Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering doesn’t really work for me because I have too many things that spark joy. LOL I just went through a clothing purge in March/April and yet here I’ve had to go through it again. I got rid of half my wardrobe this time and you wouldn’t guess it if you could see how much I have left. I didn’t buy anything between clothing purges either. I’ve also been going through my toy collection and crafting supplies and really asking myself what I wanted from what I was keeping. That question has really helped me to get rid of a lot of little dreams that didn’t fit into my bigger ones.
One of those dreams is modding some cool weapons for steampunk cosplay. Guns and how the media tends to glorify them has been a hot topic in the public arena lately. This has bled over into the steampunk community where a cool gun is a common accessory. It makes sense because a lot of people’s costumes revolve around the idea of Steampunk Adventurer! And of course adventurers need a weapon to fight off whatever comes at them. A weapon is a handy way of showing cool technology in an easy to carry around and pose with way. Think about it: how much of the stuff you carry around with you every day would make a cool steampunk accessory? Most people don’t even carry around a pen and anyway who wants to pose with one?
So on the one hand some members of the steampunk community would like to see fewer people carrying around and glorifying weapons and on the other…it’s hard to look cool without one.
As for me, well, I’m in the middle. I want to be an adventurer some of the time, so I will be modding some of the toy guns that I have for use at steampunk events. But I will also plan for outfits and accessories that don’t require one. (I mean, who wants to go through all those security checks all the time anyway?) So I junked several things that might have made cool steampunk stuff, but I had no plans for. And I kept all the small guns I’d collected for tucking in places on my short self and one large gun that lights up and makes noises. But that left me with an extra dart gun. I’ve been thinking for a while that my stepson got his first dart gun around the same age as his sister is now. So this weekend I gave my little abandoned dream to her and mentioned that if she wanted to paint it a different color, we could.
Oh, she latched onto that bit. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of a project I’d meant to try out some time but not right now. And I didn’t want to buy more stuff right in the middle of getting rid of things so I was just going to have to work with what I had…
- …a long, thin screwdriver
- …sandpaper and acetone (the sandpaper worked better at removing the gun’s finish)
- …leftover painter’s tape
- …a can of Krylon ColorMaster paint + primer in black
- …acrylic paints for crafting
I’d already read up some on how to mod a gun so I knew I needed to take a lot of pictures as I was taking it apart and sand down its surface first so the paint would stick. I’ll give Moira this: for a five-year old, she actually did quite a bit before she got bored and asked to do something else. I didn’t expect her to do very much, but I wanted her to at least experience the prepping step. I finished sanding the gun after she went to bed, masked off the areas I didn’t want to paint, and spray painted the gun in the dark.
I don’t recommend spray painting in the dark, even if it’s utterly hot outside during the day. I found I hadn’t completely covered the green paint when I checked it in the morning. :p Worried that too many layers of paint would make the gun sucketh to use, I decided to leave it alone and told my stepdaughter we needed to give the paint a day to cure and we’d finish it on Sunday.
That didn’t let me off on crafting with her. On Saturday we spent two hours putting together our first flower fairy from fake flowers I’d decided I was decluttering:
Sunday rolled around and she was asking to paint her gun the minute she saw me in the morning. We decided on silver and purple as our colors, but the silver paint I have sucks when it came to opacity (sooo getting destashed) and the purple really wasn’t showing up either. Finally, I decided to try using Folk Art’s metallic paint instead. It worked. I mixed up the purple out of the red and blue I owned and then Moira latched onto adding more blue to the gun. So in the end our results were more purple/blue/gunmetal. She painted one half of the gun and I just tried to make sure my side somewhat matched with whatever she was doing.
Note: technically we should have watered down the paint and painted more thin layers. However, many thin coats is not how a five-year old paints, so I gave that up pretty quickly.
While all of that dried she made a few egg carton critters. Cookies, which were very awkward to cut out. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of them, but if you hang with me till the end of the post I’ll show you a picture of the pirate ship she and I made together on another weekend. 😉
Once the paint was dry enough, she painted glow in the dark paint on half of the gun so now it kinda glows in the dark too. I used my LED nail dryer to supercharge the paint to show her she needed at least two coats of it if she wanted much of a glow. After that, she was done with craft time and boogied off. I painted a satin finish seal on that night and used my photos to put the gun back together successfully. It works, though I think the pump action is a tiny bit stiffer.
If you were wondering what kind of dart gun she and I were working on, the brand on the gun itself is Buzz Bee Toys (HK). I looked around, but I only found this no longer for sale link from Amazon which labels it as Air Zone Twin Tek 10 Suction Dart Blast. Eh, well, that’s what comes from thrift store finds. 🙂
So that’s it! Thanks to my stepdaughter I have now modded my first gun and it was a lot of fun. Crafting with her really takes the pressure off of trying to be perfect so I can just do things already. I do have a tendency to mark my favorite things as too precious and Moira just wants to play with the shinnies. Give her a sticker book and she’ll use up every one. Give me a sticker sheet and I’ll haul it around for 20+ years. I’m just going to do my best to learn from her instead of passing on my own neuroses.
Fear of non-perfection may be one reason why it’s so easy for me to get stuck on painting different things on my nails over and over instead of making time for all the other projects I want to do. It has all the benefits of getting my art on, but no consequences if I fail. I can repaint a nail as many times as I want until I’m satisfied with no worries that I’ve destroyed my one sheet of X material that I can’t get again. /sigh Something I need to work on. This blog wasn’t meant to be nails-only and it has ended up that way because I keep putting off my other projects. I want to stop doing that.
But I will get around to painting my nails again sometime. After all my activities and yard work stop setting them up to break, that is. 😛
And now, the pirate ship. Brought to you by Moira, rainbows, and pom poms that Moira just wanted to use somehow: