Steampunk jewelry is one trend that doesn't seem to be going away any time soon! This wonderfully creative jewelry making style combines the best of the romantic Victorian era and the development of mechanized industry with just a touch of science fiction and fantasy.
If you feel intimidated by the thought of incorporating a little bit of steampunk into your beading projects, it's really much easier than you might think. And the best part is that chances are you don't have to go out and buy a whole bunch of new beads and findings for your steampunk jewelry and beading projects — unless you really want to!
I combed my stash for steampunk jewelry making components, and I was surprised at how many I found! Check out my five favorite finds for steampunk jewelry and beading projects:
|Gemstones. Yes, gemstones can be used in steampunk beaded jewelry! Think about the colors you use — earthier colors and even metallic gemstones like these pyrite beads will give your beadwork that steampunk "edge" that distinguishes it from other styles of beaded jewelry.|
|Chain. This is probably the easiest way to get started with steampunk jewelry. Including a bit of chain will add a bit of the industrial to your beaded jewelry project. Try using chain instead of stringing or beading a strap for your next bead embroidered pendant or cabochon, or cut off shorter lengths and use it as fringe.|
Handmade components. I love handmade components, and even if they aren't described as being steampunk, you can tell from looking at them if they'll work. The ceramic cabochon on the left, created by Lisa Peters, has impressions of screws and hardware in it, giving it an industrial look which I softened a bit by surrounding it with Czech fire polished beads.
The handmade fine silver rings on the right were made by Kate McKinnon, and would make great steampunk components or links.
|Skeleton keys. In fact, keys of any kind are great steampunk jewelry making components. I purchased this set of keys from Diane Hyde's Beadpunk site, but you can find antique skeleton keys by searching on eBay or looking in your local thrift shop. An easy way to get started with them is to make a tube of peyote strip around the center of the key, and add a strung or beadwoven strap.|
|Scrapbook embellishments. I don't do any scrapbooking, but I scour the scrapbook aisles at my local craft store to see what kinds of unusual components they have. I found two packs of these extremely lightweight metal gears and couldn't resist. They'll make great dangles, fringe, or earrings!|
Easy peasy, right? Chances are, you've already got some chain, gemstones, and a few handmade components in your bead stash right now. So why not give steampunk jewelry making a try?
Now, if you're really up for a challenge, why not learn some new jewelry making techniques to take your steampunk jewelry making a little further? Check out Jean Campbell's awesome Making Steampunk-Style Jewelry DVD! You'll branch out into resin, cold connections, and brush up your wire working skills. Get your copy of Making Steampunk-Style Jewelry and get expert advice and instruction from a master jewelry maker to help you master a new style of jewelry making!
What are your favorite materials for steampunk jewelry? What was the most unusual component you ever incorporated into a piece of steampunk jewelry? Share your stories and leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog!