Hopefully, by now we have erected our spectacular tented stage set. We have concealed all incongruous traces of the modern and mundane.
Now we need to populate our stage with the weird and wonderful treasures that will really bring our scene to life.
This is an opportunity to expand our Steampunk horizons beyond what we can comfortably wear and carry around an event or market.
So, where do we get all this marvellous stuff?
Well in order of expense we could start with car boot sales. Most people take stuff to car boot sales because they want to get rid of it but they don’t want to throw it in the bin. This means that if you are looking for the sort of thing that others don’t want any more, you can get some real bargains.
Some people like to haggle but personally I just ask the price and if I think it is worth it, I buy it. If not, I don’t.
There are often a few dealers at car boot sales. Prices on their stalls will be a bit higher but often it is better stuff. I don’t mind haggling a bit with them but I still don’t take the Mick like I see some people do.
If their stuff is good, I might want to buy from them again in the future and some people have long memories.
Retro and Antique markets will tend to be more expensive again. Unlike many of the dealers on the car boots, these people probably tell HMRC what they are doing and have higher costs as a result.
On the good side, these people are selling the sort of stuff you are looking for.
Next up the price ladder will be Antique centres, followed by Antique shops who have the highest overheads and therefore need to charge the highest prices.
It is quite possible that the antique you are buying there was found on a boot sale in the first place but they are the ones that got there first.
That should tell you something really important. If you want to get nice stuff for good prices. Get to the Boot Sales early. Be there when people are setting their tables up and turning their boxes out. That’s when you get the real bargains.
If you see something you like, don’t hesitate, pick it up and ask the price. If it’s in your hand someone else is less likely to buy it from under your nose.
If you walk away, don’t expect it to be there if you come back later. If you like it, other might as well.
I tend to walk around a boot sale at least twice, preferably in opposite directions. Sometimes you will see something you missed first time because it was hidden behind something else. Sometimes it has only just been unpacked and put out or sometimes you see something that you weren’t particularly looking for first time around but it fits with something else that you have purchased.
Often stuff will just need a bit of cleaning up or a bit of fettling and fixing but that’s half the fun for me.
Charity shops can occasionally turn up some interesting things but they don’t tend to last long. Online auctions like eBay can be useful as well if you know what you are looking for.
Jumble sales can be great or sometimes just disappointing. My guess is that their stock is generally picked over by the organisers long before the customers arrive.
Auction houses are good too but remember that there are sometimes fees to pay on top of your bid.
Steampunk and re-enactor markets can be good sources for some things but be prepared to pay the same sorts of prices that you see in antique markets.
I think over the years I have had as much, or possibly more fun collecting this sort of stuff as I have had using it.
I’m not going to tell you what to buy. Everybody has there own idea of what Steampunk is about. But i will say get out there and start looking. It’s quite addictive once you start.
So far we have only talked about buying stuff but making and modifying things lies at the very heart of what we do.
Imagination and creativity are the keys to the extraordinary and slightly bonkers world of Steampunk.
I tend to be careful about modifying real antiques but there are many reproductions that I consider fair game.
Some original pieces that are damaged beyond repair can be bought very cheap for spares and repairs.
That can also mean raw materials for your own creations.
Go on, get the tools out and have a bit of fun.