It used to be cool to be too cool for school, but times have changed. No longer is it necessary to lie to coworkers about how many times you’ve seen A New Hope, hide your comics behind old issues of Playboy, or change into your Severus Snape costume in the movie theater bathroom. Being into stuff is finally cool, and talented craftspeople everywhere are cashing in.
Here are 10 of what I think are the very best geekery-driven shops on Etsy, serving everything from screen-authentic props to adorable jewelry for guys and girls. And remember, every dollar you spend in a nerdy Etsy shop is a dollar that goes to a like-minded fan, who’ll use it to make new advances in the art of cool stuff for you to buy. It’s a positive cycle!*
- IDentity Props, California, USA
Umbrella Corp, S.H.I.E.L.D., M-I-6, Black Mesa, Torchwood… the list goes on. And on. And on and on. At the moment, IDentity Props has 17 glorious pages of double-take-inducing fake ID cards, customized with your photo, info and optional holograms. Just don’t use them to sneak into bars, underage scalliwags. They’re too cool to have confiscated.
- Laggy Creations by Maggie Ramey, California, USA
It’s impossible to choose a favorite print from Maggie Ramey’s shop. Adorable Portal illustrations (like the one at the top of this post), Nuka-Cola ads in every flavor—even a spot-on Misfits design with the tongue-in-cheek caption, “SAVE ME, BARRY!” Her style is cheerful, retro and winky, and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to come up with next. Considering how affordable each 11×17 print is, I might need to start looking into a bigger apartment.
- PicaPicaPress, Colorado, USA
This cute handmade jewelry hearkens back to all your favorite nerd things: the Triforce, Pacman, Star Trek communicators, Tetris pieces, Tom Servo, the number 42, and lots more. Each piece is lovingly hand cut and polished and made from quality materials. The prices make these the perfect just-because gift.
In addition to a set of pretty adorable superhero silhouette decals for the back of your minivan (you know, instead of just ordinary human outlines of the members of your family), Dean Trippe offers some excellent illustrations, including a couple of covers for a fictional comic called “Spacetime’s Finest.” If the phrase “team up to save the world” does anything for you, you’ll dig this series.
- Synaptees by Aaron Fimister, Scotland, UK
If this Etsy shop had a real life brick-and-mortar location, I’d have to start taking my meals there. I wouldn’t want to leave. Designer Aaron Fimmister pairs masterful typography with clever slogans like “I just Nevilled up,” as well as authentic-style recreations like the Fringe Division logo and Lister’s London Jets Zero-G football shirt. There’s even a Firefly/Star Wars crossover tee. Oh, and did I mention you get to choose your colors? Order one of everything, throw your old t-shirts away, and keep one of those mail-forwarding forms handy, just in case Fimister does decide to open a store one day.
- Cool Like That by Darling Niki, California, USA
Harry Potter fans, I hope you haven’t been carrying your Kindle/laptop/iPad around without a Cool Like That cover. How is anybody going to know which house you’ve been sorted into? Eco-friendly felt and gadget-safe Velcro closures make these handcrafted techno-cases some of the most darling available. Don’t overlook the Etch-a-Sketch design, either. Of course, as soon as more colors become available for the Tuxedo case, I’ll be dressing my next computer up in it. My eleventh computer.
- Suzy and Leo, Belper, UK
There’s no longer any excuse for meaningless jewelry. With Suzy and Leo, you can get a handmade bracelet or keychain that says any of a number of adorably geeky things, like, “SPOILERS,” “Mischief managed,” “So long and thanks for all the fish,” or my personal favorite, “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.” Check out their extensive collection (chiefly comprised of Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland and Doctor Who stuff), and remember, this shop is also happy to do custom orders. Choose your favorite obscure quote! It doesn’t matter what it is. Avatar fan? You’d probably love a bracelet that says, “My cabbages!” Love Robocop? Perhaps you’d enjoy a “Bitches leave” bracelet most of all.
- Bruce Loves You by Olivia D, Perth, Australia
Bruce also loves Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and Captain America, among other things. These charming prints and buttons are designed by an artist in Australia with a definite taste for bold shapes, bright colors and red bow ties. Basically, run. To her shop. To buy things.
- Crafting Tiger, Utah, USA
Tis the season for greeting cards! Tis always the season for greeting cards, in case you haven’t noticed. If you’re sending someone a purchased paper sentiment, it’s always best for it to be hilarious, unusual, or handmade. Crafting Tiger manages all three, with cards ranging from delightful Doctor Who quotes (“Hello, Sweetie,” and “I love your stupid face“) to slightly deranged Star Trek greetings (“Live Long and Prosper, Bitches“).
- Rhythmic Metal by Trent Stocking, Oregon, USA
Hot Topic has worked tirelessly over the years to ensure that every poseur on the street has a skully—or worse, a wristband—emblazoned with a Mario mushroom or Link’s sword, making it extremely difficult for throwback video game accessories to seem desirable. But Rhythmic Metal is pushing back. Handmade from vinyl and steel, these super-swish powder-coated belt buckles are unique, sexy and undeniably tasteful. They pay homage to a range of respectable fandoms, including Star Trek, Star Wars, BSG, GI Joe, Metroid, and much, much more. Oh, and dinosaurs. In case you’re into dinosaurs.
*One positive cycle deserves another.
(This article is cross-posted from Word of the Nerd.)