Think Steampunk outfit and you usually picture a pair of Victorian-era metallic steam punk goggles, but who can afford them? You can! I’ll show you how to DIY and make your own goggles for cheap! All you need are some orange juice cans, and a trip to Dollar Tree!
Steampunk Goggles -What You Need:
2 frozen orange juice cans
- Hot glue gun
- Spray Paint, Gold and Silver recommended
- Wire cutters, optional
Dollar Tree Shopping List:
- Safety Goggles
- Transparent Colorful Folder Dividers
- Party Tiaras
- reading glasses
- gold thumbtacks
- masking tape/painter’s tape (if not on-hand)
Grocery Store/Your Freezer:
- Two (2) Frozen Juice containers (see Lessons Learned for other object that may work)
Recommended, not required
- Thin belt, got mine from a thrift shop
- Lid from Kraft Parmesan cheese container
- Grommets and eyelets (Cheeeeese, Gromit!)
- Hollow Leather punches or similar tool (to use on the belt)
- “Antiquing paint” or “distress paint” instead of spray paint (see Before You Begin)
Before You Begin
Read the Lessons Learned section…no joke!
Kids: Ask a parent, adult or guardian to assist you! We are using paint, knives, hot glue and more, so do not try this at home!!!!
Play it safe! Since we are using spray paint, safety goggles and mask are recommended (yes, get a second pair of goggles if you don’t already have some).
These are not protective eyewear! While they start off as protective goggles, by the time we are done they will be of no use protecting your eyes. So please use proper safety goggles to protect yourself, not those from this tutorial.
Continuous Improvement: This post is always in progress, as I am continually adding ideas from folks who share their experiences in the comment section. Please leave a comment and I’d love to share your pics of the finished goggles!
Send in pics! Leave a comment if you have pics and I will email you. Or hit me up via the Contact form, either way, I will be in touch to add your pics to the Gallery!
Steampunk Goggles Preparation
1. First, drink up the Orange Juice – it is good for you and you look a little pale. Now, keep the containers AND the lids. These will be your lenses.
Note: Though tempting, don’t hot glue anything until after we spray paint!
2. Determine how long the juice can lenses should be. The longer they are the more gravity will try to separate them from the goggles. I went with about 2″ which is about two rows around the can of painter’s tape. I used the tape to give me a straight edge line for the next step. Keep in mind, we’re keeping the part of the can with the opening at the top.
You could make them of unequal lengths, just to add to the steampunkery of it all.
3. Use a permanent marker to draw a line around the can, using your tape as a guide. We’ll be cutting along this with an x-acto knife.
4. Cut around the border, and be careful! I cut my finger at least once on this step (and once is all that I will admit to). Once finished you will have the barrels, or lenses for your goggles.
5. Next, cut out the center of the orange juice lids. This will be the borders for each lens.
6. Using one of the color divider tabs, cut a circle to fit in the juice cap. This will be the lens color visible to others when you sport your goggles, so pick a Steampunk color (I went with yellow).
6 a. I also popped out the safety goggles lens and used the divider to cut a yellow piece to lay over it. However, this was a step that wasn’t actually needed. This will never show, and only makes it harder to see out of the goggles (since you now have to look through 2 levels of yellow!). Skip this step!
7. Optional Lens: Parmesan Cheese lid. We had a lid from a generic Parmesan cheese shaker leftover from another project. This just looked really cool to me, so I cut off the snap-close flaps and made this my second goggle lens cover. I debated leaving one of the flaps on, but decided it looked 20% cooler without it. You could make the lenses different colors for this. I went with red and yellow. You will need to cut your color lenses to fit.
8. Place your lenses on the goggles for positioning. Make sure the ends of the juice cans are level against the goggle lens. We will be hot gluing this on later, so we want to be sure it is fairly level and doesn’t wobble.
9. Paint! Determine the color of the lens holders, the lens barrels and the goggles. I went with Silver and Gold. Tape up the parts that will be one color, paint, then let dry. Pull off tape, then tape up the other colors. Rinse, repeat.
10. Let the paint dry, this could take a while. Leave it outside on a warm day to speed the process. Notice how the barrels are both gold and silver. Also note the painted stripe down the middle of the goggle lens – this was added so no one could see your face between the lens barrels.
11. I chose to replace the elastic band on goggles with a Belt Strap. But, if you want to save a few bucks, there is no need to add a leather belt strap. The goggles come with an elastic band which works perfectly well.
However, I wanted to go all the way here! I went to a Thrift Shop and found a $2.99 super-skinny belt that was a perfect fit for the slots used by the elastic strap.
11 a. Cut the belt in the middle, put the ends through the slots, adjust to your head (yes, put it on), leave some wiggle room and be sure the belt buckle is at the back of your head.
11 b. Be sure to devise a way to connect the ends to the strap so it stays secure. I had a leather punch and some grommets and (very poorly) used those tools to make the belt a little more fancy.
Note: put the belt through the slots before you set the grommets, otherwise you will never be able to feed it through!
The grommet on the end of the belt is purely cosmetic, it can never be used for adjustments.
Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I found these tools in my grandfather’s garage and since he has passed away, I had to guess as to how this tool worked.
End of Optional Step
12. Add rivet holes. Actually, we will be using the gold thumb tacks to simulate rivets on the lens caps. So, we need to drill a series of tiny holes around each cap. Use wire cutters to snip a portion of the pointy peg off the tacks. We need some peg to put in the drilled holes.
