Archive for the ‘Crafting’ Category


New Hat Project

July 30, 2012

Cut this out intending to work on it during the Salt City Steamfest. I managed to bevel the edges, but that was it. Last night I managed to get back at it and punched holes for stitching and dyed it. As well as starting to paint in the symbol that will be on the front of the hat.



Making a Hunter’s Kit

July 18, 2012

So I recently had a request from a friend for a hunter’s kit pulling from the tv show Supernatural. She wanted a silver spike and a blessed iron spike (similar in style to throwing spikes), a container for holy water, a container for salt and a simple rosary. All of it contained in a neat box.

I jumped in immediately because I loved the idea. I pitched a leather box, as I have done several smaller projects in leather, such as this leather dice case:

So I started tracking down components. The first piece I jumped on was a cheap metal flask for holy water. It is something that was used in the show, you can find them on Amazon for very little money, and they can be decorated in various ways later.

Next I went hunting for a salt container. I was originally looking for something in the realm of a tea tin, but was not finding anything I liked that was also inexpensive. Eventually I settled on a great metal salt shaker from the local Asian Store/Restaurant Supply place that I could plug the shaker piece easily enough using some leather and glue.

Meanwhile, I started in on the spikes. I initially thought I would shape out some wood pieces and then paint them up. I cut down a dowel that I had sitting around the house and did some roughing with a set of carving knives I have around, then finished them out with my dremel. One of them I added some crosses near the point, thinking it would be an interesting visual touch.

Which I liked well enough at this stage. On the other hand, I hated them once I started painting. Too much wood texture coming through the paint and the dowel didn’t seem to take the metallic silver paint well at all. I fought with it for a bit, but eventually scrapped the idea and moved back toward finding something I actually liked the look of.

The easy solution seemed to be just buying some throwing spikes that were already metal and then modifying them for my purposes. Another trip out to a local place, this time the import store at the mall, full of cheap prop weapons and bamboo.

I also pestered the friend I was building this for at this point to debate the rounded spikes, versus the more knife like spikes. They liked the knife option, which I also enjoyed.

The top silver just involved grinding off the black coating and then cleaning it back up. I left some of the texture from the grinding because it is interesting visually. The middle involved painting over with a “wrought iron” color crafting paint. This was another place where I used a lot of texture in the paint application to make it look rougher as a piece. For a third and bonus piece I painted the edges of a knife gold, going for the idea that coating the edges of something would be effective enough and far more reasonable then actually casting a full blade from gold.

This gave me enough pieces to start assembling the box. I sized out the space I would need and then started cutting simple rectangles, beveling the edges, dying, punching holes and then finally stitching it together. The rosary was a quick side piece as I was working on other things. The beads are cannibalized from some old costume jewelery I was given and the cross was in with the rest of my jewelery stash. I did have to drill a hole in the top of the cross to attach it to the strand more cleanly, which was just some filing and my little manual jewelery drill.

With that in place I started building the lining and the seat for the knives. The lining I cut to fit, leaving an extra lip for the top to fit around. I decided on glue rather then more stitching, since the cross-stitch on the outside was already pretty heavy. The hinges are a lighter weight leather same as the lining, cut to thin strips and then riveted to the top and bottom pieces. I went with three hinges for extra stability. The front latch is a simple piece, again riveted. the seat is a leather top and bottom, with leather pieces stitched at either end and in the middle for stability. I exacto-knifed myself slots for the knives and then riveted it to the bottom liner before I installed it.

The handle is turned in and stitched to itself and then a thinner section is riveted to the top of the box. With that in place I found a drawing of the devil’s trap from the show. I sketched it onto some tracing paper and then wet the leather so I could stylus the sketch into the leather before painting it in with a fine-tipped brush. I continue to be a fan of the eco-flo leather dye for these sorts of projects. With the paints for fine work like the symbol, versus dauber and normal dye for the main body.





New Gambler’s Hat

August 21, 2011

I liked this hat enough to work on one for myself. I’ve got the base together. Working on styling the brim a little still. I may also find something more interesting for the lacing and to use as a hat band.


Guitar Top Hat

February 15, 2011

Over the weekend I finally found a few minutes to finish out a donation for the local music festival, Groovefest. I was originally thinking of doing something simple, but the idea for a guitar top hat hit me one day while driving to work and just would not let go. I managed to get the bridge and bridge pins from a local shop that does repairs and custom guitar builds. They actually just gave me one once I explained what I was doing, so long as I promised to show them the end result.

I left the strings with minimal tension, as I didn’t think it’d sound particularly pretty regardless and I was also wary of putting tension on strings that close to someones face. Leather is all hand-dyed as well as hand cut, punched and stitched.


Front of the hat, sitting on my record player

Angled view, showing strings

Full sized hat

X-stitching to finish the side.


Hopefully it will let them pull in some extra money for the event, since I didn’t really have spare money to throw in myself.


Mammoth Ivory Knife

January 13, 2011

This idea crept into my skull and refused to go away until I did something with it. I had seen some bone knives I was rather enamored with, but haven’t really worked with bone thus far, where as I have done work with mammoth ivory and happened to have at least one piece that I thought would work.

One side was already smooth, probably cut off from another project. I buy all scrap, so everything I have is odd bits. The other side was pretty rough, but the piece was thick enough that I wasn’t too worried about it. Initial shaping and cleaning up the one side made it look definitely doable.

Clean Side

Rough Side

So I cleaned it up more and gave it a full blade shape. I did the work with different grinding wheels on my dremel, as well as various light grains of sand paper to smooth it out.

I eventually settled on leopard wood for the hilt, because I liked the look and I had a piece in my stash. I narrowed the end bit down to a narrower strip and dremeled down the piece of wood to the thickness and shape I wanted, cleaning it up with a file and then sandpaper. Some of the shaping is a bit rough. I would like to use a belt sander in the future to make this kind of thing a little smoother, though some of the roughness I like.

I settled it into the hilt with a little epoxy to help keep it stable, and drilled a hole through the wood and the blade to help lace it firmly in place. It is done with artificial sinew.

Finished rough side

Finished clean side


Sheath is pending. Playing with ideas for something that is at least partly open, so the blade is visible even when sheathed, since that’s the part that makes it interesting to me.


New Custom Goggle Design

December 3, 2010

This project began life as a request to replicate some goggles seen in the Closer Music Video. I am told it is Trent Reznor that is wearing them.

With this set, I had to create a new pattern to accommodated a semi-different shape. The sides are longer and wider, the nose piece is more shaped and large, and of course the brackets.

The black plastic frame pieces had to be cleaned up to work with the shape and I had to cut and paint brackets to get something the size I was after, as well as building some “Washers” to space the brackets up to sit properly. Everything is done with hand stitching on these, as there was not much in the way of visible hardware beyond the brackets on the original piece. I am rather pleased with how they turned out.




October Crafting

October 11, 2010

This weekend I had the fun of a particularly interesting custom order. An individual who I had previously built a big plague doctor mask for came back to buy my steampunk queen of hearts mask.

They also had a special request for a Pumpkin Chastity belt. The idea is based off of the old nursery rhyme:
Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater,
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her,
Put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her, very well.

It took a little mental playing to formulate some ideas, and after working with them a little to narrow it down, I decided on a basic costume piece that I could finish quickly, as well as a pumpkin hat/fascinator from the top piece of the pumpkin.

I built it out of a foam pumpkin and did the ties in lightly felted green wool to create a semi vine-like effect with the ties. This also made sizing less of a potential problem.

Of course, I couldn’t find any green wool yarn. I did finally track down some white wool yarn and picked up some cake dye to do the coloring. There was a lot of simmering the yarn in water and dye, the eventual addition of a small amount of vinegar, and waiting. Here is the pot full of water, dye and yarn.

Pot of dye with the yarn in it.

And then I rinsed it really well and hung it up to dry.

Hung the yarn off of a chair to dry

I did have a few spots that didn’t quite get dyed, but overall it turned out nice. Not bad for a first attempt with the cake dyes. I have done koolaid and wool batting, but yarn and cake dyes was new.

Then there was much foam carving. I started by carving out the top piece, which involved an amount of removing the small bit of dowel used to help attach the stem to the piece. There was sawing, but mostly just carving out the foam with a pocket knife, and some cleanup with an exacto and some small filing. I also attached some brown felt to the bottom of the piece to finish it out, before attaching a pair of off-set hair clips to make it stay well.

Pumpkin Fascinator

Then was the actual chastity belt making. I did the bulk of the carving with my carving pocket knife, though I did have to break out a kitchen knife to get through some of the thicker sections cleanly. Then it was lots of shaping and carving out extra foam. There was foam EVERYWHERE during this.

Once I had the shape down, I took the yarn and cut off pieces. The leg straps are thinner and mostly just felted tight at the ends, with some light twist and felting through the length. I put a little more into the thicker waist strap. I think in total, even with trying to be quick, the straps ended up being a bigger time sink then anything else. I cut holes and ran the leg straps through, where as the two waist strap pieces I actually looped through, then felted into itself to attach them. I then added a felt backing to the back and trimmed it down, same as on the hat piece.

I also took a little time to carve out a small keyhole, then painted the insides black to make it pop better than the white interior did.

Pumpkin Chastity Belt

And there it is! I decided not to model it for people, but hopefully I will get pictures from the event the item is for. Here is a second picture with the chastity belt and fascinator / hat together.

Peter Pumpkin Eater Set

It was a fun and unusual sort of project. Thanks for looking!