How to Taper Off Flames in Paint

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to Taper Off Flames in Paint
Painted flames taper off into long extended points and often feature more than one colour of paint. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Flames are a common subject for paintings of all kinds. Traditional canvas paintings often feature fires, candles and other types of flames. Nontraditional paint treatments often include stylised flames on items as diverse as motorcycle helmets, cars, boats, signs, walls, murals and other surfaces. Flames are used to indicate when something is hot, popular or fast. Painting flames is often done using templates.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • 218 fine line tape
  • Transfer Rite paper
  • Artist knife

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  1. 1

    Draw flames on the surface you want to paint using a pencil. Each flame tip should taper into a long thin point.

  2. 2

    Use a #218 fine line tape to outline the flames. Tape "U" shapes that have smooth curves and long flame tail ends. Thin tape allows you to bend the tape and pull it into the shape you desire. Rub the tape down securely on the surface once it is in place.

  3. 3

    Place a sheet of Transfer Rite paper over the taped flames and the entire surface. Rub out wrinkles over the flame design. Transfer Rite paper is a masking type paper that is available with varying degrees of tack on the back side. The paper is designed to cover a painted surface so that additional paint can be applied without damaging the freshly painted surface.

  4. 4

    Cut through the Transfer Rite paper along the centre of the tape lines using a sharp artist knife. Peel off the paper on the areas of the flames you want to paint.

  5. 5

    Apply a primer spray paint suitable for the surface you are painting. Allow 30 minutes for the primer to dry. Spray the flames with several colours of spray paint. Typically you will see flames with blue tips so you can paint a blue near tips and edges. Flame run from red near the outside edges to yellow near the centre of the flames. Allow each colour and coat to dry for 30 minutes before applying the next coat. Allow the last coat to dry four to six hours.

  6. 6

    Peel off the Transfer Rite paper. Use the tip of the artist knife to remove the tape outlines. Clean around your flames to remove any over-spray and your original pencil marks.

Tips and warnings

  • Add details to your flames using paint pens. These pens allow you to add fine paint lines over your dry paint. You can cut out cardboard flame templates to help shape your spray painting. Hold the template between the spray can and the surface and practice creating flames on top of flames.

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