D.I.Y. Atomventor’s Jar

An Atomventor’s Jar is a Steampunk Halloween decoration that will give your party the feel of a mad scientist’s laboratory.

Note Before you Begin: Steampunk D.I.Y.s are tricky because not everyone will have access to these materials. The materials I have listed below should be relatively easy for you to procure–with one exception–a grandfather clock part or machine part. I will list a few alternative ideas that you might find more readily available and would work just as well: music box innards, computer board circuits or springs.

Materials:

1 large Mason Jar

light bulbs (of various sizes and shapes)

2-3 clock gears

grandfather clock part or a machine part with two plates (a 1/4 inch larger than your mason jar top)

22 gauge Artist wire (or floral wire will do) in a color of your choice (I used copper colored wire)

Modgepodge

book page (can be an old book or one that you love)

Tools You’ll Need:

Wire cutters (or if you do not own a pair, toe nail clippers work well)

flat nosed pliers

paintbrush

scissors

Before you begin–study your machine/clock part. Locate its usable holes and play around with the various ways you can fix it atop of your mason jar.

Steps:

1. Unscrew the lid of your mason jar and arrange your lightbulbs inside. Be careful when putting the lightbulbs in the jar–you do not want any of them to break. Feel free to add your own personal touch–you can include gears, washers, nuts & bolts, buttons, radio tubes, or vacuum tubes or even an old photograph into your jar along with your lightbulbs.  (My jar is a combination of radio tubes and lightbulbs).

2. Take the top part of your mason jar (the piece that rests on the mouth of the jar, not the piece that screws in place) and trace its outline onto your book page. Cut inside the circle you’ve drawn with your scissors and then apply Modgepodge to the mason jar lid. Place the book page circle onto the mason jar lid and smooth out the lid to remove any bubbles. Next coat the top of the mason jar lid with a fine layer of Modgepodge to protect the book page. Let dry.

3. Once the lid is dry (approx. 15-20 mins.), place it atop your mason jar. Next, take your grandfather clock part or machine piece and affix it in the middle of your jar.* This is the difficult step because each part is going to be different. You may require additional tools. My grandfather clock part was just a little larger than the part of the mason jar that screws on and so I bent that part of the lid so that I could fit the clock part through it and then bent it back to hold the clock part in place.

You will have to play this step by ear; however, if Step 3 will not work with your particular clock part or machine piece, here is a suggestion: if your clock or machine part has holes in the base, drill holes in the mason jar (so that they line up with the holes you already have in your clock or machine part) and then use screws & washers to affix the clock or machine part in place.

4. Screw the remaining part of the lid onto the mason jar.

5. (Optional) Your clock or machine part may already have plenty of gears on it. If it doesn’t–or if you’d like more–use your extra gears for decoration. Place your gears where you would like them and then cut 1-2 inches of wire (depending on the size of your gear and the location of a hole for you to weave the wire through) with your wire cutters/nail clippers.

6. Weave the wire through your gear and into the holes using your pliers/fingers whichever is easier until the gear is securely fastened. Cut any excess wire with your wire cutters/nail clippers and use your pliers to pinch the end in place.

7. Find a home for your jar–on your desk, mantel, or among your eclectic Halloween decorations!

The beauty about using salvaged objects is that your Atomventor’s Jar will look different from mine–so please email me a picture of yours. I’d love to see what you come up with!

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