Steampunk Terrarium


Introduction: Steampunk Terrarium

Just a quick dirty and fast tutorial on building a prop for the Steampunk Household.



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    18 Discussions

    Good use of those jars. And as for it not being "Steampunk", it is in reality. Jars exactly like these were used as wet cell batteries to provide electrical power for the telegraph system. In the bottom would go a "Crowfoot"(so named because of its shape) made of zinc and in the top a copper piece, then it would be filled with a chemical solution to create the electrical output. Then they'd be linked together to create the power that the telegraphs used. These jars were called "Apothecary jars", there were numerous types of them, and they were used in many kinds of stores to hold various kinds of items.

    3 replies

    I'd care less if it would be 'steampunk' or not, as long as it looks nice and someone enjoys making it and goes through the trouble making an instructable., but your 'defense' is going the wrong direction :-) If it was for electrical output, doesn't that make it non-steampunk by definition? :-)
    Anyway, who cares, it looks great

    On the contrary... These were jars in common use well over a century or two ago... And the ones from the 18th century don't look very different from the ones you used. And antique glassware is part of Steampunk.

    Well, let's first say that I think it looks smashing, but for the sake of argument and i could be totally wrong, I thought by definition 'steampunk' would exclude anthing with electricity (ofcourse it usually doesn't, it has to get its energy from somewhere) , but ofcourse if they are just sort of standard antique glassware, yeah that would make it OK.

    But again, the result is great, no matter what you call it.

    What would make it *more* steampunkish, Venus Flytrap or other carnivorous plants. Very cool idea!! I saw another project that used relatively plain jars and glass candlesticks to make footed apothecary jars. This is perfect for my office because I'm not there enough to take care of exposed plants (they get too dry).

    I on the other hand disagree... Steampunk is not just about gears and copper and such. I think what makes the specific project steampunk, is the vase itself. Looks old and "medical", if you catch my drift.

    It would stand nicely among some general steampunk decoration. However, if you really want a base for it, I would not suggest anything more than a round wooden one. I would prefer some dark wood, but you could just chose one that goes with the rest of the furniture in the room.

    1 reply

    Good points. If every last item in a Steampunk environment had to have gears glued onto it, the style would be compromised and have to be called Clutterpunk. These would do well in a Steampunk scene. It's the branding of the style that needs clarification as the Steampunk aesthetic matures. This project is a great idea for the Steampunk inspired decor as it is (or better with rosenred's wood base idea) without brass and tubes, but clearly conflicts with some folks strict interpretation of the style, expecting some form of enhanced mechanical functionality.

    On one hand we have Steampunk-washing where people claim anything with useless superfluous contraptions to be of the style and instead cheapening it's public image and interpretation. On the other, you have this project which doesn't necessarily fit the strict interpretation of the mechanically based pre atomic movement. It does however feel right at home filling gaps in the aesthetic although better described as "Victorian era scientific" which Steampunk is a product of.

    My props to the author for creating this simple tutorial which certainly will be of use to those interested in achieving an authentic Steampunk environment. Since the broader term "Victorian era scientific" will never be a sexy and people wouldn't know how to find this Steampunk related project if it was not called such. We (as the makers and those who will define the Steampunk movement for the rest of the world) need to either find another word that embodies the wider world of the re-imagined Victorian scientific aesthetic or adopt non steam power themed items like this into the "Steampunk" family brand.

    more like vapor unk hahaaaa

    Awesome idea!

    For those of you without a family history in the mad sciences and heirloomical equipment, you can buy jars that are similar to those at Walmart stores ;3

    put meateating plants in it that is sooo much more steampunk

    I love it! I have some old jars, (none NEARLY as cool as yours) and once I get my paycheck i'm buyin some plants and I'm gonna have a glass jar forrest in my room! lol

    My thoughts on steampunk are this. When it comes to machinery or gadgets then go for gears and brass and such. Just make it at least appear functional in some way and not just for decoration. When it comes to living things, think more along the lines of an apothecary. Although, a full terrarium with copper pipes and a contraption for automatic watering would be interesting. These jars are fine as is or with a wooden base like rosenred suggested.

    I built one of these once and loaded it with a couple of Venus Fly Traps and a stag beetle. Those were all the doo-dads needed, IMHO, for ghoulish steampunkiness. I fed the plants with dead flys every now and then, which can be very Renfield-ish when friends come over.

    I think that it works and looks fine without any random doodads and such, Steampunk these days has a tendency to become too cluttered........ I do like the idea of a base though; you might try using old transmission gears as I use them to great effect in my room as cup holders/coasters.

    good on ya Aussie!!!!! lol im an aus no offence other countries i just never see / here any aussies on internet. im thinking of making a terrariumlike that. thanks forthe tips!

     you could make a metal base like Director13 big metal tractor gears or something!

    You should put some metal around the glass so it would look more steampunk and doesn't harm the plant, like a metal base or something!!!

    A nice-looking terrarium, but I'm not sure that just removing a plastic gasket qualifies a glass jar as steampunk. ;) Needs more doodads?