Posts Tagged ‘Antique’

The mechanical cyborg steampunk eye (cont.)

25 Aug

Well life sort of got in the way and it’s been awhile since I last posted…sorry! To continue with the mechanical cyborg steampunk eye, I’m going to show what I applied beneath the eye before I attach it. My goal for the steampunk deer head was to make the cyborg eye light up. I figured while I was at it, a sublit antler would be cool too, but I’ll show that in another post.

I started with a small, single diode, battery operated LED light. Since this runs on a single 9-volt battery, I need to provide a housing for that, as well as a switch. I elected to go with a red push button type switch. I also want the light to be reflected so that it’s amplified a bit. A piece of foil from the packaging of a contact lens seems to fit the bill.

LED light, switch and reflector

LED light, switch and reflector

First, I added the foil for the reflector behind the cyborg eye…

Reflector in place

Reflector in place

Then I ran wires for the light, taped them in place, then went over them with more mache strips to conceal them.

Taped wires

Taped wires

More tape added

More tape added

Next post, I’ll show the building of the battery compartment…and I promise not to be gone so long!



Adding the stabilizer fins

07 Feb

In building the stabilizer fins for the steampunk diarama airship, I first had to choose a shape. On other ships, I’ve made them rounded, but I like the feeling of a scalloped fin. I’ve also made different scalloped fins before, with some being a solid fin with ribs and others having a support structure, to which was attached actual cloth sailcloth. For this small zeppelin, I decided on the former for its ease at this relatively small scale. This decided shape I then cut out of an index card stock I had lying around. To give them age and interest, I sponged them with a light brown watercolor (not pictured, sorry!)

Index stock fins cut out

Index stock fins cut out

I then had to make the ribs, and to make it simple, yet appealing, I decided to cut these out of a similar stock, but in this case, since they would be painted anyway, I decided to use cereal box cardboard and then paint them to contrast and have interest. Remember, I throw nothing away that may have a raw materials use when reused, repurposed or recycled!

Fin ribs cut from cereal box cardboard

Fin ribs cut from cereal box cardboard

I painted them by spraying a basic green enamel. I did this because a water-based paint would have been repelled by the coating on the cereal box. I then antiqued a patina on with a lighter water-based green acrylic, then applied to the fins.

Finished fins

Finished fins

After finishing the fins, I glued them at top and lower angled positions to the airship body with standard white glue and let them dry. To add another element of interest, I used dimensional paint to “dot” copper rivets on the fin ribs. I forgot to mention that I had done this to the propeller scaffolding as well. (How many of you noticed that?) So here’s the finished attachment…

Attached fins

Attached fins

Next time, I’ll show the process of building the gondola. It’ll be fun too, because it isn’t your run-of-the-mill boat shape!

Stay tuned…in fact, tell all your ‘punk friends to subscribe!


The airship propeller

31 Jan

Last time I finished putting the propeller support scaffolding on the steampunk airship that is to be part of my diarama. Now I’ll start the propeller itself.

I can’t emphasize enough that you don’t need to buy much in order to create amazing art. Just look around you…I save plastic jar lids, pen barrels, scrap paper and fiberboard, plastic closures, fixtures, hangars, fasteners…everything. I’m a hoarder only in the sense that what I save looks like junk, but it all has artistic value when you realize it can be repurposed, reused, recycled and otherwise transformed into cool things of beauty!

To start the propeller, I found a piece of medical equipment my brother gave me. It’s an inline tube filter (new of course) that’s used in a suction device for surgery, but it looks very “hub-like”. I simple glued flat toothpicks at regular intervals around the perimeter of the “hub” and let them dry.

Propeller hub

Propeller hub

Flip side

Flip side

Once dry, I spray painted the piece an antiqued copper color and then gave it a patina of green “rust”. For the propeller blades, I cut triangles of a white scrap printing paper I had, gently curled one point for pitch and glued the edge to the toothpicks. I used some plastic pieces to stilt the blades while the glue dried.

Blades added

Blades added

Here’s the finished propeller…

Finished propeller

Finished propeller

And now we slide the propeller onto the end of the airship. I used a skinny plastic straw as the shaft and I split it and frayed the end so that by holding it together, I was able to slide the propeller onto it, and once the frayed end was inside the hub, it spread out enough to lightly hold the propeller on without glue. This way, I can manually spin it!

