I love the DIY aspect of steampunk. For the new show, I've taken a number of props and redone them in a different style. Some are very steampunk, some are just Victorian. The first is a rectangular box which holds a wooden die. The original effect came out back in the 1860s. But for whatever reason, a lot of the boxes are poorly decorated and often very cheesy.
The one I had was black with some sort of Asian motif stenciled on in gold. The die that was with it was silver. In a word, it was awful. I decided that in order to even consider using it, I'd have to redo the whole thing, which meant stripping all the paint off the box and the die. Thankfully, underneath all the paint was actual wood. Once I had it all sanded down I then stained it. There were some unusual imperfections in the wood grain that gave a really wild look to one of the doors and the back of the prop.
The stain made a huge difference in the appearance. But the silver die would not do, so I decided to paint that an off white, actually an antique white color. The new die color went perfectly with the new color of the box. When I put it all back together, it looked so much better. I did have one issue, the dots on the die. I used a paper black paper dot, but I didn't have enough to finish the whole die. I couldn't seem to find any dots at Office Depot or Staples or Walmart or anywhere. Thankfully a search only turned up black vinyl dots, perfect!
I also ordered a couple other accessories, handles and feet for the box. I knew these would help to punch up the look even more. Though I wasn't going for a steampunk look, I did want a Victorian look to the box. The final result can be seen below. It really wasn't difficult at all to completely change the look of this prop.
I'm currently working on another piece that I will be steampunking. When it's finished I'll post the before, during and after photos here.