This weekend, I'll be attending Florida's largest anime convention at the Tampa Convention Center- Metrocon.
For anyone not familiar with this, it's a massive nerdfest where people from all over Florida gather together to dress up as characters from animes, movies, comics and more, buy related items from vendors and attend themed dances, panels, contests and so on.
In the spirit of dressing up, I'm moving from my everyday steampunk wear into something a little more fantastical for the weekend- a steampunk mechanic's outfit.
My awesome mother - who has supported my weirdness for nearly 23 years now - helped me sew a wicked apron (based on this one) and I spent the week modifying welding goggles to go with it.
This was my second attempt at goggles. The first ones were made from scratch and were super flimsy. I wore them to the Tampa Renaissance Festival but didn’t like them. These on the other hand, came out better than I could have imagined so I'm sharing my simple, easy-to-customize instructions with you.
The photos to the right are in the basic order of the instructions.
- Cheap welding goggles (Northwestern Tools and Amazon have the right ones)
- 2 different colors of spray paint (WalMart's Rust-oleum line)
- Liguid leaf gold paint (Walmart)
- Premo! Sculpey oven-bake clay (Michaels)
- Clay sculpting tools or needle/toothpick and butter knife (Michaels/Kitchen)
- Your choice of small hardware, wingnuts, bolts, etc. (Ace hardware)
- Leather purse straps from thrift store purse (Community Thrift Store, Nebraska Ave., Tampa)
- Hot glue and hot glue gun (Jo-Anns)
- Misc. fabric (Repurposed skirt from a thrift store)
Step 1. Purchase cheap welding goggles with flip-up lenses. Lowes and Home Depot didn’t sell that kind so I went to Northwestern Tools and bought them for $7.99. Amazon has them as low as $5 but unless you buy them as part of a super saver deal, you’ll pay shipping and handling.
Step 2. Disassemble all the pieces and rough up every inch of surface area with sandpaper, otherwise the spray paint won’t stick to the plastic.
Step 3. Cover both sets of lenses with painters tape to keep the paint off of them. Make sure you lay down newspaper before you spray paint.
Step 4. Spray paint the base of the goggles one color, the lenses and vents another color. You’ll repeat this process many times until you’ve covered all the bits you’ll inevitably miss on the first coat. It also helps keep the paint from peeling/scraping/rubbing off later.
Step 5. Spray paint any hardware you want to glue on for decoration. I let each coat for all items spray painted dry overnight.
*Note- spray paint OUTSIDE in a well-ventilated area. These goggles are awesome but not worth dying over.
Step 6. Roll half a package of a light-colored Premo! Sculpey oven-bake clay into a ball, then flatten out with a cookie roller until it’s the preferred thickness of whatever accessory you’re trying to make. After molding/sculpting/ said piece, bake for 30 minutes per quarter thickness at 275 degrees.
Step 7. After the clay cools, paint it with liquid leaf gold paint. I did three coats- front, back and sides. When it’s dry, brush over it lightly with black acrylic paint to bring out the details and add some shadowing. Mine is a gear/cog design.
Step 8. Pop the lenses and vents back into the base of the goggles. Glue your painted clay accessories on the sides and the hardware on the sides of the lenses as you see fit.
Step 9. Glue your purse straps onto the inside sides of the goggles then glue a nicer patch of brownish material over the straps to hide the messiness.
Step 10. Bada bing. Customize as you please. Happy goggle making :)
Pictures of my full outfit and of the Metrocon convention will be up next week! Are any Land O' Lakes residents heading out there? Let me know in the comments!
Confused about this whole steampunk mess? Don't fear! Check out my first blog post explaining the science fiction genre that inspired a subculture.