Propeller in place and spinnable!

Propeller in place and spinnable!

Next post, I’ll build the stabilizer fins, so stay tuned… 🙂





Vent tubes

03 Aug

So in case you were wondering how to make a cool and convincing steampunk vent tube that you would see on something mechanical, coal-fired, steam-powered or something lighter-than-air…say like…an AIRSHIP, here’s how I do it. I have a bunch of medical surplus tubing connectors. They use these to connect rubber hoses in ventilators and such. What I do is trim off any sharp edges, which there shouldn’t be too many of if it’s medical supply pieces. Rough it up a bit with a piece of fine sandpaper and then hit it with your favorite metallic brass or copper spray enamel. When it’s dry, add rivets with metallic puffy paint and then patina the piece with some green acrylic paint. What you wind up with is something like this…

Vent tubes

To add these to the Diabolus, I glued pieces of bamboo skewers into them with the sharp ends sticking out. I could then push them into the sides of the airship. Before I did that, I created a flat plate for effect using cardboard with puffy paint rivets as shown.

Flat plates

Once painted and patina antiqued, these become the bases that the vent tubes get pushed into for the final effect shown below.

Vent tube installed


Turret installation

23 Jul

Installing the observation turrets into the sides of the Diabolus first requires cutting a hole in the mâché. Due to the curving shape of the airship’s sides, the hole could not be just a simple circle, but rather a complicated ellipse. I had to hold the turret alongside the airship and lightly and carefully trace its contour into the side, allowing the pencil to follow not only the edge of the turret, but also the contour of the Diabolus. Once the hole was traced and cut, the turret slid in fairly easily and was glued into place.

Observation turret in place

With the turret in place, I bordered around it with brass trim and riveting for a strong finished look.

Turret from below

And with the “brass” trim applied, adding some patina with acrylic paint to the side of the airship gives it a weathered and aged look. Below is another view of the Diabolus showing both turrets and their position relative to the rest of the airship.

Both turrets in an inferior view

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Do you have any cool stuff you like to do with recycled or re-purposed materials?


Airship fin painting

23 Mar

Now that the rivets have been added, you can concentrate on the painting of the metallic color. You can use a copper or brass spray paint, or even a pewter color. I like ones that are of the antiqued variety. I used spray because it’s easier and less saturating than liquid. I also use oil based enamel spray paint instead of a water based liquid paint because even though it’s more toxic, it causes less absorption buckling of paper, papier mache and cardboard, (which can ruin your project).

You can see that before painting, I also added a recycled foam edge to the fins so that it looks like a metal, girder-like structure…again adding to the gritty, steampunk look.

Brass painted airship fin

Brass painted fin detail

Next step in the process is adding the patina that will make the airship look aged and rusty. Shiny brass looks cool, but also doesn’t look very realistic. A bit of green patina makes the airship sculpture look much more believable and battle-scarred. Stay tuned!


External elements

12 Mar

Well, I apologize for the delay in posting. Just a lot going on!

This post, I’ll show some of the external elements that will be added to the new airship. Like I said before, this airship is not the Victorian whimsical variety that you’ve seen before, but rather one that is more gritty and “heavy” looking. It will have four large fins that resemble brass/metal girders. Like the rest of the pieces, I constructed these out of scrap cardboard and then I covered them with scrap file folder paper to give them a smooth, paintable surface. Of course, this is also the way I stay close to my heart and use recycled and repurposed materials. While the fins aren’t papier mache like the body of the airship, they are old boxes that were pretty much junk.

In the next post, I will simulate rivets, so watch for it!

Cardboard ribs cut out

Scrap green file folders

Fins covered in file folder cardboard


Airship aging

24 Jan

OK…last post, I said that I’d be showing you painting of the airships. This takes the nicely yellowed paper on the ships and further accents it so that it takes on that parchment feel. While this technique wouldn’t be used on all my airships, (some look much more metallic and heavy), it gives these particular models a feel of Victorian whimsy…don’t you think?

Airship one with a drybrush technique

Drybrush detail

Airship two with sponged antique technique

Sponged detail

Now that the airships have this antiquing applied, the next step will be to start adding some of the other external details, such as the fins, nose cones, propeller assemblies, etc.

Stay tuned…it just gets better and better!