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How to Make a Steampunk-Inspired Teacup

Your vintage teacup is all prepped for you, and you're ready to go! Here are some tips and tricks that will be sure to help you along your way as you design and decorate your very own steampunk-inspired teacup. If we are making these teacups together, you'll already have all the materials you need! If you've stumbled upon this post on the world wide web, I'll be sure to include some links to help you source some materials and inspiration.

Hot tip: Once you're done making your steampunk inspired teacup, be sure to check out my post on 12 ways to use it! I also have you covered with a post on how to care for your finished teacup.

Please note: this page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Let's Get Started!

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with endless options and possibilities! To help make it easy, let me break things down into the 3 main techniques you'll need to decorate your steampunk teacups.


Affixing Loose Parts to your Teacup

We will be using E 6000 to adhere loose parts (like gears, cogs, chains, studs, and rivets) to the teacup. The key here: LESS IS MORE. If you use too much, it can remove the finish from the coat of paint your teacups have been prepped with. Use as little as you can, and be as precise as possible. Do your best not to slide any parts around once they have E6000 on them to position them into place. Rather, stick them right where you would like them to go.

Another pro tip...and yes I admit this sounds super annoying but I promise it's worth it: Put the cap on between each and every application. That's right... open tube, put glue on cog, close cap on tube, adhere cog to tea cup. Repeat.

While this might seem like an unnecessary (not to mention repetitive) step, it is so worthwhile. It helps to ensure your glue doesn't dry out in the nozzle (ultimately avoiding any surprise super squeezes), but also stops it from seeping out and pooling at the tip of the nozzle between applications. Remember: less is more. In the couple seconds that it takes for you to attach that loose part to your teacup, the E 6000 is slowly working its way out of the tube and pooling at the nozzle. We don't want that build up of extra glue to remove the finish of our prepped teacups when we go to apply it the next time!

NOTE: if you are buying this yourself, make sure that you buy the CLEAR all weather option. E 6000 also comes in white, black, and a whole host of other colours. We want the crystal clear stuff!

Don't have access to E6000? Superglue will do the trick in a pinch!

Adding Paper, Fabric, or Lace to your Teacup

Yes! It is totally possible to add paper or fabric AND have a fully functional, washable teacup. The trick here is that we will be using a dishwasher safe varnish to make the paper or fabric waterproof. That being said, do read my post on Caring for your Steampunk Teacup to make sure you are caring for it properly and that the paper or fabric will last.

For this, we will be using Dishwasher-safe Mod Podge. It does go on white, but it dries clear. You will need to apply a coat of it to the teacup directly, lay down your paper, ribbon, lace, or thin fabric, and then apply another coat overtop.

If using small pieces of paper, brush over each individual piece; do not put several on and brush over them all at once. You'll want the ModPodge making contact with both sides of each piece of paper, with no dried pieces tucked or sandwiched in the middle. Once each piece has been painted over with a thin layer, use your sponge brush to paint an even, generous coat over the entire exterior of the teacup.

If using lace, I like to load the sponge brush applicator with mod podge, and press it into the crevasses and grooves of the lace to make sure it is well-coated. As mentioned above I like to use a sponge brush applicator, but you can also use a soft paintbrush if you prefer.

Ideally, you would let the first coat dry for 2-3 hours, then apply another coat. I have, however, gotten away with a generous and evenly applied single coat in the past. The Mod Podge only takes a few hours to dry. BUT! It will take 28 days to fully cure. That means you do not want it getting wet for at least 28 days! Patience is key here, and I promise it will be worth the wait. Once the month of waiting is up, you'll have a teacup you can feel confident washing... albeit gently!

A note on the varnish: Dishwasher safe does not mean food safe! All it means is that it is waterproof. Apply your ModPodge ONLY to the outside of the teacup (you can cover the outside entirely), and be sure to hand wash only once it has finished curing for the entire 28 days.

Give Your Teacup a Buffed, Metallic Finish

Wax varnishes offer a beautiful metallic finish that paint just can't quite accomplish! Simply apply a tiny amount using your finger. You can use a brush if you'd like, but a little goes a long way and personally I find that just applying a dab with your finger not only gives a nicer finish, its also easier to control the amount being applied. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, a little finger cot is very helpful! Otherwise it washes off easily with soap and water, or even a baby wipe when you're done.

Rub n Buff is a popular option. I had a hard time finding it locally, so tested out the one from Craft Smart brand, which is available at Michales stores. I see also that Pebeo makes a gilding wax. While I have not tried this product personally, generally speaking it is a trusted brand and one that is likely available at a locally owned art store near you!

Get Social!

That's all there is to it! Did you find this helpful? If you did, I would love for you to share your work with me on the old social medias. You can find me on most platforms (but I'm most active on instagram!) at @ArtVenturesYEG .

As always: your partner in creating,


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