• Tag Archives DIY
  • Review: Steampunk Style

    The stream of books about the look and feel of Steampunk continues: Steampunk Style is the latest of this kind that has found its way into my humble abode and it is something special: It is from Japan, to be exact, the first genuine Japanese example of Steampunk (other than music) I have held in my hands.

    Steampunk Style serves a double purpose: It displays the magnificent art and it gives instructions to build some of the works of art, decorations and equipment yourself.

    The displayed art is just magnificent and, being from Japan, you are unlikely you have seen it before. For some reason, I have not seen it on any blog or website in the English, French, german or Spanish speaking Steampunk internet world. I have included some snapshots below, and it is only a fragment of the wonderful contraptions presented in Steampunk style:

     

     

    Just because of the art and the unlikeness of the average western reader having come across any of it, this book is a must have, especially when you consider the really modest price tag for something as visually impressive as Steampunk Style. The distinct Japanese flavour is also something you should not miss out on.

    It is the DIY section which constitutes the second part of the book which leaves something to be desired, though. While a great range of different items (including the magnificent Steampunk body armor) are listed there and the instructions are a step-by-step guide, the guides are not very detailed. You get each step as a picture of what it should look like, but not much is being said on how to get there. Some experimenting on your part is required (with potentially devastating results for the project).

    Still, Steampunk Style is an absolutely visually stunning book and highly recommended reading!

    8 out of 10 Zeppelins

     

    Steampunk Style

     


  • Review: Steampunk Emporium

    Cover of Steampunk EmporiumSteampunk Emporium is another book blending fantasy with reality. It is about DIY steampunk art, jewellery to be precise, flavoured with short dispatches set in a steampunk world at the beginning of each chapter. The dispatches are sent from various locations by the intrepid correspondent Emilly Ladybird.
    First impression: Beautiful. The design, layout and artwork of Steampunk Emporium is stunning and very steampunk in deed. The pieces themselves are fairly simple and the book provides step-by-step-instructions for creating each. I actually had the pieces at home to at least simulate the creation of the Empire Medal (pages 70- 73).
    Each set of instructions also provides tips for possible alternatives and alterations you might want to make.

    The final section of Steampunk Emporium provides a list of useful tools, ranging from essential to advanced and some recommendations where to get the material you need. It also commits a sacrilege in this section. Starting on page 107 Jema Hewitt a.k.a. Emilly Ldaybird gives instructions on how to take apart a vintage watch. Even worse: The item actually pictured and being taken apart is a vintage pocket watch. This is not the way to go! If you find a complete pocket watch, you leave it complete. You attempt to restore it to working order and after you fail you are allowed to take it apart! You do not purchase a watch and then turn it into jewellery! Antiques stores also usually sell pieces of watches, so there is no need to butcher one. Sorry about the rant…

    Sadly, Steampunk Emporium provides only one five items for gentlemen but I am rather charmed by the Empire Medal and the 1st Lunar Regiment Dog Tags.

    Also, I found the elements of the items a bit repetitive. There is too much focus on clockwork pieces. Steampunk is more than cogs and gears after all. The Atlantis Expeditions artefacts could have been more ætheric and maybe included crystals but they also rely on clockwork pieces for their Steampunkness.

    In conclusion: Steampunk Emporium provides the reader and tinkerer with some charming pieces to steam up their wardrobes. The pieces are easy to make and are thus ideal for the beginning Steampunk and/or tinkerer. A little more variety would have been a bonus, though and the instructions on how to cannibalize watches are unnecessary.

    Steampunk Emporium gets six out of ten Zeppelins (no butchering of watches on this blog!)


  • Featured Book: Steampunk Softies

    Steampunk Softies CoverSteampunk is pushing into more and more areas. While crafting has long been a pillar of community activities, I have thus far encountered little regarding toys. Maybe because comparatively few of us actually have children or children who still want toys.
    Anyway, I hold in my hands a book which tackles exactly this thus far white spot on the Steampunk map: Toys.
    The book in question: Steampunk Softies: Scientifically-Minded Dolls from a Past That Never Was.
    This is not a real review. In order to review Steampunk Softies, I should first make one of the characters. I will post a full review once I had the time to make one.
    Steampunk Softies is a thin tome on how to create eight unique steampunk characters as soft toys. Where shall I begin. Everything about this little book is so great.
    Every little character has her or his little history, each one is beautifully detailed and each one is easy enough to stitch together. You do not need to be an accomplished tinkerer, toymaker or seamstress to assemble one of the softies.
    The instructions are also given via neat little illustrations guiding you through every step of the process of creating a steampunk softie. For each character, a detailed list of the required parts is given, which can be quite lengthy, let me tell you. But fear not! The authors also make it quite clear that their instructions are only guidelines. If you do not have all the parts for their version of the softies, never mind! Be creative and create your own version of the respective Steampunk Softie Character.
    The book also provides various techniques for ageing fabrics to give the steampunk softies the kind of look you would expect from a toy coming to you from Victorian times.
    And you can gradually improve your skills by working through the book. The softies are, according to the authors, roughly ordered by complexity. Tompion Zeitgeist is really easy, Ferris Scapula is more of a challenge.

    All in all, I think Steampunk Softies: Scientifically-Minded Dolls from a Past That Never Was is a wonderful little book and the characters in there are the perfect way to introduce Steampunk to your children. This, obviously, is quite a bonus in my eyes and I hope I get round to making a Steampunk Softie for my son.
    Since this is not a review, I will not rate Steampunk Softies on the Zeppelin Scale but I can wholeheartedly recommend this wonderful little book to everyone out there. It provides one excellent avenue into Steampunk crafts!