Leather Steam Punk Time Travel Chest Piece

So, yeah.  The title is a bit out there, but I’ve no clue what to call this time travelling device for you steam punk enthusiasts.  Two questions I know you are asking:

1) Does it light up or what? — Yes, I will be adding EL wire to the piece so that it will glow a bright blue in the center.
2) is that star map on the back real? — Yes. If you can tell me what part of the night sky that is you get some serious extra bonus points.

So I cut out the basic pattern that I wanted knowing that I want to wear a vest underneath it so I didn’t want it to be too constricting.  I figured a piece that I could simply strap on was the best way to go, and let’s be honest, the more buckles you can put on a steam punk piece the better.  I went with the two over-the-shoulder and one around the midsection plan.  After cutting out the front and the back, I got to work with my wood burner (turned leather burner), a metal straight edge, a star map of a certain portion of the night sky, an 18V cordless drill, some brown shoe polish (for shading and water proofing), and my Pandora John Mayer channel.

Now I would definitely suggest that you practice burning leather before you just plug in and start filling the air with burnt dried flesh.  It took me a few practice runs on some scrap leather before I was confident in how fast I could move the burner, how hard I needed to press down, and to learn when too much was too much.  Once I had the burning down, I dug through the garage for as many different sized circles I could find, wet the leather slightly to make an impression with the “stencils” I had commandeered, and got to tracing my indentations.

The 1/4″ copper tubing is absolutely a pain in the rear to bend.  I tried filling with soapy water and freezing, packing with salt, and about 15 other tricks of the trade before I caved in and bought a $12 tube bender at Lowes.  I mean, seriously, $12 is more than worth it when trying to make tight bends on multiple pieces of copper.  Then I wet the ends of the center leather gear shape and wrapped copper wiring to secure the pipes in place (I will be running the EL wire through the pipes for the lighting effect later).

Welp.  Two down, and who knows how many more to go.  WOO!


Published by

Jim Tillmans

Marine Corps Veteran, Crafter, Life liver, Husband, Father, and adventurer.

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