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Posts Tagged ‘Plastic’

Steampunk vents from repurposed lids – Artsmith Craftworks

10 Aug

In my DIY Fridays YouTube series, I post videos on how I turn various objects into pieces to add to my art. Most of these objects are every day things that I find, some are scrap, some are disposable items that I hate to see tossed in the trash. Plastics, paper, cardboard, metal, wood, toys, etc, can all be used to create amazing art with a little paint and patina for aging!

In this video, I show how I repurpose those cool little plastic lids from squeeze applesauce into vents that I put on my steampunk airships.

Let me know what you’d like to see from me in video and ask me what else I repurpose!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

A steampunk conversation with my son

05 Jul

Awhile back, I thought it would be fun to hear my son’s opinion on the steampunk movement since kids’ opinions are never what you think they’ll be. In this case, he kinda said what I expected, but there was a bit more comedy than I bargained for!

Enjoy the video…and the gag reel.

As always, I invite your comments, ideas and opinions. I also love it when you like, share and subscribe to my YouTube Channel, my Facebook page and this blog! Thanks!!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

What feeds my chi?

27 Jun

What gives me energy? What floats my boat? What feeds my chi (qi)? These are questions I’ve talked about before, but they always bear repeating.

I love envisioning ways to turn random objects into pieces of art. I love taking pieces of plastic, wood, cardboard, metal, etc., and turning them into something virtually unrecognizable. This is what I did when I was a kid and unlike most adults, I never grew out of it. I like putting things together and making unbelievable art out them.

In my case, I like using things that other people discard. Things that have colors and shapes and textures, but are seen as disposable…junk…trash. Things like plastic lids, packaging materials, old damaged toys, uniquely shaped boxes and bottles, food packaging fiberboard boxes…and the list goes on and on. These things are materials that at their hearts, are no different than the shapes, textures and colors that you buy as your media in art stores, but these materials are free.

Photo montage of the construction of a steampunk airship sculpture propeller, made of random found objects.

Propeller construction montage

So, what feeds my chi is finding these materials. At garage sales, estate sales, at the side of the road when I run, or even in dumpsters. No, I’m not ashamed to admit that I go dumpster diving pretty frequently, and yeah, it smells bad sometimes, but the treasures are worth it.

What feeds your chi?

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk airship parts from found objects

15 Jun

My main artistic philosophy is to create cool art from repurposed and found objects. Today, I thought I’d show how I imagine these pieces and parts into steampunk airship features. Enjoy the video, and please give it a like, share it with a friend and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Propeller process

07 Mar

I get asked all the time how I made a particular part on one of my steampunk airships. I’m also told that I should do DIY pictures and videos, and truthfully, I do take progress photos when I’m working on an airship. I do this because I have always thought that someday I’d do some sort of steampunk DIY book or something.

With that said, I thought I’d post a few photos showing how I did a particular propeller for a particular airship. Of course, this is only one example, because I’ve done dozens and dozens of different propellers in many different ways.

This one is made using a scotch tape core and 8 of those little plastic tasting spoons…you know, the ones they have in samples passed out in grocery stores. So they started like this…

Photo of repurposed pieces to be used in making a steampunk airship propeller.

Then I cut slits in the outer ring of the tape core and glued the ends of the spoons into them. You’ll also notice that I cut a thin cardboard ring that was glued to the top side of the tape core for a smooth look. For plastics, I either use super glue or E6000, depending on how the pieces go together and what stresses they may be subject to. Super glue is great for “matching fits” and the E6000 is a gel-like glue that can fill small spaces and it a bit more flexible, so it was what used in this case. As with all volatile glues, don’t breathe the fumes. Use in a ventilated area or wear an approved respirator!

Photo of repurposed pieces glued together, making a steampunk airship propeller.

After all the glue dried, I then spray with a copper spray paint for the metal look I wanted. I use a couple different ones depending on the desired finish. In this case, I used Rustoleum’s Hammered series in copper color.

Photo of copper painted propeller made of repurposed materials to be used on a steampunk airship.

