had. Would love to have this book in my collection of craft books.

  35. Bear Maverick says:

    I’m most looking forward to learning new things! For example… I now know the official “definition” of steampunk!

  36. Szabina L says:

    Ohhh I always adored steampunk (techniques) inspite of that it’s really new for me, but I love that it’s a kind of recycling and making old, used things into ‘new’ attractive ones *_*
    I’m looking forward to draw, paint more and spend more time on crafting especially using shrink-film for pendant, earring, brooches, rings 🙂

  37. Really getting into the steampunk look – want to customise a full length mirror into the steampunk style but I bit unsure how to go about it! Looking forward to 2012, one of my resolutions is to make sure that every birthday gift I give to friends and family is handmade by me (or at least in part). I want to experiment with technology and craft too!

  38. Jules says:

    I love steampunk and have for a long time and finally it’s going mainstream! I’m looking forward to experimenting more with different materials in 2012,

  39. Nancy says:

    I love this look! And I enjoy following Kitty and Jennifer on their junking journeys! This is the year I would like to finish all those projects that have been hanging around too long! And to TRY to complete some quilts for family members in time for next Christmas.

  40. kerryanne says:

    wow if i had the talent i would so love to make this i absoulty adore anything steampunk great job xxx

  41. I’m really just looking forward to more creating in 2012! It feels like there’s always so much more I want to accomplish! Love the pieces you shared today, thanks for the inspiration!

  42. This is gorgeous!
    I’m looking forward to completing all the projects I start (this is my new years resolution every year but this year I will make it happen…hopefully hehe)

  43. Dawn says:

    I love the look of steampunk and it’s on my list to try. It’s a little out of my comfort zone but I still want to try it. I have the perfect photo for the photo cube!

  44. shel says:

    2012 is going to be the year of the home improvement projects! Hubby and I have a project slated for each week of our vacations this year and I’m really looking forward to our first bathroom remodel project in February.

  45. Birgit says:

    First of all — Happy New Year! So what am I looking forward to in 2012? Last year I wrote a little story for a contest and won a 6-month-membership at a local gym. I started to visit it on January 2nd and already feel more energy after such a short time. I am looking forward to keeping up a high energy level which also makes me want to put part of the energy into creative projects. Thus the book offered as a prize would be perfect — I am much into steampunk. 🙂

    Happy 2012,

  46. Hi, I loved the idea of keeping our beloved treasures. I have lots I could use. I never tried this art, but seeing the results I’m sure I will try. This could be a good idea for gifting our child with the little things we kept from them. I have many projects for this year, travelling and of course learning new crafts and arts. I hope to get the copy of the book!!! big hug from Brazil Rosangela

  47. susie c. says:

    what a cool giveaway – this book looks awesome!

    as for 2012 – as an artist, i’m looking forward to a successful year, with better sales, building a customer base, and networking with other artists… 🙂

  48. Mandy L. says:

    I am just looking forward to a new year full of surprises (mostly good I hope!) and I hope to continue bettering myself w/ each year!
    This book and theses ideas look just gorgeous!

  49. Sharon says:

    I love hearing about everyone’s plans and resolutions for the New Year. It’s so inspiring! Sharon

  50. Stephanie B. says:

    This Steampunk cube is awesome. I love everything about it. I’m looking forward to making my life a little easier by making some changes in my life, these will take time but I hope by the summer that those changes will happen.

  51. Ellen H says:

    Love steampunk! I also really enjoyed the movie Hugo; I’ve been looking for a steampunk key necklace and perhaps I’ll find one in 2012! Happy New Year!!

  52. This year I’m looking forward to infusing creativity into every area of my life. I want to write and play with materials I’ve never tried before. I’m really looking forward to discovering some new things.

  53. Pat says:

    Just had the first grandchild born in December, looking so forward to watching him grow.
    My Mom had a brass hand like the one on the wreath have to go through my things and see
    if I can find it! It must be over 50 years old!

  54. Alice Rubin says:

    Steampunk is new to me…but I love the look! I like the photo cube and am anxious to see what else is in the book.

  55. lorihb says:

    I love the cube and can also see adapting it to a trinket box.
    My daughters are giving me the nudge to try something steampunk-styled. My biggest problem is collecting all the ephemera a box like this requires. Tough to build a stash.

  56. Sara T says:

    OMG, I Iove steam punk and this project is so cool. Never thought about doing anything like this with a cube though, very cool.
    For 2012 I’m looking forward to spending more time with my Mother. She is retired and has finally agreed to relocate to the state in which I’m living in and move in with me. We are very close and I and my family can hardly wait as being she lives in a diff state and has a lot of health issues. I can make sure shes taken care of and I get to spend what time she has left on the earth wit her… Being she’s lived in another state for so long I feel like that time has been lost and the telephone and yearly visits just aren’t enough.. So her relocation and moving in will be a true blessing. I’m care giver by trade so this will work out very well. 🙂 Loving 2012 !!!!

  57. Carla says:

    I’m looking forward to turning 30 in 2012! I think it will be nice to be out of my 20’s, maybe I will actually feel like a grown-up!

  58. Lisa Malachinski says:

    What interesting ideas. Love the use of the fork. It looks like a fun way to add to a project.
    Happy New Years and can’t wait to see all the fun projects you share.


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