Picture of Steampunk gear buttons

This is a fairly simple instructable: if you can thread a needle (or have the tools to assist in doing so), you are probably qualified to make these. Before I begin, a little note on safety. When preparing the gear for use as a button (and when taking apart the clock to get the gear, but that's another story) wear safety goggles! Don't blame me if you ignore this advice! Also, if you are taking apart a clock to get the gears, you absolutely must be careful around the coiled springs. Those things are surprisingly powerful: I recommend at least a leather jacket, leather gloves, and a full-face shield! Of course, if you don't want to take the risk (or if you can't find a suitable clock to take apart: if it says "quartz," it probably won't work!), you can find gears on Etsy or Ebay, or anywhere else that sells steampunk art supplies. Also, mind your hands, as you will be working with a hand saw. I recommend a clamp, or a vise, so much so that you should buy one if you don't already have one available. I got a bench vise at an awesome local secondhand hardware store for $10, but if you can't find such a deal, Harbor Freight Tools sells them for $50 or $25 on sale, which is still worth it, so long as you have somewhere to mount it. I just used a piece of chipboard.

Anyways: here is a list of things you will need:



some kind of hand saw, that can cut metal (a dremel with a cut-off wheel works, too)






fabric garment on which to place the buttons

Anyway, let's begin.

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MrE4 months ago

Just Glue Some Gears On It (And Call It Steampunk)

glomscient (author)  MrE4 months ago

This is actually pretty different from most of my projects: I hardly use gears! well, there is also that chunky one I made into a belt buckle (another instructable for another day, I suppose).

Kiteman4 months ago

Don't the teeth make it hard to push the gears through the button holes?

glomscient (author)  Kiteman4 months ago

The button holes ought to be a bit larger than usual. It seems to work okay.

wilgubeast4 months ago

I like how you've photographed this on newsprint. And the "just sew some gears on it and call it steampunk" line made me laugh.