Getting in Gear with Steampunk-Style Scrapbooking

Tara Orr, Graphic 45 designer

Tara Orr, Graphic 45 designer

Steampunk is a sprawling neo-vintage trend that has spilled over into scrapbooking. Originally a literary genre combining Victorian-era historical fiction with sci-fi and fantasy, steampunk has developed into a full-fledged design aesthetic embracing brass and pearls, gears and velvet, smoke and satin, faded daguerrotypes and shiny airships.

Hello! It’s Tara Orr here from beautiful British Columbia, Canada. What an absolute honour to have the opportunity to contribute to this very special steampunk-themed post for Creating Keepsakes and Graphic 45. Thank you all so much for having me as your guest blogger this week!

"Olde Curiosity Shoppe" scrapbook layout by Tara Orr for Graphic 45, as seen on the Creating Keepsakes editors blog

Olde Curiosity Shoppe by Tara Orr for Graphic 45.


Here is a layout that I created using the brilliant Olde Curiosity Shoppe Collection from Graphic 45. Within this beautifully vintage collection, you will find yourself surrounded with amazing imagery, oddities, trinkets, vintage treasures, fashion and more—all the wonderful things one would find at a flea market or thrift store, and all perfect for incorporating into your steampunk projects.

Giving Chipboard Embellishments a Metallic Look

To embellish my layout, I decided to incorporate several cogs and gears, along with many metal elements as well. Although Graphic 45 has many wonderful metal embellishments within their Staples collection, the gears I used were naked chipboard pieces. I needed these pieces to look like metal. Solution: metallic paint.

Detail from "Olde Curiosity Shoppe" scrapbook layout by Tara Orr for Graphic 45, as seen on the Creating Keepsakes editors blog

I first painted all my pieces with plain cream-coloured acrylic paint and waited for them to dry. Left this way, the pieces look fabulous enough, but they lack that certain aged, metal look that I was looking for. After the chipboard pieces were set, I used two different types of metallic paint from DecoArt: Venetian Gold and Rich Espresso.

Detail from "Olde Curiosity Shoppe" scrapbook layout by Tara Orr for Graphic 45, as seen on the Creating Keepsakes editors blog

As you can see in my photo, I completely transformed the chipboard pieces simply by dabbing on a small amount of either one of these colours (I used my finger to apply the paint randomly). I personally feel that a copper-like colour looks more aged and vintage, but you can very readily incorporate other metallic shades into your projects. Metallic colours add depth and help to highlight the particular part of your project to which it has been added.

Detail from "Olde Curiosity Shoppe" scrapbook layout by Tara Orr for Graphic 45, as seen on the Creating Keepsakes editors blog

Win New Steampunk-Style Scrapbook Products

Would you like to get your hands on some of the new products from Graphic 45? Leave a comment on this blog post and you will be entered to win this steampunk-style scrapbooking prize package valued at $65. Comments must be received by Monday, October 1, at 9:00 am (MT). International entries happily accepted!

Steampunk scrapbooking prize package from Graphic 45 and Creating Keepsakes magazine


Congratulations to our winner!

Cathy Ross says: I love the Steampunk look and I already have loads of pictures to make a mini book. I love the LOs that you have shown here and it has given me some new ideas to incorporate in my album. I would love to win some supplies to use also.

Cathy Ross watch for an email in your inbox with instructions on how to redeem your prize.


Thank you so much! If you’d like to take a peek at more of my work, please stop by my blog for a visit—I’d love to have you!

Tara Orr, Graphic 45

P.S. If you love combining media in your scrapbooks the way Tara has done here, be sure to take a look at Mixed Media Scrapbooking, a 2012 special issue from Creating Keepsakes magazine.

Mixed Media Scrapbooking, a special issue from Creating Keepsakes magazine

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185 Responses to Getting in Gear with Steampunk-Style Scrapbooking

  1. Tammy Tavares says:

    Your layout is fantastic. I look the Steampunk style and yours is very inspiring. Thanks.

  2. Jennifer says:

    My two FAVORITE G45 collections of all time. I would give me right arm, mechanical eye, and tricked out top hat for this rockin’ collection of quirky steampunk goodness. Love your inspired use of the metal key as the butterfly’s torso – genius!

  3. Elisabeth says:

    I love the gear elements.
    Thank you for the inspiration.

