Upcycle an antique tray into a Steampunk prop gun display

This is probably the most striking of the wall displays for my modded prop guns, but it was still very simple to do.


I wanted something special to show off my Steampunk barrel-break shotgun, Dragon's Breath. We have quite an number of interesting bits and pieces coming through the shop all the time and I'd had a damaged , but still beautiful carved tray set aside, waiting for inspiration. It had fine chip carvings and a nice aged finish on dark wood. The problem was that it either got too wet or too dry at some point and had cracked right across the back. It had also lost one of it's brass handles along the way. The edging frame was still solid, so it was stable enough to hang but could never be used as a tray again.


I took off the remaining handle and added a hanging wire to the back then attached a pair of bell hammers from a salvaged clock. Each stretch of hammers were bent and reshaped so they would cradle the gun and I did have to unscrew, flip and rescrew the hammer bumpers, so that they face in and protect the painted finish on it. To make this work, I had to commit to only having one side of the gun facing out all the time so I choose the dragon carving I liked the best. The background was a bit darker than I might have chosen but I'd hand-carved the scrimshaw dragon drawings into salvaged antique piano keys and it pops against the brown background. As an additional bonus, The placement of the gun mostly covers the crack in the back panel so it's a win all around. The genuine age of the finish and the quality of the carvings on the display frame really help sell the vintage feel of the whole piece and I've many people be surprised that it's a “fake” and not an actual antique.