Finally, I used a couple different green acrylic paints to add a patina or corrosion look to the propeller. Some people like the shiny copper look, but I’ve always been partial to the patina look and think it adds realism and character to the piece.

Photo of copper painted and patinaed propeller made of repurposed materials to be used on a steampunk airship.

So this is what you wind up with after adding the patina. See how it looks rusty and aged? This is why I like it so much. After the patina, I’ll add accents like copper rivets, (just blobs of paint), which adds contrast and interest and even a bit more realism.

What techniques do you like to use? Send me comments and photos and I’ll be happy to show what some of you are doing!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Prepping found objects for use as art media

19 Jul

In my last post, I spoke of re-purposing being the thing that was nearest and dearest to me artistically. However, I couldn’t use found objects in my art without a little preparation first. In many cases, pieces you find will look cool as is and will need no further preparation, but lots of things will. Below is the short list of material types that I usually use in my work, along with the description of how I prepare them to be used.

1) WOOD – Wood is easy. The surface has a “tooth” to it, even when sanded smooth, so most paint types adhere well. A little scuffing up with sandpaper is often all you need to do to get your new paint to stick and cover well. Wood is also easily shaped and cut if you need to modify the overall outline. You may need to seal the wood with a water based coating before painting to keep the paint from soaking into the wood and looking weird.

2) PAPER – Paper is also easy to use, and believe me, I use it a lot! On my steampunk airships, the areas of copper sheeting and plating are not copper at all, but rather painted pieces of smooth cardstock or cereal box cardboard. It takes paint of nearly any kind, it’s easy to cut into any shape, most glue types work on it and it bends fairly well. You do have to be careful that it doesn’t buckle or separate when bending it though, or it will not retain the metal look. Sometimes paper will need to be sealed before painting if in has an uncoated surface. Metallic paints look dull if you don’t coat the paper or cardstock surface first. If done right, you almost can’t tell that cardboard is not metal.

3) METAL – I don’t use very much metal except for wire and other fasteners like thumbtacks, pins, staples and such. I do use an occasional washer or bolt, but often they’re for ballast and weight more than for construction. When they’re visible, I try to leave them in their nature metallic look with a bit of painted patina or wash for looks.

4) PLASTIC – I wind up using a great many plastic bits and pieces. Like I’ve said before, I save milk jug and peanut butter jar lids, caps from toothpaste, packing and packaging materials, etc, etc. This stuff often has a lot of cool or utilitarian shapes, but the nature of plastic is that it’s very shiny and smooth and it’s usually brightly colored. I do a lot of steampunk stuff and bright colors are definitely NOT the palate, so the pieces need to be painted or stained in some way. The problem is, even when using paints that are specially formulated for plastics, they often don’t adhere well or they flake off if flexed or scraped. And many of the paints you may want to use are not formulated for plastics at all. So… you have to do a decent job of preparing the surface to be painted. I often use a fine grit sandpaper to rough up the surface, however, if I’m using a found plastic piece that has a complicated or grooved or textured surface, sandpaper doesn’t work well. I tried using a scrubby wheel and a dremel tool, and that worked okay, but I now use a vibrating parts tumbler with sand in it. I then use a plastic primer and then my metallic paint.

5) GLASS – I don’t use glass much in most of my work except in my mosaics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Many people use repurposed glass as sculpture, in garden art and in window applications. I think mostly, it just needs to be clean and dry so that it accepts glue or other media.

Most anything can be repurposed, you just need to use a little imagination. Experiment with pieces of your own using stuff laying around the house that you don’t want or need anymore. Don’t forget to use the stuff you’d normally throw away as trash!. Have fun and send me pictures of your work!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Re-purposing… a personal passion

07 Jul

For awhile now, I’ve been thinking about doing a regular post on the different elements that surround what I do. There are many topics to talk about, including re-purposing methods, raw materials, types of glue, detailing and antiquing, tools, assemblage techniques, dumpster diving, etc, etc.

Today, I’ll start with something simple, yet the very heart of my style…re-purposing.

