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DIY Monday: Steampunk Goggles

Me and my goggles. Swanky!

Me and my goggles. Swanky!

We’re at the end of June, and that means one thing: comic book convention season is underway. Whether you’re planning to go to a smaller one- or two-day event like Comikaze or the Iditarod of Nerditry, San Diego Comic-Con, you want to dress for it. You don’t need to go for a full-on superhero costume, but maybe a little flair is in order, and here’s a fairly painless and inexpensive option.

I actually made these as a cheap cop-out of a Halloween costume. We were hosting a party and I decided that I’d just throw on some vintage clothes I already had and go as a time-traveling H.G. Welles. It needed one more thing to sell the outfit, and that was these goggles.

How to do it:

Two sets of goggles for $6. Such a deal.

Two sets of goggles for $6. Such a deal.

It all starts with a quick visit to your local Harbor Freight Tools to pick up a 2-pack of their cheap welder’s goggles. They cost about $6, and there are two different styles in the pack; one is the “scuba mask” style and the other has flip-up lenses. Those are the ones we’re going to use.

The first thing to do is take them apart. The whole lens structure pops right out of the rubber surround, and the lens frames are made to disassemble so that you can exchange the tinted lenses for lighter or darker ones, so break ’em down.

All the disassembled pieces get painted.

All the disassembled pieces get painted.

Spray-paint the lens frames in a nice metallic finish. I went with copper, but you could use brass or gold-tone or silver, whatever suits your whimsy. An antiqued tone might be nice.

Now, you could just paint the rubber part of the goggles with a matte brown and get a decent leather effect, but I wanted a different look. I grabbed a chunk of 2″ ABS plumbing pipe that I had lying around. You could use lighter-weight PVC, but this is what I had. I used my cut-off saw to hack off two chunks at a 45-degree angle. make sure they’re the same length.

Sand the rough edges off the pieces you cut.

Sand the rough edges off the pieces you cut.

Sand the edges of the pieces so they’re nice and smooth.

Now glue the two pieces to the lens frame. I used Liquid Nails, but you could use pretty much any glue you like. Hot glue would work, or ABS cement or whatever.

Find some of that fake suede fabric, or use real suede or an interesting fabric. Wrap it around the eye-cups and glue it on. I used hot glue for that. Trim the edges, leaving enough to fold down inside and cover the edges of the eye-pieces.

Cover the eyepieces with suede fabric and glue down the edges.

Cover the eyepieces with suede fabric and glue down the edges.

We need to add a strap. I just took the elastic strap that came with the goggles and covered the ends with small patches of the same suede fabric, then glued it to the sides of the goggles.

The last thing I did was to change the colored lens inserts. Welding goggles come in several different grades of tint on the lenses; these ones come with the darkest, #10. They might be handy for watching a solar eclipse, but unless you’re in exceptionally bright light, you’re going to be blind when you flip them down.

Add the strap, covering the ends with scraps of the suede fabric.

Add the strap, covering the ends with scraps of the suede fabric.

I could have probably found lenses in a lighter tint, but I’m cheap and lazy, so I just cut a set of lenses out of the side of a 2-liter green soda bottle. I popped ’em in and reassembled the lens frame. We’re done.

Total cost: under $10 because I already had most of the other materials.

Total cost: under $10 because I already had most of the other materials.

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About the author

Jim

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3 comments

  1. Eric

    That’s pretty sweet. We’re going to Alamo City Comic Con in October. Its a new one and its looking to be a great one.

  2. quiltzyx/sue

    Nice tute Jim!

  3. Loren Woodside

    Nice job (I remember them for the Party) If you want something a little more user friendly for the lens you can get Snow or Motorcycle goggle lenses and cut them down that way you can get them with UV protection if you’re going to wear them outside

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