Modifying Welding Goggles Into a Steam Inspired Look




About: I am boring. Fear my powerful powers of boredom!

I wanted a pair of goggles. I told myself it was because I wanted to use them for sunglasses, or that I wanted them when I rode my bicycle. Really, I just wanted a pair of goggles for the reasons that I just wanted a pair of goggles.

For this project I used one pair of cheap welding goggles found at my local non-chain hardware store.
Some leftover black suede from other projects.
Epoxy. Hmmmm, I loves me epoxy.
Some of that Fusion plastic pain in black.
Some acrylic brass colored paint.
Some brass jinglies left over from some other jewelry project.

I am often inspired by Steampunk asthetics, and was going to work on something much harder before I found the forum at Brass Goggles. There is even a thread titled The Definitive Goggle Thread where a wonderful person named TheRedMax suggested welding goggles as a launching point.

Previous to that I was going to cut and shape colored plexi and attach it to brass or PVC painted fittings. As fantastic as that would be, my laziness coupled with an intense desire for instant gratification won out. Plus, the welding goggles were only $8 and some change. That was far cheaper than my original plan.

This project could be done in one or two days depending on drying glue or paint times. It took me the better part of a week because I was ill with acute tonsillitis. Epoxy is nausea inducing by itself let alone when you are already ill from your tonsils going bad. I tend to tinker when nervous, so here you go.

(Not to worry! I go to surgery today in a couple hours to get them out. I am going to ask if they will give me the tonsils, but I suspect that request will be denied. If they do give me my tonsils I will post a picture, I promise.)

As a side note, my camera is very old and in poor condition. For some reason it shoots colors oddly, and is in general a pain. Please forgive the nature of the pictures, and the wonky colors.

Step 1: Get Your Goggles

Get a pair of cheap plastic welding goggles. I got mine for eight dollars, and some change, at a local non-chain hardware store. They are pretty cool with screw off front bits, and a green lens and a clear cover lens.

I found out from a wonderful man named Kabuki in the thread that lens darknesses range from a rating of one to ten, with one being the lightest and ten being the darkest. He stated:

3 is sufficient for soldering with a torch, and 5 is sufficient for brazing. 5 is a little dark for, say, sunglasses replacements, but 3 or 4 would be great.

I found that fascinating.

Mine came in a horrible teal color, but that didn't bother me. I knew I would be covering them anyways. There is also elastic to hold them on your head. I am sure some folks might like to trade that out for a leather strap, but my head is tiny, and sometimes I wear dreads that make it huge. Elastic fits that every changing hair extension induced head dimension.

Step 2: Sanding

You may not need to do this step if your goggles fit your head. As I have said, my head is a tiny girl head, and the goggles were a bit large and funny compared to my head size. This necessitated some sanding and shaping. I just took some sand paper and sanded it down in areas that were uncomfortable until it fit better. I could have probably used my dremel to do this, but my husband was sleeping at the time.

I basically sanded a bit, held it to my face, and sanded some more. I had teal plastic bits in my eyebrows.

Step 3: Covering With Leather

I then cut a piece of black suede out of some scraps I had. Make sure you have enough to wrap not only around the goggle, but that would fold into the inside as well. I took the straight edge, and lined it up just under the threads where the lens caps went, and epoxied it on. I was careful not to glue the area where the elastic head band went through on the front or back. It's also a good idea not to mess with the threads that hold the lens caps, either.

Once it was glued around the outside, I trimmed it down a bit, and folded it inside and glued it in as well. I cut darts where needed, and smoothed it down.

I have no really good advice for this other than locking the cat out of the room. Epoxied cats are no fun.

I just glued, and held it. I ended up with my fingers epoxied, but am glad to say I did not glue myself to the pieces. I had bought six minute epoxy, but in hindsight six minutes is a longtime to hold a piece of leather to a goggle bit. If I do this again, I will use the three minute epoxy instead. I guess, just keep at it even if it doesn't look like it's going to turn out. Eventually there will come a point where you have to stop fussing with it, as well. Go for it, epoxy is fun!

I need to note, that the camera is picking up every dot of epoxy on the goggle bit, but to the human eye it's completely unnoticeable. What is noticeable is the white center of the suede.

Step 4: Finishing This Piece

I didn't like the look of the suede overlapping very much, so I used a retractable razer and trimmed it down flush.

I also cut the holes for the head strap out. I just felt through the suede with my finger nail and used the retractable razor to cut holes in the leather right over where the original holes where already at.

Then I got excited, and put the elastic strap back in. I could have waited, but waiting isn't for me. I had to use my tweezers to push the thing through, because it was a tight fit.

To get rid of the white interior stripes on the black suede, I used a black sharpie marker. They come in all colors these days, so I suppose this could work for any color leather theoretically.

It was virtually seamless to the naked eye, but the camera has picked up the seams.

