How to Make Sci-fi / Steampunk Goggles From Trash.




There are already several costume goggles projects on Instructables, but it seems that most of them require a bit more spendy than is nessessary and a bit more skill than Joe Schmo has time to cultivate. I'm going to show you how to make a sturdy set of cool looking space-pilot goggles for (mostly) free out of stuff you normally throw away, and the only skills required are cut and paste.

You will need the following parts:

Several cardboard toilet paper cores
Aluminum foil
Clear plastic packaging
A washable marker or highlighter
Mod Podge
A medium sized paintbrush
Some sort of paint

Step 1: Cut Out the Base Components.

Start by cutting your toilet paper cores into 2 inch segments (see first image). You will need at least 6 of these segments.

Coat the outside of the cardboard segments in Mod Podge and wrap a layer of aluminum foil around them. (see second image.)

While these are drying, go root through the trashcan until you find a discarded plastic package. I used the flat part of a package that contained headphones. From this you will cut lenses using one of your toilet paper cores as a cutting guide (see third image). Make sure to cut inside your guide lines so the lens wont be bigger than the eyepiece (see fourth image.)

Now take one of the remaining cardboard tubes and cut it in half length-wise and round off one end of each half (see fifth image.)

To make the bridge of the goggles, cut yet another cardboard segment in half length-wise. Using a cardboard segment as a guide, mark a half circle on one of these and cut everything inside that half circle into tabs (see sixth and seventh images.) Make sure to cut out room for the bridge of your nose (see eighth image.) (NOTE: I had to use a cardboard segment that was a bit longer than 2 inches as I have a wide face.)

To make rims for your goggles, you can use polymer clay, PVC, milk cap rings or any circular object that will fit over the end of your eyepieces. I used black polymer clay. I made a donut shape out of clay and used a cardboard tube and a cookie cutter to fashion 2 rings (see ninth image). I then baked the rings according to the instructions on the package to make them hard and durable.

That's all you need to make them. On to assembly...

Step 2: Paint.

For this step, begin by coloring your lenses with a washable marker or a highlighter in the color of your choice. I chose green to give the lenses a night-vision effect. (see first image.)

Then, paint everything but the bits wrapped in foil and the lenses black or whatever color you prefer (all other images.)


Step 3: Glue.

Now it's time to stick it all together. Use Mod Podge as your glue for this section as it dries clear, allowing you to be as messy as you want.

Begin by gluing the rims to one end of your eyepieces and gluing a lens onto that (see image one.)

Then add the rounded cardboard halves to the sides of your eyepieces, making sure that the rounded side juts out beyond the eyepiece a bit (see second image.)

Once these are dry, glue the eyepieces into the bridge (see third and fourth images.)

Glue in a peice of cardboard on the back of the bridge piece for added support (see fifth image).

Now that you have completed the basic construction, you should coat the whole thing (except the lenses) in a thin layer of Mod Podge for added stability.

Step 4: Finishing Touches.

Once the whole thing is dry, you can clean it up a bit by doing some paint touch up and trimming off unwanted bits.

You will need to add a strap of some sort to keep them on your head. I use elastic, but you could use leather, rubber, metal or whatever you want.

Now you can start adding objects to your goggles to make them look more interesting. Just about anything that you can find will do. I chose to add one thing to illustrate my point. I found this extra RCA cable in a box of junk (see first image.) I chopped off the connectors, painted them silver and glued them to the sides of my goggles (see second and third images.) My RCA connectors may look a little cheesy but you get the point. Some other ideas you might use:

Snip the heads off of some small screws and glue them around the rims for a more mechanical look.

Use wiring and small components from an old motherboard or broken electronic device to glue on for a futuristic look.

Spray the whole thing in metallic chrome paint for a mad scientist look.

And so on.


2 People Made This Project!


  • Big and Small Contest

    Big and Small Contest
  • First Time Author

    First Time Author
  • Toys Contest

    Toys Contest

27 Discussions


9 years ago on Step 4

Well aren't you thrifty.
This was pretty good for spending a whopping total of zero dollars.

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

actually this could be a back to school item for me. We celebrate Charles dickens and some of us dress up like steampunks

The Good Old Days

4 years ago

Ok I've just made half but it already looks splendid. Yay amazing ✌️?

The Good Old Days

4 years ago

I love this idea, they r super expensive online and this is just way more fun and much easier. I hope to see more steampunk DIY's from u.


7 years ago on Step 4

This is fantastic! I've been searching through all the instructables and compiled a list of all the different ways to make steampunk goggles that were remotely affordable.. yours is the best because (a) $0 (assuming one already owns Mod Podge) and (b) looks better than most of the ones where components were bought anyway.

I ran into someone at this year's Steampunk Festival in Waltham this year who also used carboard rolls to assemble her glasses, but she also did something with soda can pop tops as hooks to connect the leather headband strap.


7 years ago on Step 4

Nice! I have been trying to find a tutorial like this one :D Most tutorials tell you to buy a certain kind of pair of glasses in the hardware stores but apparently none of the hardware stores in my city carry them...I don't like buying online much.... and am trying to keep the cost down. Plus I really want my own unique goggles! I';ve wanted a pair of goggles since I've seen them pop up everywhere online lately and well Dr. Horrible somehow made me have a love of goggles :D


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Best idea ever! I was looking for some steampunk goggles that weren't made with leather or metal and that i wouldn't have to pay for. Thanks for posting!


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

I guessing it's a type of glue, so is it possibe to substitute it with something like PVC glue?


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Mod Podge is a brand of craft glue. You could substitute other types of glue, but I would make sure that it dries clear and doesn't expand. You'll also want some working time so avoid super-glue or any other instant bond glue.



8 years ago on Step 1

great job! this instructable is pretty easy to follow (i had trouble on the first step) and makes great cool goggles form almost 0$ cost!


8 years ago on Step 4

Really nice final product for almost $0 investment!


8 years ago on Introduction

 My favorite steampunk goggle tutorial yet; mostly because it's so simple and easy to do but awesome.  I can't wait to try this out! ^_^


8 years ago on Introduction

I love it! I'm a cheap (and broke) sob and I'm always digging through the trash after my mom cleans out our junk drawers!!! What a great use of the 3Rs!!

Hey, when I was in school it was all fake diamond studded gloves and hot pink leg warmers, I have no idea what the kids are into these days ;)