Friday, January 02, 2015

HOW TO make Steampunk/Mad Scientist Style Goggles for Your American Girl Doll

This goes for everything on this blog.

Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a steampunk expert. I don't do cosplay, and if I did It would be Scottish Highlanders and Outlander Inspired. But I AM a crafter and a seamstress with about 20 years under my belt, and some serious Halloween Costumes Created. I DO have kids, and we have to dress up like all KINDS of things, including Native Americans, Pirates, Cartoon Characters, Superheroes, and the sort. We love to learn about other time periods, and we love Science Fiction, Renaissance Fairs, etc. As a family of 5, we have experience in Role Playing and dabble in all kinds of crazy things. I know that there is a certain level of - well, let's call it like it is- *snobbery* (hee hee, I don't mince words) when it comes to steampunk, and that there are so many different definitions of what steampunk IS and what steampunk is NOT and for the most part I am going to go with the mentality that science fiction is FICTION and therefore it can be whatever YOU want it to be. Lots of steampunk peeps say goggles are so typical/mainstream and not truly steampunk, yet they are one of the most recognized items in steampunk outfits. My purpose behind the goggles is their USE while working in the "lab" or  mixing potions.

Prefacing by saying that I am a big big Outlander Fan, and the 18th century healers, apothecaries, doctors, and yes, even "witches" (Because that is what people often thought of them in those times) are fascinating to me. The ability to treat and heal someone medicinally/herbally is always fascinating to me and ties in with the natural/green lifestyle that I often strive for in our family. Essential Oils, Herbs, and the general understanding that Germs aren't all bad. The point is, that before modern medicine there were so many superstitions and in fact so much knowledge that sometimes you have to wonder where we came by it. Native American Influence? Chinese Medicine? Or could it have also bee *Time travelers* like Claire. Being a Sassenach, I am especially interested in the natural healing and the use of herbs and naturally occurring substances to cure what ails ya. My daughter loves Science and Animals, and has a science lab building in her Doll House School, including things like test tubes, beakers, microscope, safety goggles, geodes and rock collection, hermit crabs, and whatever else she and I can dream up to add on a daily basis. We belong to the very active and VERY amazing American Girl Facebook Group "My Dolls House" - In Which everyone shares openly and enthusiastically, with ideas, tutorials, pricing help, etc. There is NO Buy/Sell/Trade on the page which keeps things friendly and encourages people to share their talents instead of creating to sell.

I personally don't have TIME to create to sell. I squeeze in time to create for ourselves and that is a big enough challenge in itself. This post is created PURPOSELY with the idea of sharing and encouraging YOU to create these goggles for yourself. I don't claim to be an expert.... but this isn't a $25 ebook on Etsy that tells you how to create goggles. It's a free tutorial designed to give you confidence to do this yourself. This isn't a $50 pair of goggles BEAUTIFULLY made on Etsy for you to purchase and receive in your mailbox, it's a encouragement for you to save money and make as many pair as your heart desires. This isn't an invitation to take these ideas and start making your own next big buck selling goggles, but I can't stop you and I put this out there knowing that you may have a conscience that agrees that sharing things and ideas is the way to go. Karma baby.

Now, back to Sassenach. I want to create an area in our dollhouse, not a ROOM, but a secret cupboard, maybe in the school science lab, that is mysterious. A dark cabinet full of secrets and knowledge, that maybe only the interested and patient students know or care about. A place where we learn by sharing, and where you find potions that border on Harry Potter Magic, and balance with herbal remedies and maybe even experimental science projects. Think of it as a Box of Knowledge. So I have been gathering apothecary labels, glass bottles, and will be working on samples and filling jars and distressing the hutch and working on that in the near future. And I don't DARE be mixing up unknown substances without a magical and fantastik pair of protective eyewear. Hence the start of the Goggles.