I also forgot to take pictures, but there was a little plastic sheath for the chain that goes in the middle. I covered that in black suede, too.

Step 5: Lens Caps

Next, go back to the lens caps you took off to work with the goggle base. Put tape of some sort in the interior to cover the threads so no paint, epoxy, or what-have-you gets on that part.

I wanted my lens caps to look like there was the intimation of rivets. I got the idea at the Brass Goggles forum from a gentleman (I can't seem to find the thread, or his name! ) that he used glue dots, or googley eyes for rivets before painting. Googley eyes would be too big, but glue dots were worth a try.

I just doted my epoxy around the rim in equally spaced dots. I was dubious that this would work.

After the glue was dry, I spray painted them with a base of the Krylon Fusion plastic pain.

Then I dry brushed them with brass acrylic paint.

The pictures do not do justice to how nice the brass dry brushing turned out. I also have to say the glue dots worked far better then expected, and I am in that gentleman's debt for the tip.

We are almost done, now.

Step 6: Embellishement

I decided the sides were too plain, so I added some brass bits from a jewelry project.

I soldered all the joins on the jewelry piece so it wouldn't fall apart, then just sewed it on with heavy button thread through the leather. I used the Fraycheck to seal the knot.

As a side note, I always solder my jewelry bits, like the jump rings and stuff. I am hard on jewelry, and try to make sure I create things that take into account my penchant for disaster.

Step 7: Ta Da!

Now I am done. See my horrible attempts to take pictures of these. I fail at cameras, and washing my bathroom mirror.

Now off to get my tonsils removed. Please enjoy the tutorial, and any comments or edits will be done when I am done being sick with the general anesthetic.

I got the tonsils out, and finally came around, so I edited this for typos and clarity.

I also tried to get my tonsils from the surgery center. They said they couldn't give them out related to hazardous waste and all that. I promised I would put a "Warning: Do not eat" sticker on them to no avail. The surgeon then made Hannibal Lector jokes which endeared him to me greatly.

It's too bad really, because they would have looked great in my work shop for that bit of mad science flair.



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    95 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Absolutely fantastic! i've been looking for the right way to work my way into steampunk and you've provided it for me. Great instruction makes a great instructable


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I just wanted to properly thank you for posting this - it has inspired me to make a pair of my own! Granted, they aren't for me - they're for a craft swap - but I still appreciate the informative inspiration! I also made a storage compartment for them using one of those pre-formed paper mache boxes...perfect for stashing away all those important, mad science-y secrets!

    Thanks again!!

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Step 7

    Awesome job, you have managed to infect me with the want to make these myself, they sure beat paying those prices online for them.......why buy when you can make yourself

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 7

    I think that is a most excellent sentiment. Why buy anything that you can make yourself? I much prefer homemade and diy. If you make some of your own, post a picture so I can see!


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 7

    sorry for the late responce, but of course i will, crafting is what i cove to do, though i don't think they'll come out as good


    8 years ago on Step 7

    This is my pair, I found you instructable the day I finished them.


    8 years ago on Step 5

     Hay I have a tip... use Hot glue for rivets instead of Epoxy


    9 years ago on Step 7

    I have these green goggles as well, and your modifications make the ones I tried kinda pathetic (the green is pretty annoying). I'll give this a shot, hopefully it turns out as nice as yours.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I desparately want to do this. I'd wear them to school. My dad won't let me due to he thinks it's weird and bizarre. He never likes anything I like or what I do...


    9 years ago on Step 1

    ok, now how much suede, and what shape should I cut out for dis? BTW, awesome concept, and soo easy! *2 thumbzors up*

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

    I just used scraps I already had. Not even an 8x11 inch piece. Perhaps a 3x5 index cards worth for each side? I just held the goggle to the suede, and just sort of cut out a rectangle piece that was wide enough at the widest part of the goggle, after folding inwards. It was a lot of holding and guessing, really.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I used 3 minute epoxy, but if I had to do it over again I would use 60 second epoxy because 3 minutes is a long time to hold something until it sticks. I think just about any glue that will stick to both plastic and leather would work. 777, or household goo, or whathave you. I went into the store, and read the directions to make sure it stuck to both, and picked that way. Good luck with your project. Post pics if you make one. That would be cool.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Ha ha! thanks. If I could sneak more Steampunk into my nursing uniform, I soooo would.


    10 years ago on Step 1

    They are just basic cheap welding goggles. I got them at a hardware store that also sells welding supplies. I have seen them online under "welding goggles", and at welding supply stores locally. I'm in the US, and they seem to be wherever you find welding supplies. I hope you can find them in Sweden, too!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I went to the local hardware store. It was one of those cool mom and pop affairs, that carries a little of everything. I've also seen them at the welding supply places that I have been to.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    i just got my tonsils taken out and no they wont let you keep them