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"Smoke markers using cotton wool?" Topic

9 Posts

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658 hits since 13 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Maxshadow14 May 2018 12:23 a.m. PST

Hi I'm pretty certain I've read about people making smoke markers to denote damage etc using cotton wool. I also think they may have said you can just use watered down paint and soak it in to colour it or you should water down PVA glue and soak that into to shape it first.
Does any of this ring any bells? Or does some one have a better technique?

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member14 May 2018 12:39 a.m. PST

This one?

TMP link

I also like John Treadway's "fishtank filter fiber" method:

TMP link

A few more search results:



Maxshadow14 May 2018 12:49 a.m. PST

Great list thanks for the help Cacique!

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 10:30 a.m. PST

At a friend's suggestion, I tried polyester batting instead of cotton wool, and found that it that paint gets to more of it more easily, so now I always use that instead.

I just touch the polyester batting to some acrylic paint and work it with my fingers. (Sometimes I remember to put on rubber gloves, but if I don't, acrylics wash off easily when still wet.)

I usually use yellow, red, and black paint, but I got some nice eerie green effects with blue and yellow for a Cthulhu-inspired game.

You can get a huge bag of polyester batting at the fabric store. In October, you can find much smaller bags being sold as spider webbing at any Halloween store. It doesn't take much batting to make a lot of smoke.

It may be that fishtank fiber filter is just polyester batting.

Yellow Admiral14 May 2018 11:43 a.m. PST

If you look around, you can also find black poly batting, which might be a better starting point for smoke.

I also managed to make dust clouds by destroying a beige felt square with a wire brush. My initial results were wispy and small, but with practice this technique might work for larger clouds of dusty colors or grays.

- Ix

Yellow Admiral14 May 2018 11:47 a.m. PST

So far my favorite flame colored paints are fluorescent yellow and orange acrylic paints. They already glow a bit in full spectrum light (like sunlight), and a strategically placed black light might help the illusion more.

- Ix

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 7:54 p.m. PST

I use pre-colored poly "cotton" balls from the beauty department of an major store, like Wal-Mart. I have pink, and yellow and several others.

I use the colors for different kinds of chemical agents, and white for regular smoke WP, and black for burning stuff.

Use Rit fabric dye and dye real cotton balls any color you want to. The liquid dye works best for me.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 8:21 p.m. PST

I took the pillow batting material (synthetic, not cotton), and I sprayed it with cheap Wal-Mart Flat Black spray paint. It penetrates the batting rather well, making gradient shades of gray, just by spraying. Let it cure for an hour, pull it apart, if you need smaller pieces.

I have not experimented with red's, orange's, or yellow's, but if needed, it would be easy to add them.

Spray application is easy, fast, and fool-proof. Everything I need in a technique. Cheers!

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2019 11:25 a.m. PST

Here is the best way. We used to have a hobby farms for sheep and mostly natural colour (non-white) for spinning and weaving. Wool roving, pulled out and teased or rolled looks like smoke and doe not have the cotton puff ball appearance.

Go to ebay or something like that and look for "wool roving". and use "blank, grewy, charcoal brown or red" in the search. Roving is wool that has been washed, carded and formed into about 1" "ropes" and is used for hobby spinning into yarn. It comes in any colour. You can use a 1" x 8" piece of this to indicted that your 2nd Pommerian battalion has already fired their volley. OR

Just pull a tuff off and shape and tease it to the shape you want. Put a small tuff of red inside of some black and you have a tank-on-fire marker.

For shell splashed for naval or fire markers you can soak the base of the wool piece in white glue and glue it to a penny (weight) marker that has been primed and painted to you terrain's colour. It is also good to take some watered down PVA and soak the rest of the tuff in that- it makes it stiffer and it holds together nice. You can literally fling this things across the table to your opponent so he can mark his brewed-up tank or shell splash properly.

some examples

Some details about what the stuff is

You only need 2-4 ounces per colour so eBay is a good spot to pick up you tiny amounts you need. Try putting "brown wool roving" or grey or black into eBay search. Example:

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