Altered Spoon–Tree of Life

This is a teaspoon that has the handle cut off and bent to be used as a pendant bail.

tree of life pendant front

The first one I worked with was a larger tablespoon. I was going to drill holes in it for the wiring. However…it’s made of stainless steel, as is the teaspoon I used. Drill bits were burning up left and right. The oak wood scrap block I use to drill on has little woodburned dots all over it where the spoon rested. Even after switching to a cobalt drill bit and using 3-in-1 lubricating oil, the hole was almost through but couldn’t quite get it all the way. I was able to drill exactly 1 hole all the way thru so I went another direction.

The handle was heated with a heat gun and then bent with pliers. Then, I used a Dremel with a cutting wheel to remove the spoon handle, leaving enough to bend inward to create a loop. It had to be heated several times to get the bend all the way to the spoon back–stainless steel…

I used twisted gun metal bronze (basically a pretty brown) wire as the back grid. I wanted twice as many loops for the top of the tree as for the roots, so I bent the wire and created the “root” loop. Then made a loop in the other ends to fold over the top of the spoon. To create a more decorative and organized spoon back, I alternated one pair of wires with the other for a crisscross pattern. One wire that wasn’t doubled, so I could have an odd number of loops.

tree of life back

The tree itself is 28 ga. wire (same color), 3 strands for each of the bottom holes. Once the tree trunk and main branches were defined by twisting, I added aquamarine chip beads, looping the twisted wire through the top loops. Those twigs were twisted together and tucked behind the gemstone leaves.

The finished pendant is strung onto a leather cord. At some point, I will try drilling the holes again, but this time the Dremel goes into its drill press where I can use steady consistent pressure.

Steampunk Barbie Pt. 6

Step 7:  The Stand

I picked up a square piece of wood at Hobby Lobby and painted it black. Using the gear stencil by The Crafters Workshop ( , I spray painted the gears on the  board and sealed it. A hole is drilled just off-center of the board. Then, I made an adjustable saddle stand for her following the instructions from Reflections by Ice: .

steampunk stand


Steampunk Barbie Pt. 5

Step 6:  The Flying Machine

The flying machine consists of 4 perfume sample bottles glued around a brass fitting. Inside the perfume bottles is a coil of brass wire filled with Judikin’s Diamond Glaze. A small gear from Spare Parts is adhered to the top each bottle with the wire from the coil sticking out. A faux watch knob is glued to the bottom of each bottle. These are all wrapped together, after superglueing, with copper tape. Another brass fitting with a small gear is attached to the bottom. It creates a stop for the propeller unit.


For the propeller unit, I cut a piece of brass tubing measured to about 1-1/2″ above the doll’s head and a smaller piece of brass tubing to fit inside that piece of tubing. I hammered out 6 metal petals from Spare parts, cut the hole-end down a little and used a brass screw to attach them to the smaller tubing. I didn’t think about what would happen, so the first time I tried to screw on the petals, the brass tube was actually inside the copper tube. The brass tube got stuck inside and I had to beat it out. But it finally came together, so to speak.

The wires sticking out of the bottles were wrapped around the copper tubing to complete the connection.


To attach the unit to the doll, I had to come up with a harness. Using 1 oz. black leather, I cut a rectangle to just cover the bottles to the edge and glued it down. Again, I didn’t have a small buckle so I made one and used some 1/16″ eyelets for the belt holes. To keep it more stable, I added a shoulder harness to the flying machine.


Steampunk Shoe

Here is the before picture:

before shoe

I sanded the shoe with a little fine grit sandpaper and wiped it down. Then, I coated it with alcohol ink–Ranger’s caramel, I believe. The ink made the color a rich brown.  Once that was dry, I stenciled gears with Ranger’s copper alcohol ink. To keep it from running if I decided to add other applications of alcohol ink or Sharpie pens, it was sprayed with a gloss luster polyurethane. It was a bit too shiny for my taste, so I re-coated it with mushroom alcohol ink.