As Americans, we throw away a lot of stuff. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’ve always had plenty. More than 500 years ago, we came to a land rich in natural resources and we’ve sure exploited them. The result is that there’s a steady stream of new, better, latest, bigger, faster and more. It used to keep us all working, but not so much anymore. Now it keeps the Chinese busy and the stuff we have is cheaper…in all ways. Things are now made to break and need to be replaced, Gone are the days when you had something repaired if it broke. Now, we just chuck it and get a new one…it’s cheaper to do that…by design.

Now we have land fills that are brimming over with not just our food waste, but our discarded stuff. Much of the stuff is still quite good, with a lot of life left in it, even if it’s not the latest style. This fact has prompted a movement that I certainly have joined, in which the discarded stuff is reused in some way. Sometimes it’s as is…vintage whatever. Sometimes we dress it up, put a fresh face on it and sell it as “reinvented” or “flipped”. What I do is even more deeply made over. I turn “junk” into parts for sculptures.

I say junk because often what I save are the everyday objects that truly, nobody else wants. Food container lids, bottle caps, pieces and parts from packaging materials, scrap plastic pieces, scrap wooden pieces, paper of all sizes, weights and colors, cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, paper and plastic tubes, pen parts, discount paint…and on and on and on. Believe me when I tell you that my wife is a saint. She not only has allowed me to fill our basement with all these assorted bits, but she actually participates sometimes in the hunt. She won’t go legs-up in a dumpster like I will, but if she spots something tasty, she’s been known to grab it. I have a rule at my house that no cool piece of anything gets tossed until I approve it. Even peanut butter lids are saved from the trash heap if I spot them first. I’m a hoarder, you say? Maybe, but if so, I’m a hoarder with a vision.

Photo showing scrap plastic objects that will be re-purposed into artwork.

Lids and caps

Photo showing scrap plastic objects that has been re-purposed into artwork.

Fin hub with stabilizers

I save all this stuff because at their very basic roots, these things are raw materials that I use to sculpt with. It’s really no different than any other artist going to an art supply store for their paint or clay or canvas or glue. I just use discarded shapes and colors and textures as my art materials. The really interesting thing is, these pieces already have an inherent character. A detail that adds to their appeal once incorporated into a sculpture piece. Anything can become anything if you learn to look at a golf tee and a ballpoint pen clip and imagine them as the nosecone on a steampunk airship. A piece of Venetian blind as a propeller blade, a section of a metal veggie steamer basket as a stabilizer fin. You just need to put on your special glasses and see things, not for what they are, but what they could become.

This is the core of my passion. This is how I do art.

Join me…

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk airship 002

22 Feb

Today’s post is a recently finished Victorian style steampunk airship. This one is approximately 24″ in length overall and has very decorative stabilizer fins and a wooden propeller with scaffolded prop struts.

As always, this airship uses repurposed/found object, cardboard, paper and papier-mâché in its construction. How many recognizable objects can you identify?

SMAirship02 021w©

I encourage comments and dialogue. Drop me a line to ask questions, make suggestions or order a custom airship of your very own!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and repurposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and upcycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on repurposing/upcycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or by phone at 810-516-7381.

 

Artsmith Craftworks goes Hollywood (part 3)

29 Jan

Disaster strikes…

I got a text from Michelle, my contact at the Orange County Film Festival, along with a picture.

The text read,
🙁 Working on a refund right now

Mortally wounded Victorian Airship

Mortally wounded Victorian Airship

Needless to say, I was immediately nauseous. My heart racing, I replied, “What happened?!? Michelle said, “They put a heavy crate right on top and it fell right through. So mad. It clearly says on your crate, FRAGILE, Do not stack.”

Apparently, the Diabolus was undamaged, but the Victorian was a wreck, which gave me an idea. I texted back saying, “I don’t know what your status is, but I have an idea. I’ve been toying with the idea of building an airship battle scene. In fact, I have a customer that wants me to do that. A natural progression from just posing nice airships in menacing positions would be to show one or more with damage. If you know of someone who’s good with model production, maybe have them hang the damaged airship in such a way that it looks to be crashing after being hit by the other. Use paint and lighting to simulate smoke and fire. Could be very dramatic and cool. Let me know what’s going on.”

I didn’t hear from her for the next two days, but on the 4th of January, late in the evening Michigan time, I got a text from Michelle saying, “Hey. Sorry if this is so late. The film festival is going on as we speak. We managed to save your airship!!! We had to make a new airship blimp. Everything else is pretty much the same. Some supports broke so we had to be creative. But we used both of your airships. You are amazing and we love them!!!!!!! Thank you again for working so hard to make his happen for us!!” The following pictures were attached…

Resurrected Victorian at the OCFF!

Resurrected Victorian at the OCFF!

Quite different, but a great save...

Quite different, but a great save…

 

Flying over the Red Carpet

Flying over the Red Carpet

Well, I was very happy that they’d managed to save the Victorian and use it for their event. It was considerably different than it was before damage and repair, but they had pulled it off and the piece certainly got the point across. Michelle said she would send professional photos of the event as soon as she got them back from the photographer, as well as video coverage when it was finished being edited.

Next time, I’ll wrap it up by posting the pictures of the event. ‘Til then…

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and repurposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and upcycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on repurposing/upcycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or by phone at 810-516-7381.

 

18 inch Victorian steampunk airship #1

13 Dec

This is the first of a new mid-range sized airship I started which is about 18″ long. This particular airship has a Victorian aesthetic, with a ship-like gondola, suspended with netting and cable. The propeller is a frame and sailcloth style, rather than a solid style.

18" Victorian Steampunk Airship

18″ Victorian Steampunk Airship

From the bow, you can see a bit more detail in the gondola.

Bow view

Bow view

And a close-up of the propeller…

Aft view

Aft view

I’d love to hear what you think of this ship. Drop me a comment!

 

 

The battery compartment

01 Sep

As mentioned, the battery needs a believable housing and I started with a mint container, then cut it in half and created a lip so that a slide-on top was possible.

Mint container as a battery compartment

Mint container as a battery compartment

Building the battery compartment

As you can see, after the battery compartment was built, I added plastic pieces for detail and interest. I then painted the whole piece with an antiqued copper paint.

The painted battery case

The painted battery case

Then I added a patina with green acrylic paint…

Battery compartment with patina added

Battery compartment with patina added

Next time, I’ll show adding the “fur” to the steampunk deer. It’s coming together now! Stay tuned!

 

 

Steampunked ear on the deer head

14 Jun

OK, now that the Grand Opening is done at The Artisan’s Bench, I’ll get back to posting progress on the steampunk deer head mount. I said last time that I would show how I started putting together the steampunk ear. I did the “live” ear last post, which was corrugated cardboard covered in mache. The steampunked ear will obviously be mechanical looking.

I thought a piece that looked like a “receiver” would be a good place to start and I had an old brassy looking shower head that seemed to fit the bill. To hold the ear shape onto the base, I used a plastic jar lid that I had cut open and removed the top flat portion.

Jar lid cut for deer ear

Jar lid cut for deer ear

The ear base

The ear base

To form the ear, I used some white cardstock that I will paint to look like sheet copper.

Cardstock cut to ear shape

Cardstock cut to ear shape

Then, the cardstock gets attached to the plastic ring with glue and small screws and beads.

Cardstock bolted to the ear ring

Cardstock bolted to the ear ring

To make the center look more like it would pick up sound, I used a random plastic piece that looks like a stalk, and half of a cat toy.

Center "hearing" pieces

Center “hearing” pieces

All put together, we have this…

Ear all put together

Ear all put together

Finally, I painted the assembly using my favorite copper spray paint, then adding aging with a nice green patina.

Steampunk deer ear painted with patina added

Steampunk deer ear painted with patina added

Next time, I’ll construct more of the pieces that I want to add to the sculpture.

What steampunk projects do you have plans to construct?

