Friday, April 20, 2012

DIY "Upcycled" Costume Medals

This past week I've been working on some more medals for my Major General Steampunk Character (cuz you can never have too many, right?).  I've shared a few back when I posted about them on my jacket here. Just had to revisit these.  It's too much fun rummaging through my junk jewelry stash for this.  Here are some of my favorites so far:

These are pretty simple to put together.  The funnest part is finding the faux medals in the form of old necklace pendants, earrings, keychains and other odd junk.   The ribbon portion is made with 1 1/2" wide scraps of grosgrain ribbon (mostly from old hatbands and dress ties my daughter discards).  I colored a few ribbons (like the 2nd one in the bottom row) with permanent marker just to give them a bit of variety. To attach the medals to the ribbon, I made my jump rings from scrap wire or salvaged them old jewelry.  A marker barrel works well for wrapping the jump rings on.   

And now for the backs, which I'm most proud of.  The photo just above is a comparison of the back of an old marching band medal I purchased at the flea market  (left) and my homemade version (right).  So professional looking, right?  ;)  I took care to make my ribbons sturdier like these band medals. I'll tell you why...

Another pic of the backs.  Originally, I was just going to just glue the ribbon down over the pin backs, but I prefer to avoid using glue whenever I can.  I've seen some medals on and other site where they just hot glued the pin backs on.  From my own experience, I KNOW that won't hold up long.  So, I'll share the secret with you, in case you want to make some.

I used the leftover aluminum from the bottle used on my monocle here to secure the ribbon to the pin backs, but any thin copper, brass, tin metal scraps could work.  The bottle is a really thick aluminum (not the type used in the ordinary beverage cans).  To tell you how thick it is, I have to use pliers to bend a sharp corner on it.
  • I cut 2 pieces of the aluminum just short (8th of an inch) of the width of the ribbon.  One is about 7/16th" long and the other 3/4".  
  • I used a vise to bend the edges on the 3/4" piece into a bracket, "]", shape so that the length is now at 1/2".  
  • Then, I punched holes in the smaller piece with a nail punch and inserted the pin back into it. 
  • To attach the ribbon, I wrap the edges of the ribbon over the wider piece of aluminum.  The smaller piece sorta snaps or slides into the wider one with the ribbon trapped under it.  
  • I use some pliers to smash the edges of the wider piece down over the smaller one til it's nice and tight. 
They go together practically in seconds.

So, all in all, these were made with all "upcycled" parts.  Didn't have to purchase anything.  LOVE projects like that. Don't you?  These would be great to make if you belong to a steampunk airship or other group that wants to identify themselves.  Medals can be made of just about anything you can imagine.  I plan to make some more until I either run out of aluminum or jewelry parts.  I also plan to make a sash to wear some of these on for the Steampunk Invasion at Scarborough Ren Faire the last weekend of April.  Though, I'm sure many of these medals will have to stay home.  :)

I still plan to post more about the progress on the "bustle bar" here in the near future.  Just have to get some good pics.  I'll try to get some while at Scarby.  So, stay tuned for more costuming posts.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Releasing Some More "Bottled" Up Creativity

Just got back from a haunting weekend trip to Jefferson, Texas where we attending the Steampunk Paranormal hybrid convention called "Nightmare Machine" organized by the Steampunk Illumination Society. Before we left for this exhausting weekend, I managed to make a few new things for my outfit. One was this monocle made from an aluminum bottle of an energy drink (Venom).

I polished off the paint with some steel wool and cut down the bottle, which is really thick. Much thicker than your ordinary can.

I cut out the opening in the cap and used some brown plastic from a root beer bottle for the lens. I cut the lense so that it stays in when you screw the lid on the bottle. So, you could change out the lenses to match an outfit, I suppose.

Then, I added the leather strap with a can tab buckle.

I used a short piece of aluminum wire on the buck and the ring to the side of the buckle that hold the strap down. These work really well.

The leather was all scraps from my man's leather hat making. He wastes a LOT. I'm going to have to get after him for that. But, I can't complain too much, cuz I always seem to find uses for it. :)

Pretty fast and easy project. I wore it briefly while we were at the event. I must confess, I'm not used to wearing things over my eyes. I don't even like sunglasses on my face. And, this piece really messes with your depth perception. But, darn it! I looked good. hehe :D

Although it was a bit warm in Jefferson, we managed to have a good time invading the town for the weekend. The locals were very friendly, gracious, and exceptionally curious. We got to answer many questions about what we were up to. BTW, although there are many nice B&Bs in and around Jefferson, we decided we wanted to camp and brought our yurt out to the local RV Park. It was more than we hoped for. The site that "Diamond Don", the RV park owner picked for us was beautiful. We had a nice view of the river. And, Don was really great. He made sure we weren't wanting for anything during our stay. Great hospitality.

I also managed to make some more tabistry for the trip. I made a top hat for the silent auction with a pair of "beer goggles" I discuss more on my tabistry blog ( Hope you've enjoyed taking a looksee. I'll be back again after I've rested.