Protect your ocular organs with a pair of steampunk goggles, especially designed for airship voyages and time travel adventures!
This tutorial will show you how to take a standard pair of welding goggles and mod them into something stupendous using everyday household items and a few thrift store finds. This project can range in price from $20-$35 depending on what you have lying around already.
If you're ready for awesomeness, let's gather materials!
For this project, you will need:
- Standard pair of welding goggles (These are about $10 at the local hardware store)
- Gorilla Glue
- craft paper or newspaper
- metallic spray paint
- scrap leather (I butchered a few thrift store purses!)
- small clamps (or lots of patience to sit and hold stuff)
- writing implement (pencil)
- jewelry 'end caps' (like this)
- skewer/toothpick smearer
- utility knife
watch parts and miscellaneous hardware for decoration--like those double magnifying swiveling parts? They're called jewelers' loupes and you can find them in places like this. Another great idea would be to glue fake screw heads to the rim of the goggles--just snip the brad end off and paint them to spec.
Step 1: Paint Frame and Add Your Leather!
1. Begin by dismantling your goggles. Unscrew the fronts, take the nose bridge out, and remove the elastic band.
2. Cut out the elastic bridge. As you can see from the second photo, I didn't think of this until after I had painted and glued on my leather. This made it much more difficult. Do this before you paint --you'll thank yourself later. You can use whatever method you want to rid yourself of this little piece of plastic. I sawed at it with a utility knife and plyers so as not to damage my paint job. If you think you want to use your elastic again, you needn't bother with this step (though I might still recommend it in case you change your mind later, ya?)
3. Paint the rims and screw tops. You can use a metallic spray paint or you can brush an acrylic paint on. Rub n' Buff works, too, and may look more authentically metallic, but then you have to seal it. I went with a nice bright brassy color to offset my oxblood leather.
4. Make template/pattern. You can do this before you paint, but you'll still have to wait for the paint to dry before you can apply your leather. Use a piece of scratch paper/newprint/etc and coil it around one side of your goggles. Using your fingernail or other sharp-ish object, 'trace' the imprint of the area you want to cover. When you're sure you have the right dimensions, cut the paper along all the folded edges to make a pattern.
5. Trace pattern onto leather. Use the wrong side (the side that won't show) to ink on. Then, using sharp scissors, cut out your two leather side pieces.
6. Glue 'em on. That's right! Once you're certain the leather will fit and will not impede the progress of screwing on the lens caps, get out that Gorilla Glue. Slather it on the wrong side, as close to the edges as you can. This glue will expand--remember that and be judicious about its application. It doesn't take much! Also, remember that it will foam up and take about 30 minutes to really set. This is where your clamps come in handy. Take care and have patience with this process--once it's set, it's set!
Step 2: Nose Bridge
7. Draft nose bridge piece. Hold your goggle sides up to your face and determine how wide the nose bridge needs to be. It's handy if you can get a friend to help you with this step. Once you know that, draw a rectangle with a length of the nose bridge by about 1/2" wide. Then, add two more little rectangles to the side for tabs.
8. Cut out nose bridge. You should have a piece that looks like the photo below.
9. Glue nose bridge. Using your trusty Gorilla Glue, smear a bit on the large rectangle part in a thin, even layer. Then, fold the sides into the center and clamp it down. This not only adds strength, but makes sure the leather strip looks finished on both sides.
10. Add 'end caps' to the nose bridge tabs. Those little side tabs you cut will slide into the inside of your goggle pieces where the original ball bridge used to be. The leather should be just slim enough to slide into place, but because of this, it also requires something additional on the interior of the goggle to keep it from sliding out. This is where your jewelry findings come in. You only need two little 'end caps' so try to buddy up with a jeweler on this one that way you don't spend $3 to buy a bunch of 'em when you may never use them again! Using your plyers, clamp them down around the ends of the tabs, close enough to the main part that you don't add width across the nose, but that you can still slide the bridge into place nicely.
11. Slide bridge into place, replace lenses and screw caps. Now all your main goggle parts should be finished and you can mostly put it back together.
Step 3: Strap & Findings
12. Cut two pieces of strap from your salvaged purse bits. Make one longer than the other so you can double it back through the salvaged D-rings from said purse. Thread them through the sides of your goggles. Adjust fit to head and/or hat. You can also get some aluminum floral wire in a complementary color to wrap around the extra bits you've thread through the side of your goggles. I don't have a step for this since I haven't actually done it yet, but you get the idea, right?
13. Add bits and baubles. I happen to have a ginormous amount of clock parts/cogs, etc. and simply glued them on the side. Because I couldn't clamp these bits (too small, you know) I had to balance my goggles on a pile of crap in such a way that would allow ample time for the Gorilla Glue to set without having my structure collapse.
**The no-solder method of "jewelry making". Okay... So I'm not exactly making jewelry, but this Gorilla Glue stuff is a cheap and easy way to 'solder' your metal pieces together without the investment and soldering torch practice. Start with a toothpick/skewer/sharp object that you can dip into a bead of glue and smear from there. Use clamps, tape, etc, to hold it all together while it dries. Because your surface are isn't very big, these are still fragile pieces in spite of the fact that they are built with Gorilla Glue.
Step 4: Add MORE!
And NOW... you have awesome, creative and personal steampunk goggles!