Steampunk Style Beading with Cynthia Newcomer Daniels

Some of you might remember Cynthia Newcomer Daniel from last summer when I showed off her amazing beaded necklace entry in the Battle of the Beadsmith. I admire the way Cynthia makes those little seed beads of hers do the most amazing things like mimicking needle-woven lace. Her self-supporting bangle bracelets made with off-loom bead-weaving stitches are architectural feats of skill and craft, and I'm thrilled that Cynthia brings us today's guest blog on Beading Daily all about steampunk jewelry!


Flights of Fancy by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Steampunk is, first and foremost, a genre in science fiction literature. Set in an alternate universe that resembles 19th century England or America, Steampunk is all about big, complicated machines and Victorian style, but with a decided twist. Think steam engines, trains, the Wild West, lace doilies and time travel. Imagine bustles, parlors, boots, big skirts, tight pants and transporter technology. A place and time where jewelry isn't just jewelry, but a portal; with a flick of a switch, or the glow of a crystal, gears will start to turn and the wearer will be whisked through time and space.

It's not just about adding some watch guts to a necklace, though that's a good place to start.

Time and Tides by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Before you start crafting a piece of Steampunk jewelry, you'll want to think about the world it comes from, and its purpose in that world. Will it protect the wearer, or is it a transportation device? Does it have settings? How is its purpose concealed from others? Does it belong to a gunfighter, a lady, a pirate, or a street urchin? Has it fallen into the hands of someone who is unaware of its true purpose?

Once you know all that, it's time to start collecting. Watch parts are a great place to start; they're small, easy to find, and fun to take apart. If you don't have an old one in your junk drawer, look in antique shops or on-line. Hardware stores are another good place to browse; look for small gears, nuts, hinges, or anything that can be bezeled around or strung.

Bead embroidery, soutache work, and beadweaving are naturals for Steampunk style jewelry; intricate beadwork evokes a Victorian sensibility, and lends itself to the engineering aspects of Steampunk.

Start creating! And please share your jewelry, and its story, when you are done.


One of the things I love about creating my own stories with steampunk jewelry are the fabulous focal pieces around which I work my favorite bead-weaving stitches. There's a little bit of mechanical skill involved, doing things like punching holes, wire wrapping, and layering different elements to create unique jewelry-making components.

Don't be put off by the industrial jewelry-making skills of steampunk jewelry! Take a look at our Mixed Media Steampunk-Style Jewelry DVD with Jean Campell. Jean walks you step-by-step through easy techniques like cold connections, resin, and wire wrapping to show you how you can make your own fabulous, romantic steampunk-style jewelry pieces. Get your copy of Mixed Media Steampunk-Style Jewelry and give your jewelry a story to tell!

Do you have jewelry that tells a special story? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us about it, or better yet, post a picture of it over in the Reader Photo Gallery and share your jewelry story with all of us!

Bead Happy,


Cynthia Newcomer Daniel is a jewelry designer and creator who lives in central California. She loves to work with a wide variety of materials, and her work displays the perfect combination of elegant simplicity and over-the-top opulence. You can find her tutorials for sale at Jewelry Tales, or follow Cynthia's Jewelry Tales blog to read more about her amazing bead-weaving creations!

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