Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Modeling and Painting: Candles

Here's an easy way to make candles that you can use to decorate your scenic elements. This is perfect for adding detail to tables, shrines, and dungeons.


Modeling the Candles

The construction of the candles is fairly simple– The candlesticks are made with 2.4mm diameter styrene tube, and the wicks are 22 gauge floral wire.



Cut the tube into short lengths for each candle. The length of the tube should be longer than you want the candle because it will shrink a little when you hit it with the heat gun. These are about 1/2 inch in length.


Super glue the tube over top of the floral wire, leaving about 1/4 inch protruding from the end.


Next, use a heat gun to soften the styrene tube. Wear a glove, because the wire might get hot, and do this in a well-ventilated area. (I've also got my cutting mat in the background, but don't do this over a plastic cutting mat, as the heat can cause it to warp.)

Heat the plastic until the ends start to swell, and then quickly move onto the next step before the plastic cools.


Use needle-nose pliers to press the base upward, and use clippers to pinch and crimp the top to create sag and drips. Play around with the different shapes you can create and don't be afraid to make mistakes. If you're unhappy with the candle shape, you can reheat the plastic and try again, or scrap it and cut a new piece of tubing.


When you are satisfied with the shape, use a knife to slice the bottom flat. Clip the wire, leaving about 1/4 inch at the bottom. This wire will be used to secure the candle for painting, and can be used to pin it in place on your scenery. If the plastic came loose from the wire, add a little super glue on the bottom to keep it from sliding around.


Use clippers to bend the wire sticking out the top and clip it to about 1/8 inch long.


Then, use a pair of smooth-nose pliers to crimp the wire, flattening it out to create the "flame." If the flame is too long, you can trim it with clippers. You should also smooth the sharp metal edges of the flame with a file.



Painting the Candles

Drill some holes in a popsicle stick and attach the candles, using a drop of superglue on the underside to secure them in place.



Prime the candles with white spray primer.


Basecoat the flames and the tops with Formula P3 Heartfire, and then drybrush or highlight with P3 Cygnus Yellow.


Paint the sides of the candle with Formula P3 Menoth White Base, leaving the yellow visible on the top of the "wax."


Wash the bottoms of the candle with GW Agrax Earthshade, and when the wash is dry, highlight the tops, edges, and raised areas with P3 Menoth White Highlight.


And that's it! Pop the painted candles off of the stick and attach them to your scenery!


'Til next time!


  1. Excellent tutorial! If I did not have a heat gun, would boiling water suffice to soften the plastic?

    1. I don't know if boiling water would get it soft enough. The heat gun causes it to melt a little. If you do a lot of terrain work, GET yourself a heat gun. They're like $35 and you can use them for bending plastic tube and rod, bending plastic sheeting to make banners, they get rid of bubbles in Envirotex Lite water effects, and burn craters and depressions into insulation foam. Invaluable.

    2. Lasgunpacker, you can use fire for it - gas-stove or just candle. Just don't put it directly to fire, use only heat from it.
      Something like that: https://youtu.be/LEASXTDAU8w?t=42

  2. Excellent! Sharing over Pinoy Wargamer! More power, sir!

  3. That's a most excellent tutorial.
    A great result for what looks like an easy to learn technique.

  4. Thank you.

    They look great.


  5. Excellent and usefull tutorial!
    Thank you sir!!

  6. Creative and amazing job...Congrats!

  7. Excellent tutorial. Thank you.


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