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Discussion Starter #1
Note: This is a repost of an old tutorial whose links to pictures were broken with the software update at HF.

Love the flickering effect using simple battery-operated LED tealights created by jimmyzdc. But, needed them to be on a timer and not worry about batteries. Time to hack a string of Christmas flicker lights.

Here’s a video showing the spooky flickering effect you get.

Flickering Lights sold at Christmastime.

Note: The tutorial shows you how to make the candles but doesn’t show how to make the waterproof connections. If the wires between the sockets are not long enough to reach between the candles, either make your candles short enough to reach or learn how to make waterproof connections. If I'm electrocuting anybody, it will just be myself so I'm not giving instructions in this regard. Sorry.

UPDATE: PushEject had updated this with a much safer method. Buy C7 sockets, flicker bulbs, wire and a male plug and make your own custom flicker light set. You place the lamp wire into the groove in the socket and lightly hammer in the end cap. The socket has metal pinchers that puncture the wire and makes the connections. It seems much safer and easier. Here's a link to the socket set so you can see what I'm talking about and where you can buy all the lighting supplies. https://www.actionlighting.com/c7-replacement-christmas-socket-pack-100pc-bag-100slac7skt/

Cut and Glue PVC: Cut out different lengths of PVC using a hand saw or circular saw. I also use different diameter PVC for a variety of candle sizes. Then glue your preferred arrangements using PVC glue. You may have to re-glue a couple of times to have it hold.

Foam Insides: Push down a PVC pipe into pink or blue foam to make an impression of the inside of the PVC. Cut it out using a Dremel (with the small router attachment multi-purpose cutting bit) or a serrated steak knife. Use this as a model to trace out all the other circles you need. Then, use one of the flicker sockets as a stencil and trace out into the center of each circle.

Cut Out Circles: Cut out the centers first and push out. Then cut out the circles and separate. You can use the Dremel for faster cuts.

Clean-up Circles: Clean-up the edges and blow off the dust.

Prepare Flicker Sockets and Wire: Snip off the clip on the side of the socket. Make water-proof wire extensions if you need to extend the wire length.

Insert Sockets: Push up socket into PVC and a little out the top. Then push the foam circle over it. Snuggle the whole assembly back down into the candle.

Seal: Use caulk to cover up and seal the foam.

Cover Socket Openings: Cut out circles of blue painter's tape to keep hot glue and spray paint from getting into the socket.

Create Water Drain: To keep rainwater from pooling, find the lowest part of the top that is away from the center of the candle grouping and mark. Cut a trench with the Dremel if you need to make an even lower area for water to drain off.

Hot Glue 'Wax Drippings': You will need to build up the top of the PVC with hot glue to give a glowing appearance and hide some of the bulb. Circle the top with hot glue but do not glue over the trench. Let cool and repeat until there's a nice build-up. It takes about 5 passes.

Downward Wax Drips: Starting from the outside of the top, zig-zag large swaths of glue being sure they butt up as you go down. Gravity will connect it to give it a nice covering look. As you reach the bottom, add large glops of glue and that will give you a bulbous drip at the bottom.

Second Wax Layer: Add a second layer to cover the gaps left by the first layer.

Finish and Spray Paint: Keep adding drippings until you like the look. Then, take outside and spray paint lightly with a matte ivory or white paint. Flat looks dead and I would think gloss paint would look weird. Take off the blue circles and Walla! You are done.

Tombstone Placement: To put on a tombstone, hot glue dowels driven into the foam of your tombstone. This will help hold them upright.

Hot Glue Bottom: Finish with hot glue dripped at the bottom of the candles simulating wax drippings. You should also paint the glue to blend with the candle better (I didn't here).


8,371 Posts
Discussion Starter #2

Years later I gave the candles an update. Decided that an ivory color with some aging would help sell the realism and so consider this an advanced painting class.

Just like cookbooks there are recipe books for paint colors. You could just buy the correct color you need but if you have some basic artists’ colors you could make your own. It’s up to you. For this candle picked a color that looked like the ‘Ivory’ color I was going for. It is made by mixing 3 parts white, 1 part Yellow Oxide and 1 part gray. The book is called (aptly enough) ‘Color Mixing Recipes’.

Picture 1: In the cup you see just the white and yellow mixed up. It does have a vivid color and perhaps too loud and new looking. It needs to be toned down. Gray to the rescue!

Picture 2: So, add in a glop of gray. Ahh, much better.

Thinking the ivory looks much better than the white. I did lose some of the translucency of the wax drips but was a good trade. If you want to keep that than just use an Ivory paint in the first place.

Paint washes should be in your painting arsenal along with drybrushing and tea-staining. This is different because you paint on a watery mix of paint and then immediately wipe it off. The paint that is left is in the crevices. The paint wash made here is with ‘Raw Umber’. It is dried off with paper towels. Raw Umber is an excellent aging paint color for all kinds of things.

Looking at real candles – they are neither flat, nor glossy. But there is a slight sheen to them. Consider using satin or matte topcoats. Used Createx Clear Matte here but any acrylic topcoat brand is fine. The Createx version is more satin than it is flat (or matte, like they say). The topcoat also helps protect your paint job and well as giving it a realistic sheen.

Thanks for looking at my project.
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