Crafting How To's · DIY · Etsy · Mixed Media · Paper Mache · Steampunk

Steampunk Stag – Part 4

Sorry it’s taken me so long to get Part 4 of the Steampunk Stag posted.  My Etsy shop called, we got hit with three snow storms in a row (with more to come) and I stalled out on this guy until I got what I wanted to use for gears sorted out.

Remember early on, the embossed foil and alcohol inks?  Well as it turns out the only thing I did with those was the inside portion of the ears, which came out fabulous, but the rest I stuck with the heat embossed finish that I discovered works on paper mache.

But I knew I still wanted gears on this guy!  And I already have quite a collection of gears including: metal in all shapes and sizes, foil embossed, chipboard, painted and jeweled.  But what I didn’t have was Tim Holtz Thinlits Set.


It’s called Gearhead (appropriately enough) Set #661184.  The reason it needed to be these in particular was I knew I could cut thin chipboard which would give me a good thickness to work with and I would have a number of different shapes and sizes to play with including that very interesting wedge shape in the upper left corner of the picture.

You might notice some filmy pieces coming off some of those gear cuts – that’s wax paper.  If you’re cutting intricate pieces like these gears, especially if you’re using a heavy paper, the wax paper helps the cuts release better.  It’s still a job getting all those cuts out of the dies – but it was worth it as this is just what I was looking for. Thickness + Bend-ability.


But I had to order the thinlits die pack so until that arrived I played in other areas.  I’ve used these memo pins on other Steampunk projects.  They have the perfect finish of three different metals, they pierce plastics and paper mache fairly easily and if you want, you can hang things off of them – perfect ‘punk.


I started with a few around the ears.  NOTE:  photographing shiny items is a pain in the xxx.

Finally, the thinlits arrived and I started cutting out gears.


I chose the Charred Gold embossing powder, the third ‘thick’ metal powder in the group.  The picture just doesn’t do these powders justice – they really look like metal.  The gear on the right is raw chipboard, the left gear is one I just embossed – so cool!


Here’s that wedge shape die cut in action.  I cut it twice and turned one piece over so I could butt them together to form one unit.  I lost a bit of detail on the one that’s turned over, but it’s not overly noticeable, especially once I embossed them.  I decided to go with a detail Gold powder (which is very fine powder) because I thought with all the little cut outs the thicker wouldn’t really work here.  As it turns out, the thicker worked fine on some of the smallest individual die cuts but I didn’t discover that until I had these pieces finished and glued on.  A bit of a regret, but still, they came out okay.


Speaking of gluing things on – this was a big problem with this project.  Trying to find a glue that would hold accent pieces (whether they were foiled paper or metal gears) to the slick shiny surface of the heat embossed paper mache.

I’ve used E6000 many, many times on many projects but the large, all-purpose tube.  This is specifically for Jewelry & Bead and HALLELUJAH it works on the heat embossed surface and comes with a fine tip for easier application.


I placed gears to mimic a jawline, and there’s some down on his throat area now, as well, even though you can’t really see it in this pic.  But take a look at the ear.  I added a few more of the memo pins and also some round head pins for metal studs.


These are the pins quilters use quite a bit.  They have a little longer shaft and the heads are round plastic balls.  Of course a bright yellow plastic ball is not going to work here.  I took the pin, rolled it on the embossing ink pad (second from left).  Then I dipped it in the embossing powder (third from left).  Then I heated it (far right).  I then placed my “metal studs” alternating between the memo pins.  I also did a couple of little pin heads because I like the look of things tapering down in size – always looks more finished, I think.


A couple of memo pins went into the small antler tips with the addition of a pair of Tim Holtz smaller monocles suspended from each.

I also added some gears to the nose for nostrils.


Something about the end of the nose/mouth area I wasn’t liking.  So I decided he needed a goatee.  Three metal feather charms in two sizes will work.  I gave these an embossed finish, too.  I used some jewelry eye pins to suspend the feathers and, yes!  That’s what I was looking for.  Almost done now.


A final step for the perfect Steampunk – a patina of age.  I mixed some black acrylic paint in a dish with water and then generously brush the mixture on in small controllable sections.  Let the paint dry a bit.  The drying time is up to you, the longer it drys the less will come off later.  I wanted just a bit here, so I began wiping the paint off fairly quickly, leaving just a hint of black in the grooves of the gears and around the pins, etc.







I like how he came out – it’s always interesting when a project takes a drastic turn like this one did, but finding out I could use embossing powders on paper mache is a technique I’m sure I’ll be using again and again.

I hope you had fun following along and I hope you give this technique a try, too!

Coming up next:  I put together a fairly fast project while I was waiting for my Thinlit dies to arrive via the mail.  It’s a rusted metal mobile that features Antique Crystal Chandelier Brilliants.

Till then – Craft On!



3 thoughts on “Steampunk Stag – Part 4

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