Yes, get to the POINT. Here there are, the finished product:

Now Ideally I would already have the 18th century outfit sewn to go with these and the images would be taken with my Nikon DSLR so that you would all Ohhhh and Ahhhhh over this reveal.... but I have three kids- 7, 5, and 2... and just getting clean underwear is a challenge.... let along making steampunk goggles in 1:3 scale. So use your imagination, and.....enjoy these iphone snapshots of a doll in a 21st century cowgirl outfit modeling her new steampunk mad scientist goggles....

What say you? Cool? Yes. Now, I have three objectives in this post:
1. Supply List (give you ideas, don't have to follow it exactly. Make these YOUR OWN)
2. COST (I will do some totally awesome math that will leave you reeling. Haha.)
3. Directions.

First, supplies: This is what I PURCHASED, minus my fabric/leather. I didn't use everything pictured, and I didn't use everything in each package either. This is where the cost breakdown is going to be especially especially important.

Let it be known that I shop on sale. and I use coupons. And I bought these things at Hobby Lobby and at JoAnn Fabrics, using both sale prices and coupons. I will get to that.

The idea on this was to SAVE Money over buying the really cool goggle someone else makes on Etsy for $50 a pop. For a doll. Yes. Because I don't intend on making money on these, I am trying to just keep my costs low and perhaps make more than one pair.

Tim Holtz is amazing. Steampunk cheating? Probably most definitely. But since I don't have time or desire to drag three kids thru the metal salvage or the dumpster, and I don't have an acetylene torch in my nightstand drawer, I settled for cardboard, a hot glue gun and Tim Holtz. I know the Steampunk "rules" say metal over plastic and screws over glue. I did all metal, there is NO plastic on these.... BUT I used a hot glue gun with great success. And I am not ashamed. And have I mentioned that the last time I went to the metal salvage place, I was there 10 minutes WITH three kids and a minivan- and the owner guy already told me that he doesn't wear any underwear.... so, yeah. Glue Gun it is.

So let's get started.

Cardboard. I've seen it mentioned to use toilet paper tubes. I started with that idea, but the cardboard is not only very lightweight, it's also got the potential to become "unraveled" like a pop open biscuit can. And that's exactly what the first piece did, so I discarded that idea. I actually used the cardboard backing from the curtain grommets in the above picture. it's about using what you have :)

I used my brain and cut out a shape that I could roll into an eye cup. This took a bit of time, a bit of experimenting. Yes, I could scan, upload, and show you a beautiful template that you could print out, but remember, depending on what doll you make these for, what size monocle or lens you use, mine might not be right for you. AND remember, there's these pesky kids. So maybe someday. For now, use your skillz. And if you don't have enough skillz to make this cardboard shape, then god help you with the rest of this tutorial.

Yes, that's my leg. And yes I often craft in my nightgown. Verra Professional. But hey, this is a FREE Tutorial. So, the idea is, that the pattern looks like the BOTTOM piece, lying flat. And you ROLL it up (which is why the top one is curved and looks funny in the pic) so that it's the diameter of the lens. This makes an eye cap that provides protection to the entire eye socket. The skinny ends overlap at the bridge of the nose. The "bump" that is pointing down in the photo is the eye cap that goes along the temple, where the straps connect. Think swim goggles, or welding goggles.

Okay. So- Cut three. Yes I know you have TWO eyes, but trust me here. Cut three from cardboard.

Roll up the cardboard into circles, with the skinny ends overlapping until you reach the desired diameter. Secure with Hot glue (my personal choice) or whatever you prefer. I like instant gratification, strings of hot glue all over myself and my house, and burnt fingers. If that isn't your preference, adjust accordingly.

Use the LENS or the Monocle (I used Tim Holtz' Monocles) to determine the size of the circle. Remember, you want the circle the same size as the FRAME (not larger than the frame, you don't want the frame of the lens to fit INSIDE the circle tube, you want it to fit on TOP of the Circle so you can attach it with glue.)

Rudimentary? Yes. Remember, she isn't going to be MIXING toxic chemicals, she is a doll!

Next we create a bridge. like the bridge of glasses. Cut a strip maybe 2-3 inches long and narrow like under 1/2", Then cut that strip in half. Lay the strips ON TOP OF EACH OTHER and secure with a dab of glue only in the center. Fold each end so that it looks like this:

The center with the double thickness is the bridge. The folded up ends will be glued to the cardboard eye cups to keep them together. We will get to that. Set the bridge aside.

