#5 Steampunk Hands: Weapon Workshop

open wings david ruwoldtHow is this for timing? I searched for a recent workshop to write about – as an example of something I learned or made because of steampunk. I had already written about my articulated aviator wings in On Making My Steampunk Wings. I contemplated posting about a recent corset workshop, but that was not exclusively steampunk related (though I did make a new corset for my aviatrix outfit).

I had completely forgotten about this month’s Costumers’ Guild workshop on painting steampunk guns. Over the past few years we have been collecting interesting Nerf guns, water pistols from cheap shops, opshops or garage sales. Now we get the fun of steampunking them up.

The workshop was fun; my artistic muse came out to play. I created a new individually-crafted steampunk accessory and practiced the philosophy of reusing and re-purposing items. A win-win.

Then I thought, rather than write this post about the workshop itself, I could share what I learnt – creating a virtual classroom, and invite you to try it out for yourself.

Last weekend I learned the basics involved in painting up a plastic gun. Here they are:

  • First you need find a toy gun or water pistol to use as a base.
  • Start collecting bits and bobs – bottle lids, tubing, bolts, small plumbing bits – anything that can be glued on to make it look cool. I also have some brass candlesticks that I am planning on using for another weapon. You can buy bits, but I love finding interesting shaped bits and reusing them.
  • Sand back – using fine sandpaper to rough up the smooth plastic surface, so paint will adhere to the gun.
  • Unscrew the bits – lay them out so all areas will be accessed when spray painting.
  • spray paint primer undercoat – to allow the paint to stick to the glossy plastic
  • some decorative bits will be glued on before painting. Others, such as clear tubes, are best attached after painting the rest of the gun (and the pretty bit), so all areas are accessible. Glues such as two-part apoxy, PVA glues, superglue and hot glue guns (though these don’t handle heat very well) can be used, depending on what materials you are gluing.
  • Painting metallic/coloured paints – gold, brass, silver, blue, green (whatever takes your fancy) to give the desired look. Acrylic paints (such as craft paints from Spotlight or craft stores) make it easier to clean up afterwards.
  • some larger areas are best spray painted. Plastic bags and paint tape (sticky tape that does not pull off paint) can be used to mask areas to be unpainted.
  • distressing the gun, by using paint washes (painting a watered down, black paint wash and allowing it to pool in crevices and wiping back from unwanted areas) or using rub and buff over black undercoat
  • add a clear final coat to protect the paintwork and make it more durable.
  • The last thing I added was the leather strips to the handle (so they were paint free)

1 undercoat 2 Spraypainting Karen J Carlisle
1
. Undercoat (grey or black) 2. taping off sections to spray paint

3 handpaintin Karen J Carlisle 4 rub and buff aging Karen J Carlisle
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. handpainting with acrylic paints 4. Using rub and buff to make look used and aged

mine 7 gluing on bits

mine 6b transfer and decals

5. Gluing on tubes and final gun furniture.  6. Adding transfers and painting decals

Introducing my latest creation: It was originally an ex-Nickelodeon Slime Blaster, found at a garage sale for $2. It is now transmogrified into my latest invention -own personal weapon – The Pump-Action-Fairy-Eliminator (the very latest in Irksome Pennate-Being Negation Systems), perfect for my Fairy-hunter outfit (you know – those pesky little biters who insist on raining havoc on the human world)…

mine done mine finished

6. The finished Pump-Action Fairy Eliminator

Why don’t you give it go? Make a pair of steampunk wings or paint up an old toy gun – and share them with us? I would love to see your pictures.


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