Steampunk Summer: Let's Get Crafty!

Hooked on gears and machines and clock parts yet?  Here's your chance to get in on the action.  There's no shortage of inspiration and how-to's for making steampunk crafts and accessories, so feel free to delve beyond what I share here.  There are just some of my favorite places to get started.

Steampunk Style Jewelry: Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earringsby Jean Campbell has more than meets the eye.  Jean walks you through rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces, but she also includes a lot of not-to-be-missed information on steampunk culture.  In numerous sidebars, she provides lists of steampunk bands and movies as well as commentary on various topics from steampunk couture to mainstream usage.  It's easy to get lost in this book, and the photographs are beautiful.  If you're new to jewelry making, don't worry - Jean gives a clear explanation of jewelry parts and even how to pick "found" objects from the world for your own purposes.

Remember how I said steampunk was hard to pin under a simple, all-encompassing explanation?  This book is a perfect example of why: Steampunk Emporium: Creating Fantastical Jewelry, Devices and Oddments from Assorted Cogs, Gears and Curios by Jema "Emilly Ladybird" Hewitt.  She offers 20 designs, 4 each in 5 very different but very steampunk categories: the sunken city of Atlantis, sky pirates, the absinthe fairy, the adventurer, and the tea party.  Jema goes beyond basic jewelry to include cuff links, a hat pin, and a chatelaine.  (Chatelaines were popular in the 1800's for keeping a variety of small but useful tools or keys close at hand.  You can read more about them here.)  What makes Jema's book so delightful to flip through, aside from the gorgeous, colorful photos, are her whimsical introductions to each section.  If you like a little fiction with your crafting experience, this is the book for you.

I found both of these at my local library, so remember to look at your library for steampunk books if you're interested in learning more about vintage and science fiction-inspired crafts.

For the embroidering/sewing set and those looking for an even bigger variety of visual inspiration, I recommend Urban Threads.  Their website sells machine and hand embroidery designs that are affordable, detailed, and highly creative.  They have 11 design packs of different steampunk motifs ranging from nature and snowflakes to carousel animals and the wild west.  There are steampunk letters so you can spell out whatever you want in gear-infused words along with dozens of stand-alone designs.  Click here for machine (and to see the designs filled in with colorful thread) and here for hand (just the designs, not filled in).

What's your favorite book or crafting website for steampunk gear and accessories?  Share it here or on Facebook.  I'll also be sharing some of my crafts on Facebook and Pinterest this week.

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