Sunday, April 27, 2014

Figments and Filaments post con

More Costume celebration from the Greater Metro Kansas City, MO area.  Airship Noir had a bit of a presence, considering the Co-Chair is a crew member, plus a bunch of us did panels for the convention as well.  In other words, steampunk had a presence.

Photo/background: ImageCollectors (find on Facebook) 

Missing several crew who attended, but it's so had to get everyone together in one spot just when you want to start taking group photos. 

Our second hands-on maker style panel for the convention.  

Sydney Stirling, House Dirigible, Second Mate of Airship Noir

We'll be back next year.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


If you don't know about Figments and Filaments and you enjoy costuming of any kind - check out this convention next year.  Year One is fantastic.

Airship Noir members have done several panels so far.  Here's the info for the Maker Panel Bob Spangler and I did Saturday, and the Steampunk Hats, Guns, & Goggles panel we will be doing Sunday:

Figments and Filaments Convention
April 25-27th, 2014

Maker Panel: Hands On- Simple Metal Etching (plus a bit more)

The Plan:

Hammering - hammer out pennies on striker plates and anvils.
Metal Etching - Physical etching - Sharpie a design and etch with etching tool. Going
Punch holes - Hole punch & Disk punch with hammer.
Creating a curve/half circle - Dappling block and hammer (optional step)
Riveting - with rivets and brads using ball peen hammer and/or riveting tool

Heres a list of some of the tools we are using day:

Anvil with striker plates -striker plates/bench blocks can be bought separate
Hammers -try to buy the correct hammer for the job you have in mind
Disk Cutters
Metal Hole Punch (keep in mind what gauge metal you want to punch though)
Rivet Setter
Side Cutter
Flush Cutter
Metal Etching Tool
Dappling Block with Doming Punches
Engraver (cordless, diamond tip)

Some resource ideas:

Tandy Leather (
Fire Mountain Gems (
Rio Grande (
Instructables (
Maker Faire/ Makezine (

Facebook pages to look up and maybe join:

Airship Noir
KC Steampunk

Great Plains Steampunk

Figments and Filaments Convention
April 25-27th, 2014

Basic Steampunk Making: Goggles, Modified Nerf Guns, and Hats

The Plan:

Show off a range of goggles you can make or modify get some ideas for your own style.  Suggestions on how to wear goggles comfortably all through a convention weekend.

Walking you through the steps for taking apart a Nerf gun.  How to prime, paint, and bling your Nerf to become a Steampunk weapon prop.  Examples will be attaching scopes and gauges. 

Equipment for mod:
Black or rust colored primer for plastic
Acrylic paint
Rubn Buff
Your imagination

Going through some modifications for hats. Showing off a range of styles and additions.  Tip: weather-stripping is something you can buy by the yard at the hardware store for cheap.  Cut of a bit and stick it inside the brim of your hat for easy re-sizing. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A post about my first year doing Thing A Day

Now that Thing A Day for 2014 is over with, I'm going to share some of the highlights of what I made.  I learned some new skills, enhanced old ones, came up with wonderful ideas to enhance my Steampunk wardrobe as well as some for my house.  Being able to talk about Making new things with my crewmates was probably the best part, then sharing those creations and trading tips and ideas.

Hanging Copper Box - this was my Day #1

Thing A Day 1 002

Took a sheet of copper, a smaller sheet of brass, patinaed the copper with layer after layer of solution to build the colors and a solid patina, folded my copper, then folded, torched and hammered the brass, hole punched everything, and sewed it with together with copper wire.  Embellished with some gear cut outs, and added a chain so I could hang it on my wall.  It is now hanging in my kitchen as a useful holder – Steampunk Style.
Thing A Day 1 004

Day #2 - Finished Another Pair of Goggles (I now have about 15 - one for *every* occassion)

Thing A Day - Day 2 002
Strips of brass, cleaned, gear pattern drawn and etched, patinaed with flame, metal folded for 8-sided goggles – one inch overlap for stability.  Sides add additional stability when worn.

Thing A Day - Day 2 003
Mesh folded, sniped, shaped, and formed.  Sides curled to prevent sharp points from sticking out.   Holes punched for riveting, and cord later on.

Riveted everything in place with brads and washers. Added waxed cotton cord for comfort when wearing and then inserted the nose piece.
Thing A Day - Day 2 006 Riveted first straps onto sides, then added as needed to fit my head.  More can be added so goggles can be worn by different people, or worn on a hat.

Day #4 - I made a box to keep my pocket watches

Thing A Day 4 007

Built plywood skeleton, riveted copper sheets together, pasted cloth to interior (bottom and sides)Thing A Day 4 002, formed copper to skeleton, shaped sides to fit snugly, rubbed Inca Gold and African Bronze wax onto surface for more depth (waited 10 minutes and buffed).

Day 6 was Copper Leaves.  I think the was the second time I did some during Thing A Day, and I did more later on, but I really liked this set.

Thing A Day 6 001 Thing A Day 6 002

Day 8 - Had me etching the Airship Noir on a metal disk.

Thing A Day 6 7 8 005
Day 15 - Another etch, this time more detail with a peacock.
Thing A Day 15 004
New sketch and etch for today – Peacock with flowers.

Day 20 - The last etch I'll share.  I was very excited/relieved to catch on fairly quickly to physical etching since this is something I've been wanting to delve into.
Thing A Day 20 005
Etched a Dwarf Cuttlefish.

Day 24 - Did a short blog on how I am patinaing my copper sheeting for a large copper box I'm constructing for my Steampunk excursions to ComiCons.

Thing A Day 24 001
My process is pretty simple, just takes time.  Take your copper and clean all the dirt and oils off.  I wear latex gloves when I do this so my skin doesn’t re-deposit oils.  I use a scrubbing pad with a gentle scrub cleaner, and then baking powder with a half lemon.  Do not use steel wool – it has oils in the metal fibers that will deposit back on the copper.  A clean surface will take the chemical reaction to patina – oils will resist. *forgot to add- I take some sandpaper and rough up my surface.  It will help the patina scales adhere better and will give more surface for the chemical interactions to work.*  Once clean and the water sheets off, I start my process.  You can leave the copper wet or let it dry – every time you do a patina, it will be different and every little variation in the environment can alter your results.  This is the fun for me.  For my box, I’m using a solution of white vinegar, ammonia, salt, and a little mustard.  I let the solution wash over the sheet in a tray, then tilt to let the oxygen go to work.  Maybe I’ll play around once or two – let some solution drip off my brush and wash off the green scale.  A slow patina will last longer, so this isn't a one hour process.  For this batch, I let them sit for 24 to 36 hours.  I could do longer, but I've decided this is the look I want for this project.
Once I've decided I’m done, I pick up the copper and with a soft scrub, I wash off the green scale.  It’s soft, and when dry, would fall like powder.  Under that is what I want.
Thing A Day 24 005 Thing A Day 24 006

I get some subtle color shifts as well as some of those blues and purples.  Before I start riveting all my sheets together, I’ll give each a quick clear coat.  All I’m doing is slowing down the oxidation process now.  I’m just starting and stalling the process more on my own terms.

More entries after Planet ComiCon the 14-16th of this month!
-Sydney Stirling, House Dirigible