First, this blog will now include SteamPunk Helpful Hints, as hubby and I are having a blast making out own pieces to go with our outfits.
You can follow me on FaceBook at Hrefna’s Helpful Hints for more often hints.
In the next few weeks, I will be putting together my props for a How to Modify Toy Plastic Guns class. Here is the supplies list for that class, and for those of you who wish to “do it yourself” at home.
Modified Plastic Toy Gun Supply List for SteamPunk
1. Plastic toy gun (this can be anything from a squirt gun to one that rhymes with “erf”) – Dollar Stores are good for these.
2. Cookie sheet with sides – this will help keep your project contained.
3. Disposable latex (or non-latex if you are allergic) gloves.
4. Spray Paint
5. Acrylic Paint & extender (The extender will make the working time of the acrylic paint longer. That means it won’t dry as quickly, allowing you time for extra details. I live in the desert SouthWest, and any extra drying time I can get is usually a good thing for this type of project.)
6. Rub-n-Buff – This is an oil based metallic “paint” usually used to bring out the high points on mirror/picture frames, old furniture, etc. However, SteamPunks can use it on Modded toy guns to make them look worn. This product must be used sparingly, a little bit at a time. It does not look good if you squeeze out a whole bunch, then try in vain to get it to look smooth. This must be used with a clear coat to seal it or it will continue to rub off onto everything.
7. Clear Coat is a spray can (this is usually by the spray paint as it comes in the same type of aerosol can). I recommend this if you will be using acrylic paints or Rub-n-Buff. It is mandatory for using Rub-n-Buff as it is oil based and will continue to rub off on you, your clothes, and anything else it touches, unless it is sealed with a clear coat.
8. E-6000 – This is a great all around adhesive. It’s only a little smelly (it won’t drive you out of the room), it can be adjusted within a minute or two of application, and it cures completely overnight. i originally found this for my ceramic pieces. It is currently my “go-to” glue for almost everything I modify. Yes, it will hold metal to painted plastic.
9. Bits and bobbles to add on to your modded gun: decals, sequins, gears, washers, wire, filigree metal jewelry pieces, metal screen, leather, brass, copper, silver, glowing things, light up things, small viles filled with NON-TOXIC solutions (Windex is good for blue, believe it or not), tubing, whatever your imagination can thing of.
10. Paper Towels
11. Old grubby clothes. You really do not want to do this kind of a project in your good office clothes. Really, anything you don’t want ruined, don’t get around this stuff if your good clothes.
Optional Supplies You May Need
1. Face mask. If you are susceptible to small particles, you will want to wear a face mask for the spray painting.
2. Small magnetic bowl. this comes in so handy to keep all of the tiny screws and springs in, and it will attach itself to your cookie sheet. This is a lifesaver if you’re going to have to take your toy apart to get everything painted. Harbor Freight has them for super cheap.
3. Paint Brushes. If you’re going to use acrylic paint to do anything to your modification, you’ll need paint brushes. The craft stores do have cheap packets of brushes. Get the ones labeled “For Acrylic Paints”. This will save you time, money, and frustration.
4. Tiny Philips (“x”) screwdrivers. These will be very handy if you need to take apart your toy. My hubby has them for his job, he works with computers. If you don’t have any small enough, Harbor Freight or a Dollar Store may have them. The Dollar Store near my house had them today, $1 for an entire little set of them (6-8 pcs).
5. Q-tips: These are great for getting into creases, dabbing up paint before it dries, generally little helpers.
6. Empty yogurt cups. Now, I know you’re thinking, “What on Earth?” Instead of using a good kitchen cup for a paint brush rinse cup, or a paint mixing cup, use these. They are not only “just the right size” to not splash the paint water around, but they can be cut down shorter if needed to mix paint colors you don’t intend to keep.
7. OK, if you really want one, you can go pick up one of those little white plastic round artists palettes with the little depressions in it. I actually have one I use all the time for my acrylic paints. I do make sure that I wash it out thoroughly after every sitting so my new, fresh paints don’t get weird colored lumps in them.
8. Wax Paper: If you don’t have a space outside where you can let your spray painted pieces cure, you can put wax paper down on your counter, and let the pieces cure/dry there. Just be careful to not have open flames in the house when your pieces are inside curing. Once they are cured/dry, they will be fine.
9. Silverware or dental tools: Make sure you have some forks, knives, and spoons around that you are not planning on using for eating from. Craft silverware, if you will. The Dollar Store should have these by the piece. If you go to Harbor Freight or even Swap Meets, you can pick up some cheap dental tools. I do not recommend ever putting these in your own mouth. These are for making designs into the still wet acrylic paint, to show the color below (great for making “wood grain” designs).
10. Masking Tape: If for some reason you want your modded gun to be two-tone, and you don’t want to take it apart and reassemble it, you can always mask off the parts you don’t want that color of spray paint on. Note: Do let the first color of spray paint cure completely before you put masking tape over it to paint the other color. This may take a few hours or days depending on where you live and the humidity level.
11. Sand paper: Some people have better luck with their spray paint sticking to the plastic if it’s been roughed up a bit. Do not use super fine sandpaper, as this will help polish the surface of the plastic, and the paint will never stick. use the grit that works for you. Be careful to not get something too strong that may leave scratches in the plastic… unless that’s what you want. I think a 220 grit should rough up the surface nicely.
With all this stuff, you too can modify a plastic toy gun into a SteamPunk masterpiece!