Steampunk Hat Made From Recycled Materials

11 Materials
3 Hours

I am steampunk mad at the moment and love creating steampunk decor and giving them a mixed media makeover. I recently made a steampunk lamp which turned out beautifully, but I did not have room for both projects. So once complete I combined the two projects to have a steampunk mixed media lamp in the end.

Prepare the surface

To make the top of the hat you will need some sort of bucket. There is no reason this could not be made using corrugated cardboard. To start I cut up some cardstock and stuck it to the surface using mod Podge. This will form a base for all the layers and a good surface for the embellishments.

Adding texture

You can use your imagination on this step. I used a few different stencils to add some texture. Put the stencil over the bucket and add some texture paste over the stencil using a spatula. Remove the stencil and wash it straight away. You can repeat this step using all the stencils.

Add layers

If you don't have stencils you can use items you find around your home. Here are a few examples of items that I used. Links to the items are included on my website post.

  • Mesh from a vegetable sacks
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Christmas beads
  • paper packaging
  • Braid trim tape
  • Burlap fabric
  • Nut &
  • bolts
  • beads
  • old keys
  • broken jewellery

They are no right or wrong ways to glue them on to the hat. And doing a mixed media makeover it does not even need to be tidy. Just randomly cover the hat with bits and bobs

I buy bulk charms to do my mixed media projects it works out so much cheaper. There are too many items that I used to decorate this hat to name them all. 

But I have added images before the hat was painted, zoom in to see what I used.

If you see something you like and need more info feel free to comment and I will answer your question. All the clear charms, I made using resin moulds.

Making the brim

Draw a large circle on to some cardboard. The brim should be at least 5 cm wider than the hat. I traced around the bucket then added another circle 5 cm larger.

Divide your cardboard into a pizza shape using a pencil. Using a craft cut all the way through the inner slices and score the outside lines. This will allow the cardboard to bend without breaking.

Cover the brim

I had some offcuts of fake leather which I used to cover the brim. Using some mod podge or suitable glue attach the leather to the circle. Next, cut slits in the leather and fold it over the cardboard overlapping them like the images provided.

Glue them as you go along.

Decorate the brim

You can decorate the brim in the same way you decorated the hat.

I used tacky glue, then folded the pizza slices inside the bucket and taped them down while it dried. In hindsight using a hot glue gun would have been better and much faster.

Paint the hat

Paint the hat black using Gesso, making sure to cover everything. You don't want to see anything but black.

I used metallic copper wax paste to highlight the elements. To apply the wax you dip the tip of your finger into the wax and run it over the surface of the embellishments. You are not aiming to cover everything, mainly all the raised areas.

To tone down some of the black you can use a soft brush and the tiniest amount of copper wax paste and gently add a light cover in some areas. I have circled an example in the image. This idea is still to have some black to make the copper wax stand out.

The wax paste will need at least 12 hours to cure. After 12 hours you can add 2 coats of spray acrylic. This will stop the wax from going dull over time and make the colours really stand out. When I was spraying the hat on a lazy Susan I got the idea to use it as my stand.

Make a stand

I recycled some old cupboard drawer pulls from my stash and used them as legs. I then painted the stand and highlighted it with the copper wax. You can decorate the hat by adding some steampunk goggles and a feather.

Steampunk lamp

Steampunk hat

And that is my steampunk hat completed. This projects did not cost me much because I used many recycled materials. I also used very small quantities of ideas I already had at home so it is hard to cost this project. So your cost will depend on what items you have at home.

A more detailed tutorial and more images of this project can be found on my website listed below. 

Temporary Halloween mirror. You can create this mirror using and exciting mirror and after Halloween everything can be removed. This was you can change the decor depending on the occasion.

Halloween glasses

These wine glasses can be made for Halloween or any occasion, you just change the images. This technique can be temporary or can be sealed to last.

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Unique Creations By Anita

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Itsmemic
    on Sep 6, 2020

    love your stuff Im a big steampunk crazy woman ! Why do you use gesso instead of black spray paint? Just wondering...

    • Unique Creations By Anita
      on Sep 7, 2020

      Thank you so much. 😍I have tried spray paint when I first started but the finish is not the same. It takes to long to dry, and I found the wax did not stick as well. I have also tried acrylic paints but you use to much to get the same coverage. Gesso has very good coverage because it is really a primer. I have also found it sticks well to most surfaces being a primer. You can try any method they should all still work in the end. 🤩

  • Wendy
    on Sep 6, 2020

    Love steam punk and really enjoy your posts. I have the copper paste and it’s hardening. Have you ever had that problem? Thanks.

    • Unique Creations By Anita
      on Sep 7, 2020

      Thank you so much. Yes I have had the same issue with the bought ones and the ones I have made. Some brands I have found i have no issues with. You can try heating them up by putting them into so hot water or using a hair dryer. This has worked on some of mine.

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