12 a. OR you could snip the entire pointy peg off the thumbtacks so all you have it the flat top, then hot glue the tops into place.
I found putting the tacks in the holes provided greater accuracy, but if you prefer not to deal with a drill, this works for most folks.
12. Glue things in place. First, hot glue the thumbtack rivets into place on the lens caps and let dry.
13. Next, glue the color lenses inside both lens caps. Do NOT use hot glue for this, it will melt the color lenses.
14. Once dried, hot glue the lens caps onto the barrels.
(sorry forgot to take pics of this step)
15. Once lens caps are dried, hot glue the lens barrels onto the safety goggles.
(sorry yet again forgot to take pics of this step)
16. Adding texture is key to making these Steampunk goggles look awesome. So for a nice textured border to the lenses, I used these Dollar Tree tiaras.
17. Just cut out a portion and fitted it to the goggles and pushed a tack through it, into once of the many vent holes on the safety goggles and hot glued it down on the underside.
Also notice the “trade show badge” clasp attached in the center. You probably have dozens of badge holders. Just rip off the clamp and secure it to the top center of your goggles. We will use this for the next step.
18. I really liked the jeweler’s loupe sets I’ve seen on Steam Punk goggles, before so I made my own from a pair of Dollar Tree glasses. Just snip off both sidesthe nose-piece and you are set!
19. Note in the image above that I secured the belt strap to itself via some bolts attached on each side of the belt through the grommets.
20. At this point, your goggles are probably nearly completed. You will want to add your own customizations to them, I am sure you will go way beyond what I’ve shown you here.
DIY Steampunk Goggles – Lessons Learned
Spray paint may turn “tacky.” I went with premium Rustoleum metallic, but it was on a very, very hot day and I let it dry for several hours. For a few months the gold paint did great, but when I stored the goggles in the garage, the gold paint got tacky, or sticky to the touch. Not sure if that had to do with the quality of the goggles (I mean it WAS from Dollar Tree) or the metallic paint.
If I were to do it again, I think I’d avoid spray paint. Folks have reported great luck with “antiquing paint” also called “distress paint” used on lots of crafts for ring boxes and mosaic designs. You know, that paint dusting that looks like weathered metal.
Take Your Time. This is at least an all-day project, probably two (so the paint can dry). Give it your best but don’t do it all at once, burn out can ruin a DIY faster than anything.
Juice Cans Alternatives…because Juice Cans Do not Exist In Australia or England. Crazy but true, but Jess and Kimba have reported that plastic juice can are not available down under. Scarlet recommended Pringles cans and Hunorra said “The container is sturdy, and the lid is clear.”
- Inexpensive ramekins (use the lids)
- Beth suggested plastic milk jug caps
- Magnetic spice container lids
- Cheap containers for storing kitchen ingredients (flour, sugar, etc.).
- Chicken bullion cans (suggested by Cathleen), Knorr makes a good size, probably others do too
- Campbell’s Soup On the Go cans (suggested via Alexis)
If you have ideas from that part of the world, please leave a comment!
Lens coloring is from plastic notebook dividers. Someone asked and I said “What I used are nothing more than clear plastic 3-ring plastic notebook dividers (amazon link). You know, the kind with little tabs that you can separate sections with. They were from Dollar Tree in the section with school supplies.” Beth suggested window screening or plastic used in gallon milk or water jugs.
Thumbtack Safety tip. I was asked about the pointy parts of the thumbtacks possibly being a safety issue and yes, I suppose it could if you didn’t bend the back. I suggested “the thumbtacks are pushed through, then bent back. Like when you hammer a nail and miss, and it gets smashed sideways? So that way, the tacks are nowhere near your eyes. This also keeps the tacks secure (but you can dab some hot glue on them inside the lenses too to cover up the pointy part).”
Don’t Store Your Steampunk Goggles in the Garage During the Summer. At least not if you live in an area where the temperature gets in the upper 90-100s. Yeah, heat and things attached with hot glue don’t play well together. Don’t ask me how I know this
Super Tip from Alexis:
Check the pics below from Alexis, who did a great job and put her own spin on this tutorial. Here is how she did hers
“I spray painted brushed nickel and gold like your original set then I took waterproof brown and black ink with a stencil brush and swiped and brushed it on for a nice aged feel! It looks especially cool on the lense casing with black ink. Then I used antique gold Rub &Buff on the edges of everything for a coppery aged sheen! Love that stuff! Then I used craft brads and gears attached right thru the vent holes in the goggles!”
Reader Steampunk Goggles Gallery
Inspired by Cathleen who used this tutorial and modified it, I thought it would be fun to feature your Steampunk Goggles right here! So when you’ve made your goggles, send it in via email to darren at darrenwashere.com or just leave a comment, and I will contact you. Enjoy!
Alexis sent in her DIY Steampunk Goggles that she made for her brother for the 2015 Time Travelers Weekend at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire – thanks Alexis!
Cathleen’s DIY Steampunk Goggles
Cathleen sent in her variation of our DIY Steampunk Goggles, using chicken bullion can lids instead of juice containers.
Greg’s Pringles Can Goggles
Though he had several challenges, Greg was able to use determination and Pringles Cans to complete his DIY Steampunk Goggles!
Share the Steampunk Goggles Tutorial on Pinterest!
I put this together because it is much more fun to share the full tutorial on Pinterest. So here’s a very brief rundown of the steps, perfect for pinning on Pinterest!