Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Thursday 22 December 2016


I quite fancied having a crack at some of those explosion markers you see around. Cotton wool. An LED light. How hard can it be?

Actually, it turns out to be really easy.

I used cotton balls because I could sort of sculpt them into the shapes I wanted but I know people have got really good results from using teddy bear innards.

Now, I'm going to be talking about my balls a lot in this post so let's just accept that it's going to be a bit Frankie Howerd and move on.

So first off, grab your balls and your LED tealight.

Then smear glue around the rim of the tealight. I used the thickest PVA I had as I didn't want my balls to get soggy. I wanted them to be firm and pliable. 

Arrange your balls around the side of the tealight and tease them upwards and outwards slightly.

Then smear the flat top surface of the tealight with glue, and arrnage your balls on this surface. 

Next, dip your balls in some glue and gently place them around the actual 'flame'. Repeat the teasing action. 

Repeat this step until you are happy with the placement of your balls.

I ended up with this sort of shape:

Painting was fairly easy; the only advice I would offer would be SPRAY YOUR BALLS LIGHTLY.

I used a basic black spray, quick thick around the base and progressively lighter as I worked up the length. The trick here is that you want the light to be able to show through at the core:

You can then place it on tanks, buildings or other objectives. 

You can even find a use for them in fantasy games.

Let's be honest - who would you put your money on: a Sherman Tank or Sir Christopher Lee?

If I don't get another post out before the Holidays, have a great Christmas and I hope Santa empties his sack for you. 


  1. They look good.
    Did you know that felting wool comes in different colours? Red, orange, black, grey and yellow are available.

    1. Ooooh, that's an interesting nugget. Thanks for that - I shall investigate.

    2. Also, felting wool sort of grips itself by pushing it into tufts with a blunt 'needle' so you can arrange the colours artistically.
      I reckon it would look very good with a tea light under.

  2. Sir Christopher Lee all the way ahahah
    The explosion looks fantastic Herbert!!! Kudos :)

  3. Christopher Lee (although, maybe if Oddball was driving the Sherman with Kelly walking in front... Nah, still Christopher Lee.)

    These markers look great! And sound pretty easy to make.

    1. The correct answer is ALWAYS Christopher Lee.

  4. Now that's a result and yes I did snigger every time you mentioned balls, I blame Frankie! I would also second felting wool, definitely worth a trip along to your textiles department in the New Year and see if they will stroke a little into shape for you. ;) Have a good Christmas.

  5. Cracking good stuff!