How to Make a Steampunk Gun

Posted by on Feb 24, 2011 in Inspiration, Stuff I Like | 41 comments

Steampunk gun: a device to blast away all things mechanical and paranormal.  Your costume just isn’t complete without one.

But once you’ve made your steampunk gun, well…  Mad werewolf on the loose? No sweat.  Giant clockwork kraken at your door? You got this.

The simplest way to make this gun is to head to your nearest Wal-Mart/Target/K-mart kinda shop and invest in a cheap Nerf gun.

Here’s the one I bought (though I think I only spent about $9), and you’ll notice A LOT of people use the same gun.  But there are other rather awesome options, like this.

The only other tools you need are:

  1. Spray paint in gold and silver (you should still have this from the goggles!)
  2. A very tiny Phillips-head screwdriver.
  3. Gold and silver embellishments (also like you used for the goggles and the utility belt).

First things first, you need to take apart the gun.  This is so you can paint it.

I was dismayed to find there were about ten bajillion parts and screws that I had to remove to separate this Nerf Gun into its basic components.

But once you’ve got it all separated, you can lay out the pieces, take your gold and silver spray paint, and go nuts!

Let it dry for at least a few hours before handling.  I left mine a few days since I knew I’d be grappling with them a lot when I tried to screw it all back together (I’m not a very handy person).

While that’s drying, you can set to work on the chamber.  Like I said above, I didn’t use the chamber.  If you want to, all you have to do is spray paint it along with the other pieces.

OR, if you’re like me, you can make a crazy new chamber!  Out of a bottle! TA-DA!

I found an old squirt bottle I didn’t need that was exactly the right size to fit in side the nerf gun.  Something like this:

My bottle was clear, so I filled it with water, added 1 drop of green food coloring, and 1 drop of yellow.  Then I siliconed the top shut.  No leaking!

Of course, BEFORE I ADDED WATER AND CLOSED THE BOTTLE, I reassembled the gun to make sure it would all fit!

Notice that I had also added Lego embellishments!  I placed these strategically to mask the Nerf insignias.

Next, if your paint is dry on the gun, you can get started super-gluing! (Fun! And potentially dangerous. Be careful…I definitely glued my mom to the counter. On accident, of course.)

Finally, once the silicon on the bottle has dried, it’s time to assemble it all together for a truly spectacular weapon!

Mission Accomplished: Steampunk Gun Complete!

You tell me: Would you ever make a steampunk gun? If so, would you add/change anything?


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  • Jan

    Looks ‘punk! I’d maybe toss in a few (4 or so)marbles to roll around in the sealed colored water-just to give some motion to add to it.:}

    • Susan

      Oooooh, nice touch! I thought about adding stuff, but not marbles. Definitely for future weaponry, though!

  • Kat

    THIS IS SO COOL. I think my favorite part is all the lego pieces you’ve found use for. That’s totally clever and definitely not something I would have come up with on my own, as I never played with legos. But now I may. This could be a faaaabulous thing to gallivant around Japan with. :D

    • Susan

      Ah, yeah…I was a Lego nerd. Big time Lego nerd. Kinda still am (shhhh).

  • Meredith

    SO COOL! That’s like the perfect shade of green for such a thing.

    (And if you plan on having kids some day, get used to the bazillions of screws and twisty ties holding together every little bit of everything now) :)

    • Susan

      Omgosh, you’re so right! I never thought of kids…all those twisty ties, screws, and tough plastic packaging… Oh, and decals! (I recall my Mother always hating all the darn decals.)

  • Erinn

    NICE!!! You’re so handy and CRAFTY. Brain exploding cool.

    • Susan

      Brain exploding — that’s a new compliment that I think I rather like!! ;)

  • Holly

    Very cool. And bonus – anybody with boy children in their house has at *least* one Nerf gun that has lost it’s little bullet things. That makes it fair game for mommy crafts! lol

    • Susan

      True! You can probably scrap something great together with a bit of superglue and spray paint! Super Spawn will be steampunk-ified soon! :)

  • vvb

    awesome! home-made steampunk guns are the best!
    LOL – loved that bit about your mom and the superglue ;-D

    • Susan

      Yeah…Mom was kinda displeased about that (understandably). I come to visit and end up getting superglue all over her kitchen counters. OOPS.

  • kathy

    The LEGO pieces are great, but my favorite part here is the water bottle. Great idea!