 

 

 

 

 

The gondola

24 Feb

I’ve made quite a few gondolas that were the typical boat style, but I wanted to do something different for this steampunk diarama. I thought that making something that looked like a tube or bubble would be cool, so I started rummaging through my boxes of pieces and parts to find an object that would be suitable to repurpose. What I came up with was two plastic scoops that came out of a powdered drink mix or something, (I collect anything that’s interesting!). Shown here, I’ve already painted the handles and attached a plastic piece with a spiral as a “bowsprit”.

Plastic scoops as gondola

Plastic scoops as gondola

Here’s a close up of the bowsprit and the front of the gondola.

Bowsprit closeup

Bowsprit closeup

I glued the two scoops to a plastic disc for some visual interest, then added a flat plastic piece in between the handles, (not pictured), then I created a rudder fin to go on the stern of the gondola. I used the same technique as I did for the stabilizer fins.

Rudder fin

Rudder fin

The final gondola was then given an antiquing of patina color where appropriate (brass and copper areas), and attached to the airship body. This attachment required a careful snipping of the paper airship skin so the handles of the scoops could be inserted and glued.

Finished gondola

Finished gondola

Here’s a closeup of the attachment.

Closeup of gondola

Closeup of gondola

Next post, I’ll show how I prepared the “box” part of the diarama. That is certainly an example of recycle, reuse and repurpose! Thank you for your continued interest in my work…

How would you have built the gondola?

 

 

 

 

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… 🙂

 

 

 

 

Airship nose and propeller shaft

24 Jan

I need to put a nose and tail cone on the diarama airship, so I used the same technique I use for my airship kits, which is to sart with a cut circle of card stock (I use old file folders). I then punch a hole in the center with a standard paper punch and with scissors, I cut about a quarter of the circle away. This then gets formed into a funnel shape, then glued with white glue. To make the nose spire, I used a painted wooden golf tee and pushed that through the nose cone, then attached it. The tail cone was made in the same way, but required a different structure beyond that because the tail also holds the scaffolding for the propeller.

Nose and tail cones in place

Nose and tail cones in place

Next, I constructed the scaffolding for the propeller by cutting strips of cereal box cardboard, then gluing them into the appropriate shape. (Can you tell that I never throw away anything that might have an artistic use?!). When dry, they were sprayed with copper paint and antiqued with green acrylic paint, (seen in next photo).

Propeller scaffolding

Propeller scaffolding

A piece of repurposed plastic tube that used to be the guts of a click-type ball point pen serves as the propeller shaft when painted and attached to the tail cone of the airship. The scaffolding is then attached to the shaft and the sides of the airship body. White glue works fine for most pieces.

Scaffolding attached to the airship

Scaffolding attached to the airship

Next time, I’ll show how to build a cool propeller for the zeppelin out of simple repurposed objects. Reusing and recycling can be easy and fun. Try some of these techniques to start a project with your kids. It’s a great way to find common ground with a teenager!

 

 

 

Airship Anastasia!

17 Nov

Usually I build a larger airship. At least larger in the sculpture sense…something in the neighborhood of 5 feet long, or so. In a room that is larger or when placed in a dedicated display area, they’re fantastic and formidable. In a small area though, they can be a bit tight.

This project, therefore, is much smaller. At about two and a half feet long, the Anastasia is about half the size of the Diabolus and the OTBP airship at Off the Beaten Path in Farmington, Michigan. Those of you who have seen one or both of those airships will be able to visualize the size better. At this size, Anastasia would be at home in even a very small house, apartment or office, (are you picturing a steampunk themed office? Very cool indeed!).

The Airship Anastasia

Anastasia from the starboard

The style is once again, more Victorian whimsey than copper and brass dreadnaught, but the Anastasia is not without her defenses. Small and nimble, the Anastasia would turn more quickly than most larger ships, allowing the bow-mounted plasma generator to take care of frontal and flanking assaults, while a crew member tail gunner moves to defend against attacks from the stern with an aether disruptor cannon.

Anastasia gondola close-up

Propulsion close-up

Next up is another larger airship; similar in style, but a bit heavier in the speed department and bit more armed to match. Watch for it!

I’d also love for you to subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already, and while you’re at it, please wander over to my Facebook Page here and give it a “like”. Thanks!

