Steampunk Pens – How to create your own steampunk inspired pen.

Steampunk inspired pen crafted by Simon Taylor. Photo used by permission.

Steampunk inspired works have gained popularity in the recent years and is predicted by IBM in this Forbes Magazine article to be the hottest fashion trend in the next two years as illustrated by this quote.

“During the next two years, IBM predicts that steampunk will shift from low production, high cost “craft” manufacturing to mass production.”

Steampunk inspiration is taken from the Victorian era and incorporates elements of steam power and mechanisms. It often uses old-world materials such as brass, copper, wood, leather, and glass to name a few. It has inspired the reuse of discarded items, such as watch parts, to create artistic and functional art.

More exact definition of Steampunk can be found at wikipedia and other online sources.

Examples of Steampunk pens from penturning friends.

Simon Taylor (aka Si90 on the IAP forum) of Wolf Pens has created some excellent examples of steampunk inspired pens. You can see some of his work in his album on

Steampunk inspired pen crafted by Simon Taylor. Photo used by permission.

Steampunk inspired pen crafted by Simon Taylor. Photo used by permission.

Simon had this to say about crafting a Steampunk pen like the one above when I asked him if he had any advice for fellow penturners.

There is no hard and fast rules when doing these pens, to some extent I am still finding my own way with them and finding out things as I go along. They all start off as a kit. I currently don’t posses the skill or equipment to turn my own metal parts – hopefully in the future I may.

I use a combination of solders, which I am currently experimenting with different types. Ideally I want to use silver solder as it matches the colour of the brass and its the strongest but the melting points are very high and it’s very expensive. There are some solders aimed at model makers which have lower melting points and, again, I am experimenting with those.

I use a blow torch for the larger, thicker pieces and for the higher temp solders. For small or very thin parts you can just about get away with a good soldering iron if you use the correct solder. I sometimes use two soldering irons at the same time.

The brass is by two companies: K&S and Albion Alloys. Both make rod, tube, and profiles for the model maker so they are quite light gauge, hence why at a push you can use a soldering iron with low melting point solder.

I occasionally use the odd watch parts, I’ve used test tubes, and currently have one under construction that has a spirit level vial in it.

When the parts are finished you have to pickle them to remove any flux residues. I use citric acid which is readily available from a home brew shop in the form of crystals. It’s also the most environmentally sympathetic way to do it. They are then polished with Renaissance Wax Polish

As regards to design, where do you want to start. I take inspiration from everywhere; industry, especially Victorian era, aviation, science fiction films – Jules Verne, etc, military, science and science labs and my head of course – the list is endless.


Dennis Peabody (aka denniszoomy at the IAP) creates his steampunk inspired pens using thin metal wrapped around the pen barrel.

Steampunk inspired pen crafted by Dennis Peabody

Steampunk inspired pen crafted by Dennis Peabody

Dennis authored  this article on how to create Steampunk Pen Blank using copper and aluminum foil. You may download a copy from the IAP library.

Chad Schimmel creates Steampunk designs using old watch parts. See how it’s done in his video series.

Where to find parts.

For more information on where to find steampunk parts, check out this blog article from What the Stork on 5 Ways to Find Steampunk Parts and Supplies.

Ebay  online auction site:

IAP Classifieds – Checkout what offerings your pen turning friends may have in the classified ads. Just search for “steampunk” keyword in the search menu.

Closing thoughts.

Crafting a Steampunk inspired pen can be as simple as buying a pre-made pen blank from a fellow penturner, making your own blank using some of the example above, or something totally unique to you. It is an opportunity to expand your pen making skills into new mediums. It may also expand your market to new customers.

There’s also a Facebook page dedicated to Steampunk.  With over 450, 000 likes this may be a place to look for inspiration or contact the owner to see if you can share your unique design for a Steampunk Pen.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Tim McGill




About the author /

Pen turner, pen designer, custom pen artist, writer, publisher, father, husband, avid book reader, office man, outdoorsman, handyman, runner....these are just a few of the things that define me.

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