    • Susan

      Thanks! I think the neon water looks pretty cool myself. ;)

      • kathy

        When the kiddos are a little older, we are totally going to make this. :)

        • Susan

          Ooooh, send me a picture when that day eventually comes!! How many kids? How old? :D

        • kathy

          2 – 5 and 3. I need to wait until the 3 year old is a little older (he’s obsessed with tools and making things, but we’re still working on not destroying things after). :)

  • Emy Shin

    Oh wow, this is really great. The idea of using a squirt bottle is ingenious!

  • Katharine Owens

    This is awesome. I think lego should pay you to steam punkify them!

  • Katharine Owens

    Okay- just showed it all to my son James (5) and he says you are a pretty inventor!
    We’re going to try to make costumes this weekend. Will show you the results!

    • Susan

      OMGOSH! You MUST show me — this is SOOOOO exciting!! AAAAH! Kids in steampunk = CUTEST EVER.

      My life has just become complete. Even more so because he called me a “pretty inventor”. :D :D :D

      • Gin

        my kids (Chloë 8 and Tate 7) and I are going to dress as Steampunk-ers this year!!

  • Katrina

    That’s way fun! I love it!

    • Susan

      Thanks, Katrina! :D

  • Amie Kaufman

    Oh, so cool! I’m writing steampunk right now, and I’m in love with the paraphernalia. I’m going to get crafty! I’ll report back on my results!

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  • noonan

    If you added Mr Clean as the liquid, it would glow brightly with black light.  Also Glitter in it would be cool

  • Noemail

    If you added Mr Clean to the bottle, it would blow brightly in black light.

  • Joel Pitzele

    I just finished tweaking the gun, actually put all the components back in -though there’s a few extra screws, springs and the chamber won’t slide out anymore.  I’m going to add some junk I found at a thrift store.  Pictures to be posted.

    • Joel Pitzele

       lol, turns out the button was sticking due to the glue.

  • _RR

    I’m working on my own build of this project and I was wondering, how did you get the bottle to STAY in the gun’s housing?  

    Also, if it’s not too much, what kind of silicon did you use?

    • Susan Dennard

      My bottle was exactly the right size to just *barely* wedge into the gun… So…I don’t really know what to suggest if your bottle is smaller.

      And with regards to the silicon, I think (honestly, this was over a year ago, so I’m not sure I remember properly!) I used transparent bathroom silicon, like what you use to silicon a bathtub. Does that help?

  • Karin Bingham

    My niece and I are making cosumes for the Toyko in Tulsa anime convention this year (July 20-22).  All your tutorials are going to be a HUGE help.  I’m going to make mine black and silver, though.  Not sure about her.  You totally ROCK!

  • chris massey lynch

    Totally nice stuff Susan.
    You are doing a fine job.
    Like the Tutorials on the Web for people to learn.

    Am trying to make Steampunk Guns With Lasers….
    Stick them on top or side or both…
    Wear the Goggles…so you don’t hurt your eyes.
    Guess,you’re gonna have to make steampunk goggles for your kids now…

  • Goleman

    Nice job!

    MAVERIC NERF GUN-The original steampunk gun XD

  • Tune Nune

    cam you shoot it?

  • Tune Nune

    can you shoot it*

  • Faolon

    yep nerf is a good base. made my first one out of a nerf black powder pistol gun.
    i was thinking this would look good with oe of rachet’s plasma balla’s in the chamber and the battery pack attched to the top.

  • Toadi

    Oh, wow! I never would have thought to use a little spray bottle–what an amazing detail!

    If I may suggest something, in case you ever decide you don’t want to glue on extra stuff to cover them, I usually just sand off the goofy nerf logos. Of course, because this is steampunk, less is not necessarily more, so putting on extra stuff may be more appropriate anyway. ^^; Just a thought.

    Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  • B.P.

    If you add yellow highlighter it also becomes black light reactive.

  • Shay

    LOVE!!!!! I’m in the process of making a steampunk pistol to go with my Halloween costume and you definitely gave me some ideas :D

  • Mark Lyon

    I am building a Steam punk gun and stumbled upon your design. I am going to use your inspirations as a starting point. Am thinking instead of filling the bottle with water, use a colored bottle instead. Yellow or green perhaps. Then use a test tube and fill it with teardrop shaped Christmas lights. then use LED mini lights in a pattern over the bottle. Have these powered by a small solar panal with a “master switch” . Add a wood stock to the front ending in a pointed brass lamp fixture and a grappling hook under neath with a spool attached to the stock on the bottom. The trigger will activate a “laser sound” snatched from some toy laser gun. Ad customary leather and cogs in decorative fashion and viola! I am beginning now hopefully will be complete by Xmas.