What is Steampunk? Plus 3 Free Steampunk Jewelry-Making Projects
What is steampunk? Search for Steampunk on Etsy and you’ll find over 215,000 results … and 35 million on Google. About two years ago, it was only 70,000 on Etsy and 6.5 million on Google. Wow. Needless to say, Steampunk is not going away anytime soon. But what is Steampunk, anyway?
Steampunk gets its name from an era during 1800s known as the Victorian era, which was when steam power was vastly used. It was a romantic time filled with 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 jewelry making project. 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 learning how to make Steampunk jewelry. Download our free eBook on this exciting jewelry-making trend, What Is Steampunk Design: 3 FREE Steampunk Projects Demonstrating How to Make Steampunk Jewelry.
Jean Campbell, author and Steampunk jewelry artist, defines the Steampunk world 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. You’ll need some of these elements for making Steampunk jewelry designs:
- Metal findings and chain
- Charms and cameos
- Glass (plus mirrors, optical lenses…)
- Gemstones (amethyst, turquoise, pearls, agate, onyx, coral, jade, garnet, ruby, jet, peridot)
- Sentimental items (photos, ticket stubs, bits of letters, ephemera)
- Found objects (watch parts, skeleton keys, hinges, nuts and bolts)
In What Is Steampunk Design: 3 FREE Steampunk Projects Demonstrating How to Make Steampunk Jewelry, you’ll find inspiring ways to blend these Steampunk elements using many different jewelry-making techniques, including wire wrapping, cold connections, resin, and soldering. And before you begin making the Steampunk jewelry projects in the eBook, you can also get a closer look at what Steampunk jewelry means to several jewelry designers.
What is Steampunk? Let these Steampunk Jewelry Projects Answer that Question:
How to Make a Beaded Steampunk 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.
"With the energy of a rock concert and mechanical parts that recall the giant and elaborate steam-powered machines of the Victorian Era, Steampunk is a heady mixture that is at once edgy, industrial, and romantic," says Merle White, our Editorial Director over jewelry and the editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. Don’t miss out on this fun and creative trend in jewelry making.
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, you can also get a closer look at what Steampunk jewelry making means to several jewelry designers.