A lot of the steampunk things I make are geared towards room decoration and static display, because I can only carry so much around with me, and, more importantly, my friends have held steampunk parties, and decorating the rooms with interesting details is one of the things that truly appeals to me.

The first piece that really got me started on objects rather than costume was a cheap paper/thin wood board valise. I initially decorated it for a CostumeCon to hold my stuff. I picked it up for cheap (cheap is my watchword!) at a Home Goods (I think; it could have been TJMaxx, they’re all the same store). It was slightly damaged, so very affordable (I can fix almost any small damage). Initially, I just made some small ribbon holders to make things rattle around less. I don’t know why there’s a pair of calipers, but the binoculars were an antique shop find, and the large box is filled with “Werewolf Shot”. Bob made me a gun (and I will post that picture in a later post), and I wanted something silly and unusual looking. The glass pipettes were from a medical supplies catalog, and the filling is bead glitter. The box is a small fake book:

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A ribbon holds the bottles in place, and the white vials are “silver werewolf shot” (actually glitter beads). Photo by L. Mellin, 2009

But then, I got more serious about things not rolling around (and possibly breaking), and made compartments using cardboard cut to size, covered with a set of paper placemats by EDITED: Monahan Papers (available at http://www.monohanpapers.com).  *(Michel Design Works also does paper place mats, and they are very nice, but they weren’t the company I used, so I’ve corrected that.)  I glued the lining in, then glued the covered cardboard into place with a water-based glue (I don’t recommend hot glue – it doesn’t allow you time to make adjustments, and if you make a mistake, it will rip the paper). It turned out quite nicely:


Valise 2015 (8)
Delightful! And reasonably simple. Photo by L. Mellin, 2020

I also adore things in cages – there are tons of cages around in places like craft stores, home decor stores (especially at Halloween!), and even places like garden centers. They may be intended for plants or candles, but one of the crafter’s sayings is “shove it in until it works!”.


(Actually, I’m pretty sure no-one else says that.)

I started with toy store dragons, and a lot of beads:

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Blue dragon in a cage with beads, photo by L. Mellin, 2015

At first, I stayed with minimal decoration, but who wants that?  🙂

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Someone ate a fairy king! Photo by Laura Mellin, 2015

I made a prize for the 2015 steampunk party, using a “sea dragon”, a candle holder, and a bunch of shells and plastic skeleton bits. Bob spray-painted the “cage” copper. I added a sign (“Beware! I Bite!”). I was quite proud of this one, unfortunately, this was the only picture I took:

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Sea Dragon in a cage with shells and skeleton bits, with an antique pith helmet and my goggles on the left, and a butterfly in a tiny cloche on the right. photo by L. Mellin, 2015

And I made a purple dragon for myself.

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Purple dragon with many, many beads. Photo L. Mellin, 2020

I did the beading so that the dragon could be removed from the cage and held:

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I have a dragon accessory! Photo by L. Mellin, 2020.
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Purple dragon with a warning sign. Photo by L. Mellin, 2020

The purple dragon was revised several times until I was (mostly) satisfied with it. I added some special beads, including a gorgeous lamp-worked bead by Azura’s Dream. I carried it with me at Steampunk World’s Fair, and someone said something snarky when my back was turned (coward!), but most people loved it.

Long post is long; fingers are tired. Next time, I’ll talk about my static displays.

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