The embellishments are a fuzzy lace dyed with a Jacquard dye and heat set in the dryer, glued around rim of boot, leaving a gap at the zipper; brown grosgrain ribbon caps the trim; gears (Tim Holtz) attached first by double-sided tape so that I could measure the chain and pearls. The pearls are dyed with caramel alcohol ink, as well. Once the chains were sized, the gears were glued on to the shoe with E6000.

steampunk shoe 2 steampunk shoe 1

Turned out pretty, actually.




Steampunk Barbie Pt. 4

Step 5:  Accessories

I had some black fashion doll ankle boots that probably would have been fine, but it wasn’t the look what I wanted. I did use the boots, though, as the base. The upper was cut using the boot making pattern from .  I just glued the cover over the boot with 1 oz. black leather after adding patina’d brass 1/16″ eyelets to each side and used 3 strands of topstitch thread for lacing.


The top hat is using Tom Banwell’s pattern, again. I really like this pattern; it works well at the small scales.

I actually made 3 hats. The first two were made from leather that was too thick. The one I used was made from 1 oz. leather. I didn’t want the eyelets on the darts, though; they’re just  handsewn. Needles made for leather make the job a lot easier. I added a length of antiqued copper chain around the crown to finish it off.

top hat

1 oz. leather

top hat not used

leather was too thick

Her gauntlets are made from trim I dyed with alcohol ink. Pearls are sewn at the base.


The earrings are tiny watch gears with stems I pushed into the holes that were in her ears already.


Her shrug needed a closure so I glued a couple of gears together, sewed together the collar and glued on the “brooch”.


I made a muslin pattern for the goggles. Once they were how I liked them, I cut them out of the 1 oz. leather, but a hole each side where she can see out. Some acetate was glued to one side of each of 2 brass jumprings. These are the lenses. The lenses were pushed thru, gently, from the inside of the goggles so that the brass was showing, and glued in. Since I didn’t have a small buckle, I made one from wire. The lenses are centered over her eye; she can “see” out of the goggles.


She’s an aviator, she needed a compass and an altimeter. The compass is a small compass from Alpha Stamps ( that works. It is covered with leather and a loop made to attach to her waist. The altimeter is an image I picked off google images. I used a brass fitting for the casing. Judikin’s Diamond Glaze made the “glass” and it was attached to a wire bracelet for her forearm.


Using one of Tim Holtz’ swivel clasps, I added a little decorative bead, the compass and the goggles to the belt of the flying machine.

belt accessories

Steampunk Barbie Pt. 3

Step 4: Clothing

I like the outfit on Simply Betty’s Steampunk Gang Gwendolyn stamp: Starting with the legs, I used a fashion doll pants pattern to make another pattern–couldn’t use one with side seams because I didn’t want the extra bulk. After making a muslin, I cut them out of 1 oz. leather and sewed them up on the sewing machine. I glued the seams down, turned them right-side out and put them on the doll. Then I sewed up each leg on the outside to make skin-tight leggings. One legging kind of twisted during sewing, but it was in a place that was going to be covered up by boots, so I didn’t worry about it.

leather leggings 1leather leggings 2leather leggings 3

I really wanted to use the corset from Her tutorial on adding patina to brass eyelets worked well. These are 1/16″ brass eyelets. The corset was laced up using leather lacing. I made the corset, but had to put the leggings on first :).

corset front corset side corset back

I made a skirt pattern based on Simply Betty’s Steampunk Gang Gwendolyn — found some lace at Wal-Mart that was perfect for the trim. Notice that the top layer has the point to the front and the bottom layer has the point to the back. This made it a challenge to have an opening to get the doll into the skirt. The top layer was fine, I put the seam down the back. I didn’t want to see a seam down the middle of the pointed skirt, so I moved it off to the side. I altered the waistband from Reflections by Ice skirt patters, so that there was a seam down the middle of the back. It was covered up by the corset.

skirt and corset

The first time I sewed up the skirt, I got the top layer going the wrong direction and had to take that part off. Once that was done, I hand-sewed it onto the doll over the leggings; then put the corset on her.

She needed a little something else, so I altered a jacket pattern to make the vest. The same lace used on the skirt was used around the armholes only I folded it in half.


(The top hat is the first one I made for her; the leather is too thick.)