Steampunk gets its name from an era during which steam power was used, during the Victorian 1800s. It was a romantic time full of arts and beauty but also full of discovery and new technology, like the invention of steam power. This incongruous pairing–romantic beauty plus technological discovery, with a little bit of fantasy thrown in–is at the heart of the movement and of our free tutorial. Jean Campbell, author and Steampunk jewelry artist, defines the genre as "filled with brass fittings, steel gizmos, coiled thingamabobs, and glowing orbs" with "a rich taste of everything Victorian: jet and other rich stones, cameos, silk and taffeta, and charms." Those two worlds come together perfectly in Steampunk jewelry making.
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In this free tutorial, you’ll find inspiring ways to blend these Steampunk elements using many different jewelry-making techniques, including wire wrapping, cold connections, resin, and soldering. Before you begin making Steampunk jewelry, however, you can also get a closer look at what Steampunk jewelry-making means to several jewelry designers.
How to Make a Beaded Cuff
Vintage Industrial elegance by Annie Osburn
There are about as many opinions on how to make Steampunk jewelry as there are watch parts to make it with on Etsy. Annie Osburn defines Steampunk style by sharing the designs and comments of jewelry artists Jill Stevens, Leslie Rogalski, Ricky Wolbrom, and Sarah Martin.
How to Make Wire Steampunk Earrings
Sophisticated style from eclectic elements by Leslie Rogalski
Leslie combines mechanical bits and pieces in mixed metals into an artistic earring design in these dangling Steampunk earrings. For this design, Leslie says she chose "watch parts that evoke the shape of wings" (there’s the fantasy element) with red crystal beads for a pop of color and excitement. The dangling chain adds swaying movement reminiscent of a clock’s swinging pendulum or the rocking of a train, adding even more eclecticism to her design.
How to Make a Steampunk Necklace
A mixed-media piece from craft store components and easy metalwork by Helen I. Driggs
Helen’s necklace provides endless opportunities for cleverly using Steampunk jewelry-making components in one design, including watch gears as chain links and clock hands as part of a toggle clasp. She also incorporates crystals like (faux) pearls and faceted stones that resemble the Victorian favorite, jet, to provide the pretty and romantic side of making Steampunk jewelry. The use of resin makes it easy to preserve and include sentimental paper or fabric elements in the design, too.
How to Make a DIY Cuff
A fusion of motifs and materials by Roger Halas
Roger’s winged cuff is a perfect example of a slightly different kind of Steampunk style. No watch parts, chain, or paper stubs in this imaginative design–but you will find gemstones in mechanical-looking tube settings and spiny wings that imply both beauty and fantasy.
This steampunk download is essential to any jewelry maker.
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