How to Paint Flames on Model Cars

Written by shae hazelton
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How to Paint Flames on Model Cars
Adding flames to your model car can give it a custom look. (sporty model car image by Ray Kasprzak from

A model car does not need to be bland and uninteresting when you finish painting it. Just like actual vehicles, you can paint designs onto the model to give it more detail and character. Flames are a popular choice for vehicle decals, so why can't you paint them onto your model car? You may not be able to use the airbrush most auto shops use to paint the flames on the vehicle, but with enough practice you can make the flames just as detailed as the work you would see on any full-sized vehicle.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Poster board
  • Pencil
  • Craft knife
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes

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  1. 1

    Sketch some flames onto a strip of thick poster board. The flames should have a thick base with tongues of flame licking upwards. Sketch flames small enough to fit properly on your model car.

  2. 2

    Set the poster board onto a surface you are not afraid to scratch. Cut the flames out of the poster board using a craft knife (scissors may be too clumsy to properly cut out the small details of the flame). This creates a stencil of the flames.

  3. 3

    Place the poster board stencil on top of the model car. Position it wherever you would like to paint on the flames. Hold it firmly to the model so that no space remains between the stencil and the model.

  4. 4

    Colour in the flames with paint (you can make the flames any colour you want). Dip a small paintbrush into a darker shade of the colour you used originally. For example, if you painted yellow flames, put some darker orange paint on a fine paintbrush.

  5. 5

    Streak the first layer of the flame's paint with the dark colour. Start at the bottom of the flames and move these streaks of colour up. This gives the flames a more intricate look instead of just a flat colour.

  6. 6

    Pull the stencil away from the model. Set the model off to dry without touching the paint.

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