 

From scrap to steampunk sunglasses

14 Sep

Even though my mainline is steampunk zeppelin airships, one of my latest projects has been to fashion a pair of steampunk sunglasses. Now I know that goggles are a steampunk icon, but I’m a bit of a sunglasses collector, having accumulated about 125 pair over the years. I have new wave and punk rock styles, Buddy Hollys, Venetian blind shades, owls, John Lennons, grannies, hippies and all sorts of themed varieties. What I didn’t have were any that were of a steampunk nature, so I put on my thinking cap and designed a pair. Of course, I had to stay with my mantra of “recycle, re-use and re-purpose”, so I built my sunglasses using materials that would have been junk otherwise. With a little painted patina and antiquing, some suede scraps and a lot of plastic pieces and parts, I was able to fashion a pair of wearable, however somewhat impractical, wild and crazy steampunk fashion sunglasses.

Steampunk sunglasses

Lens detail

Right temple detail

Left temple detail

Lens detail

Most of the pieces are re-purposed plastic pen barrels, odds and ends of metal, brass screws, scraps of suede and toy parts. The lenses are actually welding goggle lenses that have been inserted into vitamin bottle lids.

I’d love to hear your comments! How would you have made these?

 

 

 

 

Turret interior

19 Jul

Last post, I showed you how I made the observation turret on the airship Diabolus. Now I’ll show you the interior.

I wanted to give the turret enough interior detail that if someone looked inside, there would be something that made sense, not just darkness or the side of the airship underneath. I had some pieces of scrap plastic that looked like the caps off spray paint cans and as luck would have it, their diameters matched the diameter of the plastic caps that I made the turret “windows” out of. I then found a couple of photos of submarine interiors and Photoshopped them together, then printed the pieces and applied them to the inside of the painted caps. Below I show a cheap Army man I cleaned up and then detailed.

Inexpensive army man

Detailed and placed within the painted cap.

Detailed crewman

And now with the turret “glass” in place…

Turret glass in place

A different view shows the detail a little better.

Different angle

The next step is to add the turrets to the sides of steampunk zeppelin, Diabolus. Do you have ideas for how windows could be added?

 

Turret construction

09 Jul

Today, I’m going to show you how I put together the observation turrets that are on the sides of the Diabolus. Believe it or not, I used repurposed pieces for these as well 😉  Really, you say? I don’t believe it!   Well, it’s true…read on to see more!

I started with the bottom of one of those 50 cent gumball machine toy bubbles as shown below…

Gumball toy bubble

In order to make it look like a paneled turret, I need something that not only looks like metal, specifically brass or copper, but also is thin and flexible. I could use thin sheet craft copper, but remember that I like to reuse materials or repurpose things. What I do is to paint tape, then cut it into strips. You’ll also notice that I added “rivets” and patina before peeling up the strips to apply to the bubble.

Painted tape cut into strips

Next, of course, I add the strips to the bubble in a fashion that is reminiscent of the gun turrets on a WWII bomber, or the bridge of the Millennium Falcon, whichever you prefer!

Finished turret

So this is how the finished turret looks. In order to add it to the side of the Diabolus, I need to build a “background”, and I’ll show you how next post!

 

Continuing the Diabolus

04 Jul

Today I’m back to showing the progress of the Diabolus. You’ve all seen the finished product, as I displayed it at the World Steam Expo back at the end of May. I want to finish the progression so you see how it was constructed.

I left off at showing you the fin support construction. I’ll now show you the fin hub which ties all the fins together aft of the propeller. This hub starts with a couple of simple repurposed plastic pieces; in this case, a couple peanut butter jar lids.

Peanut butter jar lids

Followed by a spray paint can lid and a laundry detergent cap…

Lids and caps

Then put together…

Lids and caps assembled

And then painted bronze and patina painted…

Painted fin hub

Finally, put in place and trimmed with stabilizers.

Fin hub with stabilizers

So, once again, finished piece looking nothing like the original repurposed pieces! Next I’ll show how I constructed the observation turrets.

Would you be interested in seeing examples of how to choose items to repurpose?