Time to have fun. Be creative. I used lightweight leather that is probably synthetic because I couldn't find anything I liked at JoAnn's unless it was flannel backed and Hobby Lobby had leather packs but I didn't like the color. This was red tag remnant and had the look of worn leather like an old aviator jacket. It was perfect. And it was cheap. Seriously, you need like three inches of this fabric, but I bought a half yard because it was cheap and because it seemed impossible to find what I wanted. I am sure that I will need this for a waist cincher/corset or some future piece of steampunkery.

Take your THIRD cardboard pattern piece (see why I said three) and lay it on the leather. It is my personal experience that you should cut the CURVED side of the pattern wider than the pattern. This is because you will need to fold the excess fabric/leather inside the eye cups and glue it inside so you don't see the cardboard edges, and to make a more uniform surface to adhere the monocles/lenses. You can also take an inch or so off the end of your skinny ends of your leather because you don't need more than a 1/2" of overlap on the skinny edges when you glue them. No need for excess bulk.

So cut one piece of leather using your pattern as a "sort-of" guide. Try it out wrapped on your eyecup. Glue the leather onto OUTSIDE of the cardboard eyecup, covering the cardboard completely, and then tacking down the overlapped skinny ends.

When you have the Both eyecups covered like this:

You can add glue around the rims of the FRONT of the glasses/eyecups (which will be the flat side not the curved side) and fold over the extra leather like this:

Sorry that one is out of focus. Better ones will come. Once both eyecups are completely covered, attach the bridge with glue to the exact center of the eyecup, which will be the opposite side of the DEEPEST point of the eyecup. Then attach the bridge to the other eyecup the same way, and voila... glasses/goggles are taking shape!
You can see where I goofed a bit on the left side and the leather wasn't "excess" enough to wrap over the edge of the cardboard. Oops. But the second eyecup I did a better job on. It isn't perfection, but that all gets covered up. NOW if you are bugged by seeing the cardboard inside, now would be a good time to cover the insides with leather too, or paint them brown, or whatever. I didn't care about perfection, just want them to work nicely and they look good as is.

Next you are going to cut a long strip of leather about as wide as the bridge. Long enough to wrap around the bridge two to three times. Start it with a dab of glue, wrap wrap wrap, and stick the end down with a dot of glue. Test it before you glue to make sure it's long enough and also to make sure you have your end seam in the "back."

Next I poked holes in the sides of the eyecups to attach the Tim Holtz buckles, which just go on with prong fasteners that are included. I would use a craft awl but mine was missing (because I have to hide it from kids and don't know where I put it last) and therefore I used a seam ripper, which was far from ideal and a real PITA, but it worked eventually. Attach the buckles to the sides...
Next I put cool little Tim Holtz Fasteners on the top outer side of the eyecups. I used these for pure funky look AND as a dual purpose, to attach the lens monocles to the glasses, or so it appears.
Placement of the cool jump ring fasteners on the upper outsides of the eye cups. Once again puncturing with my seam ripper. I miss my awl. 

In this photo you can see the fasteners. 
 Next I glued the monocles to the front of the eyecups, lining up the monocle "loop" with the fastener on top. I first attempted to use super glue, thinking it a more permanent and quicker method of gluing. After getting fingerprints aand glue haze on on one monocle and having it fall off multiple times, I decided I was wrong and went back to my trusty hot glue. I also didn't like the way the super glue soaked into the leather giving it a "wet" appearance. The monocles come with a loop that is built in to the outer metal frame, and there is a jump ring attached thru that loop. I personally chose to remove the jump loop thru each monocle because I liked that look more and thought it looked more authentic. Do what you will. I attached the monocle to the loop on the fastener with the super cool Tim Holtz Safety Pins. PERFECTION!

You can see lots of detail in this photo above. Tim Holtz's Safety Pins attaching the Monocle to the fastener's jump ring. The fasteners are attached with the same brads with folding prongs as the buckles, like the ones down the center of some two pocket, three hole punched folders.

