Craft Wondrous Item: Steampunk Gun

Dragoncon is quickly approaching and there's no time to waste. One of my cosplay goals for this convention is to do an original steampunk character. I'm still working on the overall concept of what this character is (currently she's something between an hunter and occult researcher), but I knew I wanted to have a weapon. When Budd and I saw a Nerf crossbow gun at Target I knew immediately I wanted to use this for my cosplay. I read a few tutorials online that other people wrote about their process of “steampunking” a Nerf gun and decided to have a go at it myself! So please enjoy this walk-through on my creative process, and hopefully it will inspire or assist you in your own steampunk endeavors.



  • Nerf Gun

  • Primer Spray Paint

  • Metallic Spray Paint

  • Paintbrushes

  • Matte Mod Podge

  • Matte Acrylic Sealer

  • Small bottles of black or metallic acrylic paint

  • Decorative gears, etc

  • Dremel sander

  • E6000 or other strong holding glue


  • Make sure you have some newspapers or something to set the Nerf gun on while you spray paint

  • Have a well ventilated area to spray paint.


1. Use dremel sander to sand off the Nerf logos.


2. Spray your primer (white is best) and allow to dry. Using a primer makes it easier for all the following coats to paint to stick.


3. Spray your primary metal color. (This will be the color you want the majority of the gun to have.)


4. Use paintbrush to paint all the other areas a different color. I used black and painted it in places that seemed logical where the paint wouldn't be copper. Originally I bought black spray paint and painting tape to do this part, but using the brushes allowed me to have more control and less mess. You could even use multiple colors in these areas, depending on the look you want the gun to have. It took about three coats of black to cover up the copper completely.


5. Once those coats of paint are completely dry you might want to add some age to your gun. I just using a paint color called “Worn Penny” instead of mixing up colors to get a dirty, worn look. If you use a regular paintbrush be sure not to leave brush strokes. Try to be a dabbing motion or better yet, use a sponge brush to get a more natural antique.


6. Next we add about two coats of Matte Mod Podge. I watered mine down a little bit so that it was easier to paint.

7. Now add a coat of matte acrylic sealer to insure the gun won't be sticky and your paint job is protected from all the banging around that can (and will) happen at a convention.


8. The final part is to add on all the decorative objects. I went with something simple and used E600 to glue a few gears and a compass onto the sides to to give it a mechanical appearance.

Now you can sip some tea, ponder on the wonder of steampower and admire your new gun. Cheers!