Victorian Tea Time

Program Type: Family/Snack Time

Audience: Family, 10+ participants

Time Frame: 1 hour

Space Needed: Open space with tables and chairs

Budget Considerations:

  • Snacks
  • Tea
  • Plates and cups
  • Clean up


Tea time is a simple idea with lots of ways to modify it to fit your library.

  • Do you offer snack time for school kids? Add a little Victorian flair by talking about etiquette and letting the kids play make-believe. Read a steampunk short story during the snack.
  • Do you have a book club that meets regularly? Host a public meeting (preferably the first meet up) with tea, top hats, and your first discussion of your group’s Steampunk book selection.
  • Is there a convention coming to your town? Offer a pre-convention meet up for the locals to have tea, show off their costumes, and get excited for the event. Use the meet up as a chance to highlight your collection’s books on costume construction, crafting, and DIY jewelry.

Steampunk Claytraptions, a project developed by Heidi Boyd

Program Type: Art/Crafting

Audience: Teens and Adults, approx 10-15 per session

Time Frame: One hour minimum, two better

Space Needed: Table space for materials and participants

Budget Considerations:

  • Space – does your library have a space with enough tables and chairs?
  • Clay- will you ask people to bring their own or provide clay?
  • Mechanical Pieces – these can be hinges and screws from a hardware store, gears and wire from old clocks, but your best bet would be jewelry and scrapbook pieces from JoAnn’s, Oriental Trading Company, or local craft stores. A small fee could also be charged to cover costs.
  • Instructor – Do you feel confident leading the time?

Other options for instructors include recruiting a teen leader who may need volunteer service hours and education/library students who need credit for volunteer service or better yet who may need experience planning and running hands on workshops.



This program is all about creativity! Using craft clay and mechanical odds and ends participants create their own original pieces of art. From clay birds with hinge wings to watches turned into Steampunk bracelets, a mixture of red, orange, gold, and brown clay with gears, wire, screws, and brass tacks make for truly steampunk inspired designs. By providing a variety of components users can build based on their own comfort level. Completed projects could include:

  • Original clay pieces with incorporated mechanical pieces
  • Watches/Necklaces/Bracelets modified with clay and gears
  • Picture frames with clay and wire steampunk motif edging
  • Fridge magnets refaced with clay and decorated with spiral wire.

This program is safe for teens and adults, and possibly for children with 1-to-1 adult supervision, since the choking hazard of the small parts is a serious consideration. The project requires no previous knowledge and allows users to walk away with a completed piece of art. I would suggest hosting this project before holidays like Mother’s Day/ Father’s Day/ Grandparent’s Day to allow users to create custom gifts at low to no cost.


Online Resources:

Find example pictures from the original blog posting by Heidi Boyd here –