Let's talk about the leather strap itself.... It was a double wrap leather bracelet blank that I found on sale in the jewelry section of Joann's. I could have used my own leather, but I loved that this had it's own fastening system. You see, I wanted the buckles on the side (which ARE Fully functional) To LOOK Functional, but I didn't want to mess with buckling each time. SO. I took the leather bracelet, and cut it in half down the center. Then I cut the end (where I had cut it in half) to look like a pointed belt, and used my seam ripper (GOSH where IS MY AWL!!!???) to make a hole for the buckle prong to go thru. I did this on both sides so the buckles are fully functional but they can stay exactly where they are, because the bracelet had this cool adjustable fastener...

which adds extra steampunk character AND is super super easy to add and remove the goggles from the doll's head with just a pop. SUPER awesome. It's by Darice, called a Brown Leather Bracelet, #1999-3628 24" long- from the Darice Jewelry Designer Line.

 I am sorry that I didn't take pics of that strap process, but you will either figure it out, or do an alternative... like elastic or your own leather strap. Or you could actually USE the side buckles.

You can also purchase these hitch fasteners from Tim Holtz that allow you to make your own closure like this one that this bracelet came with... I bought some but didn't need them for this particular pair.
 So now all that's left is making these goggles YOURS! I glued these cool brass jewelry pieces onto the top, they looked a little "wise owl" -ish to me. They are made by "Vintaj" which has natural brass jewelry pieces. Found at Hobby Lobby. Sooo cool because you can buy patina kits by Vintaj and make cool effects.

I also hot glued "Tim Holtz Idea-ology Mini Gears" onto the front of the lenses.
And took a strand of chain link jewelry - "Dual Circles Metal Chain in Antique Brass" By Advantus Corp (JoAnn Fabric Jewelry Section) #SUL50018. This is a 24" strand and I used about 1/4 of that and attached it around the jump ring/safety pin and around the head strap in order to create a dangling chain. 

For a super cool final project. Maybe someday I will paint the insides of the eyecups brown... but for now I am cool with the results.

Now. PRICING. I will only list the ones that I actually USED for the goggles.

Tim Holtz-
  • Wire Pins - 18 pins for $4.99 at Hobby Lobby (regular price) sale for $$3.49 (30% off sale)
  • Buckles- 6 buckles for 5.99 at Hobby Lobby (regular price) sale for $4.19 (30% off sale)
  • Mini Gears- 12 assorted for $4.99 *full price* at Joann- sale for 40% off $2.99
  • Monocles-3 for $7.99 *full price* at Joann - sale 40% off $4.79
  • Fasteners- 9 for $3.99 at Hobby Lobby (regular price) sale 30% off at $2.79
Metal Chain- 24" for at Joann ($5.99 *full price*) SALE for $2.99
Leather Bracelet- Joann $4.99 *full price*
Vintaj Brass Jewelry Pieces- $3.99 Hobby Lobby *full price*
Brown Distressed Leather Fabric- Red Tag Price $9.99  yard, sale price $5/yard. Half Yard 2.50

That's about $40 in supplies. BUT I did not use all or even a small portion of each package. 

2/18 pins for a cost of  $0.39
2/6 buckles for a cost of $2.00
4/12 mini gears for a cost of $1.00
3 monocles (one oops!) for a cost of $4.79
2/9 Fasteners for a cost of $0.62
1/4 metal chain length for a cost of $0.75
Leather Bracelet cost $4.99
Vintaj Pieces $3.99
Leather Fabric - mere inches for a cost of less than $0.20

For a cost of $18.79 less the $5 off coupon I used at Joann=

 $13.79 total materials cost for ONE pair of goggles.

So any way you look at it, it was worth my time to make them myself, versus spending $50 a pair on etsy. However, I am SURE theirs are probably better quality than mine? No cardboard? real leather? sewn leather? no glue? All screws? I am unsure. But I know mine will do the trick and I could essentially make more goggles with the supplies I have. Enjoy!

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