Monday, October 5, 2009

Tutorial! How to make your own steampunk pendant or charm

Okay, guys, welcome to my first tutorial: How to make your own steampunk pendant or charm. It's not all that difficult. You just need the right stuff and a lot of creativity and patience. If you can make a collage, you can make one of these cool little guys.
So, you'll need some watch guts, parts and innards, including cogs, sprockets, gears, and other delightfully little shiny bits. Please see my giant pile of said guts pictured above. I know, I know, it's excessive, but I have an addiction, and I'm working through it. I didn't get all of them available in the free market, so they can still be found.
One tip: Do not smash open a modern watch. Most of the innards are plastic, unfortunately. I learned this the hard way. But you can still use the casing if it's pretty, as well as the clock face, from a dead modern watch.
Other stuff you'll need:
The blanks or settings that you'll use as the base of your pendant or charm. Here are four examples. You can pick these up anywhere anymore. Some metals do not like some brands of glue, and the metal will turn white upon contact with the glue. You won't know until you try it, unfortunately.
Some kind of serious glue--I use Gorilla Glue in the super glue tube. Trust me, it will glue anything to anything forever. Beware, it will glue watch parts to your fingers, and your fingers to anything, including your lip. Ouch.
A styrofoam plate and paper towels. It's just the easiest way to do it.
Toothpicks, to smear and smudge the glue around, and to move itty bitty pieces into the right spot, thus decreasing the chance of gluing those pieces to your own skin. I get mine for free from the restaurants I frequent. Thank you, restauranteurs!
One last important supply: Junior Mints, or the nom nom of your choice. Crafting is difficult and intense work. If you're like me, and sit hunched over for three hours at a time, it's good to preplan some kind of sustenance to keep your energy up. Cheetos are not so wise, as they tend to leave a bright, toxic orange film all over things. Also, make sure not to glue the Junior Mint to your hand. Seriously. It happens.

Okay, poke through your watch guts and find some larger pieces that you want to use. It's easier to get the larger bits glued on first, and then go from there. Put a small amount (yes, I always get a little carried away) of your glue on the setting in the spot where you want the watch bit to go. Smudge it around with the end of a toothpick, to get a fairly even layer of glue.
This will help you get even adherence, and also help to keep glue from globbing out around the sides of the watch piece in an unsightly way.
Be careful where you place the gluey toothpick. It will stick to the carpet, your bead board or the cat. Honestly.

Put the watch bit on top of the glue and press down firmly. It will stick. This glue is no joke. A friend of mine fixed her roof shingles with this glue.

Glue the larger pieces on where they fit on your setting in a design that pleases you. I just kind of wing it.

After you get the larger parts glued on, add some medium-sized parts wherever you want them.
I sometimes layer the medium-sized ones in over the larger ones, and always mix gold and silver, shiny and matte. Just glue on whatever makes you happy however it makes you happy. There are no rules, and that's why this is wonderful.
Remember, Gorilla Glue is pretty unforgiving, so, if you let something set on it for more than a few seconds, you'll have a heck of a time scooting it.

Now, fill in empty spaces with the teeny tiny, itsy bitsy pieces. Use a toothpick to move these little bits into the desired spaces. It's also fun to drop miniscule pieces into the carpet so your vacuum will have something to do the next time you run it.
Add where you want to. It's easier to glue pieces with flat backs or bottoms. Leave blank space where you want blank space. When it reaches the point where you're happy with it, you're finished. The hardest part for me is knowing when I'm done and not just gluing five pounds of stuff to the setting. Usually, it just looks complete.
I leave the pieces to dry overnight, on top of the entertainment center, because that's the only place the cat will not jump. Then, string them with beads, hang them from chain, do what you do.
As for the Junior Mints, you can eat them throughout this activity, or save them until the end, as a reward for your creativity and hard work.
So, making your own steampunk pendant--it's that easy.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You are so talented,this is so awesome.I'm going to try this one day,thanks !

  3. Awesome!!! Love the bit about the mints.

    xoxo Agnes

  4. OH WOW! So cool, I will have to try this! Thanks!