Saturday, February 21, 2015

[Tutorial] Quick n' dirty steampunk goggles

This whole thing is 90% foam. Believe it!
Need a pair of steampunk goggles on the fly? making these would set you back a couple of hours at most, and can be made of random junk lying around your house.

The goggles I made were meant to be pinned to a top hat I made (no tutorial sorry, not unless I decide to make another hat!) so they CAN be used on your face but they're nowhere near as comfortable and can be kinda flimsy for actual wear. But they definitely work if you just want a pair for show.

NOTE: This tutorial does not include any measurements whatsoever, because your base materials might vary.


A reasonably sized cardboard tube (any tube shaped material would work actually)
Foam (two thicknesses, preferably between 2mm - 5mm)
Scrap cloth or faux leather
Scrap transparent plastic sheet, mine came from a plastic file
PVA glue (or favourite foam sealant)


Scissors/ boxcutter knife
Contact Glue
Rub N' Buff in Antique Gold
Acrylic Paint
Needle and thread


3D paint
Tiny screws or thumbtacks

The first order of business is to find a reference for what you want to make your steampunk goggles looking like. I wanted something more vintage looking (without all the extra fancy stuff) plus I need to do it really fast (because, I tend to do shit last minute) so I picked a very basic design.

Cut the tubes and fit the first foam layer

These will form the main 'body' of your goggles. Take your tube and cut it in half and then cut the other end slightly slanting so they will fit around your eyes comfortably. If you aren't going to wear them you don't have to cut them to an exact fit.

Next cut out two larger strips of the thinner foam and wrap it around both tubes, glue them down and trim off the access. Once they dry, coat the outside of the foam with a sealant and let it dry.

While waiting for them to dry, measure out and cut adequate amounts of scrap cloth, elastic or leather to make into your 'strap'. Make a short one to act as the nose bridge of the goggles and a longer one that will go around your neck/head/hat/whathaveyou.

Make the lenses
Use the 'front end' to measure

For the 'lenses' cut out circles from your transparent plastic sheet and then glue them onto your tube. Don't worry if they're too big, you can trim them off later. You can use tougher plastic or even coloured material for this step, as long as it's semi transparent anything works really.
They will more or less look like this
Optionally, you can also paint the inside of your tubes if you don't want people to see that they're actually made of cardboard rolls :P I painted mine black but at a later stage than I should have. Lesson learnt!


Once you have trimmed them, cut out a pair of 'rims' for your goggles. I wasn't super careful when cutting mine out so they're a little uneven but I did trim them down somewhat. Once they're ready place the outer rim on top of the goggles and glue it down. 

This will act as sort of a 'sandwich' to hold the lenses in place and make it look cooler/hide all your ugly glue. You can also glue an additional ring of foam on the back of the goggles to simulate padding or to just make it more comfortable if you do intend to wear it later.

Here is where I added little drops of 3D paint to the outer rims to simulate rivets, you can also use 3D paint to make them look all regal by painting decorative patterns on them if your character is of the fancier persuasion.

Coat the outer rims with sealant as well. You can add little screws or thumbtacks as well but do it after you've sealed everything.

Paint paint.

Paint up your goggles to be with a base coat. Black is preferable. You may need 1-3 coats depending on how thick your paint is, just be careful to avoid dripping any on your lenses. Allow to dry thoroughly in between each layer.

Now here's the fun part.
After the base coat has dried, break out your Rub N' Buff and use your finger or a brush to start painting the entire body of the goggles, buff them out when done.

If you don't have/want to use Rub N' Buff, regular copper coloured acrylic paint will work just as well.

Take a bit of care to avoid painting on your lenses as usual.


Once everything is done, take your straps and either glue or staple them to your goggles. Optionally you can cover the staples with a bit of paint or foam, though bear in mind that glue is not as good as tacking the straps down and should be treated as a temporary measure.

After that you're pretty much done! I might write a more proper tutorial later because I am going to be making more goggles, hopefully with more comprehensive instructions.

Happy building!

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