Smoke & Flame!

Doing some shopping last week, I found a batch of LED tea candles for sale, 6 for $5.95. I’ve been meaning to pick some up to play with them for ages, as I’ve seen some neat stuff done with flickering LEDs on the tabletop!

The first thing I whipped up was a pair of large fire & smoke markers, big ones suitable for a building fire or big bonfire! The LED tea lights are about 1.5″ across, 5/8ths of an inch high at the base, and 1.5″ to the top of the “flame”, which on these ones is just a white bit roughly flame-shaped.

The bases contain the LED, battery and switch and unscrew easily from the upper part of the base, and the flame pops easily out of the upper part. I eventually want to get my soldering iron out and do various sorts of more advanced work with the flickering LEDs, but for now I just used the stock base and setup.

Using hot glue, I glued a doubled-over length of soft iron hobby wire around the rim of the base and up past the flame to support the smoke plume. The smoke plume is just cotton batting I salvaged from a pillow I was throwing away – waste not, etc!

Fire & smoke markers in progress, and complete LED tea light to the left. Click for larger, as usual.

I speared the cotton batting on the wire, then used more small beads of hot glue around the LED base to fasten the batting down. I added more hot glue on the wire, then pushed the batting up against the wire to secure it. As I pushed the batting against the wire, I gave the whole piece of batting a twist with my hand, to make the smoke plume more interesting.

Spraypainted smoke plumes with LED bases. Click for larger, as usual.

The plumes got grey then black spraypaint, and might get a second coat of spraypaint – I’ll see what they look like after they dry. The LED lights still work (the switches are on the underside) and if I ever need to replace the battery, it’ll be easy to tug the batting aside and then fix things after with a bit of hot glue.

The whole project only took a couple of minutes, and should look good on the tabletop in the ruins of a building or as a bonfire. Here’s a short (11 second long) out-of-focus phone camera vid of the two smoke plumes and one original, unmodified tea light all flickering away.

3 thoughts on “Smoke & Flame!”

    1. Build some, then you’ll have an excellent excuse to light something on fire during one of your games! — Brian

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