  4. I so admire your work, Tara!! Thanks for the steampunk inspiration and tips!! ~ Blessings

  5. Terry Hodgdon says:

    Wow, what a wonderful layout. Using Graphic 45 products is a great inspiration and you’ve made a beautiful page! Thanks for the hint about creating metallic gears out of chipboard too!.

  6. Stephanie DiSabato says:

    Love the door knobs!

  7. Carla Hundley says:

    Looks like a great collection. The steampunk is a great
    way to make layouts look old and new at the same time.

    Carla from Utah

  8. Evelyn O'Hara says:

    Brilliant design. Love the Olde Curiosity Shoppe Collection. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Linda Statham says:

    wow G45 is the best ever you lady can make anything and i do love the steampuck
    take care hugs linda

  10. Svetlana V says:

    What a great projects!! Thanks for the chance to win this amazing collection!!
    Svetlana xx

  11. Kirsten says:

    Love Graphic 45!

  12. Melinda Wilson says:

    Wow! Love this technique and plan to try it soon!

  13. julie howard says:

    this is awesome, have always had a vintage flair to my pages, and it’s easy to add a little steampunk in.. ESPECIALLY with Graphic 45, and Tim Holtz’s stuff :D

  14. Patricia Carter says:

    I LOVE Graphic 45 – their stuff is gorgeous and so is the layout.

  15. Donna U says:

    This looks like fun! Thank you for the giveaway

  16. Vicki Wigton says:

    Great ideas. Can’t wait to try them on my layouts.

  17. Cynthia Boucher says:

    I absolutely love the Graphic 45 line. This layout is beautiful and would love to create with it.

  18. Tiffany Coffey says:

    That layout is gorgeous. Graphic 45 is my favorite paper company, hands down. My next project uses Olde Curiosity Shoppe papers and elements, so it would definitely be very handy… *wink, wink*

  19. Lynn Beeman says:

    Have been curious about this look but never tried it. thanks for the inspirat. you have me itching to give this a go for myself.

  20. Lynn Beeman says:

    Have been curious about this look but never tried it. thanks for the inspiration you have me itching to give this a go for myself.

  21. Trinidad says:

    I love steampunk and I’m trying to get it into my scrapbooks. This collection is off the hook!

  22. Sara Heijkoop says:

    Love everything Graphic 45! Would be so ‘steampunked’ to win this trove!

  23. Cropgoddess says:

    I love me some steampunk goodness! Great layout, lots of cool little details to study, very creative use of products! Have you played with metalic acrylics on shrinky dink die cut gears yet? Mmmmhmmm fun fun fun!

  24. Karen says:

    I love the steampunk style and have been wanting to incorporate it into my scrapbooking, but I’m wasn’t sure how. Thanks for the inspiration! I would definitely love to win this prize.

  25. TeacupKitten says:

    Gorgeous stuff. I love this look! It’s nice to see it being featured in scrapbooking circles!

  26. Frances says:

    Really love this style!

  27. Michelle Price says:

    Love this style! So cool!

  28. Katy Drogos says:

    This is a fabulous page! I love how you incorporated the butterflies with the gears! And the paper is awesome!

  29. Aimee says:

    Wow! Absolutely inspiring! Makes me want to experiment.

  30. Peggy Trabalka says:

    I’ve been a designer, illustrator, author for many years and just started playing with mixed-media. All my supplies are morphing and I’m excited. I’ve been watching Paperkitz on YouTube and learning a lot. I’m delighted with all the beautiful papers, punches, tags, and stickers with my favorite being Graphic 45.

    Now I’m searching for all the related videos, websites and blogs. Glad I found Creating Keepsakes.

  31. LinhC says:

    I’d love to try this new look!

  32. Jan Garber says:

    Everything about this layout screams “Steampunk”! Not only are the individual embellies terrific, but the whole page is so fantastic. Took me forever to see all the little details! Tara, you and Graphic 45 rock!

  33. Laurie Kearnes says:

    I would love to win! And thanks for the tips on how to make the chipboard look metallic. Just the answers I needed!

  34. Sylvia Smith says:

    what a great look you have created i have a natural gravitation to this look on my pages but need some Graphic 45 to ramp it up with the authenticity it exudes you have shown us how to max out the look beautifully and inspire us all
    thank you so much

  35. Rob Fisher says:

    Many thanks for such a terrific article! Vintage treasures are remarkable and it’s marvelous to see others get a kick out of picking them too!

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