How To Make Steampunk Goggles

Posted by on Feb 22, 2011 in Inspiration, Stuff I Like | 42 comments

Steampunk goggles: the perfect gift for any occasion — birthdays, anniversaries, whatever.

A simple present that says, I care enough to want to protect your eyes from gas explosions, zombie claws, and wayward automatons.

Or maybe you simply want a pair for your  steampunk costume–that’s certainly why I set out to make mine (seen in the photo right).

The best part of these “brass goggles” is that making them is cheap (<$20 if you spend wisely) and easy (unless you’re clumsy like me–then it just takes a little extra care).

1. First off, you need a pair of welding goggles.  You can buy them at a Home Depot, or it’s very cheap and easy to buy them from Amazon (that’s what I did!)

2. I also bought a little clip-on lens thingy.

3. Next, I bought the cheapest silver and gold spray paint I could find. (I went to Wal-Mart; I’m sure you can find something comparable elsewhere.)

4. I took apart the goggles by separating the rubbery mask from the plastic lens-part.  I covered the actual lenses in tape, cut the tape so that it was the exact size of the lenses, and then I spray-painted.  Yay!

Note: SPRAY LIGHTLY.  Too much spray paint and the goggles will turn sticky like glue.  I learned this the hard way and had to start over when my first pair still hadn’t “dried” after 5 days.  If you spray just enough to cover the plastic, then it should dry well enough for handling within a few hours.

5. While all that was drying on the back porch, I went to a local thrift store and bought a narrow, leather belt.  I made sure it was the same width as the strap on the goggles.

6. I cut the belt into three parts, making sure that the buckle-portion and holed-portion were (when buckled together) long enough to fit around my head.

7. Next, you want to get your hands on some cool embellishments–be they gears, chains, keys, cool charms, whatever.

I went into my old supply of Legos (yes, I still have my Legos; don’t laugh) and found some fun critters: scorpions, octopuses, spiders, etc.  I spray painted those silver and gold.

Note: I used the scorpion for the goggles, and the other critters came into play in other steampunk gear.

8. With the paint now dry, I reassembled the goggles.  Be careful–the paint will stay kinda sticky for the first few hours.  But by the next day, it should be completely dry and not coming off on your fingers.

9.  Now it’s time to superglue on your various embellishments.  I decided to go simple for the goggles, so all I added was a single scorpion right in the center.

10. Finally, I slid the leather belt into the strap holders, snapped on the lens thingy, and KAPOW!

Mission Accomplished: Steampunk Goggles Complete

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

DON’T FORGET to check out my Leviathan giveaway and my A Great and Terrible Beauty giveaway (which are both still running and open internationally).

  • Erinn

    WOW!!! That’s a billion shades of awesome!

    • Susan

      Haha–thanks! (Btw, I’m gonna start saying “a billion shades of awesome” because it’s a phrase that’s a billion shades of awesome and should be shared with the world)

  • Meredith

    That is really freaking cool! You’ve got skillz! :)

    • Susan

      Aw, psh. ::blushes:: Thanks Meredith.

      • Bee

        seriously, she’s right! <3

  • kathy

    Very, very cool! I like “a billion shades of awesome” as well as “awesome-sauce”. :)

    • Susan

      Hahaha–yes awesomesauce is one of my favorites too! :D

  • Alicia Gregoire

    That is awesome. I’ll be showing this to my theatre friends.

    • Susan

      Oooh, good idea! Theatre people might find this all useful–and no doubt they’d have creative and fantastic ideas on how to improve it!

  • Katharine Owens

    THOSE ARE SO FREAKING RAD!!!! DUDE, you look SUPER COOL in them!
    I am planning what I call a “windpunk” book (in the Netherlands, so wind, not steam). All your posts are making me antsy to get working on that!!!

    • Susan


      Katharine, this idea is SO AMAZING it requires constant ALL-CAPS! How did you think of that!? I LOVE IT! You are so freaking clever…and I know you’ve got the writing skillz to pull it off.


  • Yahong

    WHOA, that’s one stellar paint job. The scorpion looks fantastic, too! Holy crackerdoodles, that looks so pro.
    Also – “I care enough to want to protect your eyes from gas explosions, zombie claws, and wayward automatons” because that’s the perfect message to send to your loved ones. :P

    • Susan

      Thanks, Yahong! Most of the steampunk goggles you see for sale on Etsy were made like this…or I *think* they were! Mine look just as good either way! Like you said: pro! :D

  • Amie Kaufman

    Oh, lovelovelove. I just picked up a pair of fab steampunky goggles at the Museum of Natural History in New York, but I think a couple of embellishments might be in order.

    • Susan

      Wh-what? Steampunk goggles at the Museum? HOW COOL!

  • Nuvasuper

    That looks Great! Amazing paint job.
    What would I add? Well to make it look even better a few nuts and bolts couldn’t hurt, perhaps around the lenses. Otherwise I can’t find anything wrong with it!
    Love the legos.

    • Susan

      I bet nuts and bolts would work beautifully! Considering how very UN-CRAFTY I actually am, I was afraid to try to add more than just the Legos.

