Monday, May 9, 2011

Gunning for Some Cash, or Nerf Gun + Paint = eBay Hit

This is one of the nicer eBay Steampunk Nerf guns that
is currently available. Many of them still have the word
"Nerf" clearly visible and do not have any gauges added.
I've been playing on eBay a lot lately, looking at toys for the kids and toys for me. I've learned that eBay can become addictive, time flies when I'm looking through auction listings. It's my go-to place for discount electronics, clothing, costume pieces, and toys, and I've come to rely on it for certain purchases. I love eBay so much that when I hear that someone I know has never used eBay my heart stops for a moment, and I immediately plan an intervention.

Lately I've been paying particular attention to what price items are selling for, looking for a possible opportunity to turn my crafting skills into cash, and I think I've found something. Steampunk Nerf guns. To be fair, it was my husband who pointed out the price difference on eBay between regular Nerf guns and those that had been repainted and decorated in Steampunk style; some of these babies were selling for upwards of $50. Basically, the artisans who convert the Nerf guns repaint them so they have a metallic look, distress them, and add gears and gauges for a more steam-powered look. (Nerf guns are air powered, so it's practically the same thing, anyway.)

Eli and I decided we'd do something similar with his water guns today. We've only completed step 1, repainting for a metallic look, but that was simple as pie. We suspended his gun from a piece of thread and used a can of metallic spray paint to give it an overall coat. I figure we can use black acrylic paint to add contrast and age the look of the metal. The only thing I haven't figured out yet is what kind of glue we should use to glue gears and such to plastic. Hot glue is out, it doesn't adhere well to plastic. Perhaps some kind of clear drying epoxy? Not sure. This may take some experimentation. (Any suggestions you have are welcome.)

Regardless of whether I ever sell a Steampunk Nerf gun on eBay, I know I will never buy one because it is something I can fashion myself. If you're like me, you hate to buy something that you know you could make for less.

These are squirt guns, and all we've done is paint them, but they
definitely have Steampunk potential.

Interested in making your own Steampunk gear? Here are some great ideas from All Things Crafty. Notice the Nerf gun she incorporated into her arm band.


  1. Yeah, we've notice the prices that modified Nerf guns and welding goggles are bringing. I find it sorta sad. I'd much rather see others make their gear themselves. But, we are kinda biased. ;)

    Nice start on the water guns! As for some tips, I'd try using E-6000 glue for small attachments. Seems hoards of crafters swear by it. If possible, you could also take the gun apart and screw things on. An exacto and a little patience can get the glued seams apart.

    We've found that some plastics need to be sanded or cleaned with alcohol to remove unknown coatings, oil and dirt before painting. Spray paint will flake right off of some. However, the parts we use for our gadgets have also been used. So who knows what's got on them. If you spray it with a base coat of primer or flat paint, you can paint over it with regular acrylic craft paint. Then, seal it with a clear coat of spray paint.

    Thanks for the link! Can't wait to see how your guns turn out! :)


  2. Thanks, Mieljolie! I'll have to try the E-6000. Would I find that in a hardware store? I appreciate the tips :)

  3. You're welcome. Yes, you could get E-6000 at a hardware store. It should be available in any craft store, as well.


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