      And thanks!! I’m so glad you like these! :D

  • Master Victor Milton

    While, madam, this is not particularly in my tastes, this has most certainly piqued my interest. Perhaps the good madam could send me a blue print on how to make an entire steampunk costume, no?
    Still, remarkable work.
    Oh mercy me, where are my manners?
    *removes hat and bows towards the ingenious lady* My name is Victor Milton. If you cannot tell, I am quite interested in steampunk material.
    (and rping. :D)

    • Master Victor Milton

      What I mean is the styling, good madam. The goggles themselves and the idea is excellent

    • Susan

      Why thank you, my good sir! I daresay it is too bad the style does not suit your tastes, but alas–different strokes and all that.

      Thank you so much for your comment. ;)

  • Rin

    Looks amazing.
    Is it comfortable? I actually bought some steampunk goggles on ebay which look great, but are uncomfortable on my head (since I don’t actually wear them).
    And where did you get those little lens thingys? They’re the perfect embellishment!

    • Susan

      I got the little lens thingies on Amazon… I don’t remember what they were called, but they showed up when I was looking at various welding goggles (clearly the only people buying such goggles are other steampunk aficionados!). As for comfort…to be honest, they’re onlyokay. The biggest issue is that I have an incredibly tiny head (gotta buy kid-sized sunglasses!! So embarrassing.) and these are just too wide for my face. I doubt that would be a problem, though, for those with normal craniums… ;)

  • Freya Morris

    Oh my freakin’ everything (I know I’m a bit late on this one as I’m new here) but I just fell in love with you. These are awesome! You should make a keyboard! I’ve been dribbling over these steampunk keyboards here for years but I have neither the skill nor money:

    • Susan Dennard

      I’ve SEEN those! And they are sooooo far beyond my skill set…but perhaps I can attempt a Steampunk Keyboard For the Non-Arst-&-Craftsy.

  • ShuAkuma

    I am having problems getting the smaller lens to look right when trying to hook them on. Any tips would be great. Thanks!

    • Susan Dennard

      Well, it’s been a while since I made these, but I kind of remember taking the lenses apart–sliding one frame out of the overall frame and flipping it before putting it back in (so that the lenses are symmetric).

      Then I just clipped the thing onto the front of the painted goggles.

      Ack, that’s the vaguest explanation ever and I’m not even sure it’s what you’re asking for!  Feel free to email me at susan(at)susandennard(dot)com if you have more questions…

  • Amber

    Very interesting and thanks for the warning about the paint layers, I’ll keep that in mind when doing mine up. Only have a little more than a week to get everything together for a full steampunk outfit so knowing that will definitely save me some time not to mention money. Don’t think I’d want to spend $20 for overnight shipping on a $20 pair of already made goggles. >,<

  • Rose

    I’m Amber I’m 13 I was looking for ideas to make these steam punk goggles so I Googled it and your sight sounded realistic enough I <3 you idea and I'll try with my dad as soon as I ell him about it-
    I don't know you but your pretty awesome thanks!!! 
                           P.s. you look awesome in your goggles!!


  • Bee

    These are great! I LOVE your Steampunk tutorials because it breaks it down and makes it so EASY to do. I am curious though, would there be a way to go about changing the color of the lenses? IE: I am trying to make a pair of goggles for my husband who is doing a X-Men Cannonball cosplay for SDCC and I could only think of a semi opaque paint (single coat) or saran wrap…thoughts?

    • Susan Dennard

      Hmmm, I would bet you could change the lenses fairly easily. You can always use a paint to tint them…or colored saran wrap?

      I’ll be at SDCC!! I hope to see you there–and your husband’s awesome new goggles! :D

  • Lisasc

    Great Scott!  What great goggles!  Thank you!!!

  • Patar the barbarian!

    Those are quite amazing….really, incredible, marvelous, inspiring! I’m planning to do something of the sort, sadly i have very little room and have a very time consuming job, still! I shall not let this stop me! By the way, I’m thinking about elemental-punk themed costume, so boots that have pistons on it, activating when you take a step, a small windmill on my back, encased green glowing water chest plate and some flamethrower gloves…God it all sounds awesome.

  • Zach Pederson

    Are these goggles any good for a steampunk aviator costume?

  • Sam

    How did you make the clip on part what were the clip on lenses made of?

    • Elsinore

      You can get them on Amazon. Look for: SE – Loupe – Double Lens, Clip

  • lara

    I LOVE them!!!! I am going to get the stuff tomorrow to make my own, then my costume will be complete. Thanks for the info!!!!

  • Marge

    Freaking awesome!!! Those are amazing!!

  • Dan the “Mad-Scientist” Best

    That is sooo cool I bought those googles, lens thingys and some gears for my mad-scientist outfit that I wear for school group science field trips. Those goggles and dry ice EXCELLENT!! Thanks!!

  • Autobot Dragonfly


  • John

    I’m using these in a play! Totally a billion shades of awesome!

  • Kandy Kocsis Halulko

    Thanks these are great !

  • Mic Zulpa

    >impressed enough to have a go at it myself. used the same goggles ($4 at American Science and Surplus) but added a microscope lens ($7 pair of “glasses microscopes”, same place) to the right flip lens. working on the strap tomorrow. oh, hot glued hex nuts around the flip lenses. thank you for inspiration!<