‘Faux Etch’ A Lightsaber Using This Easy Sticker Hack | Tutorial

Reddit user SuperGrandor recently shared a customization hack for ‘faux etching’ a lightsaber hilt in the r/lightsabers subreddit. Just use 5D nail stickers! A 5D nail sticker is a self-adhesive sticker with a raised/textured pattern. Learn how to faux etch your own lightsaber by following SuperGrandor’s simple step-by-step tutorial below. Tutorial and images by SuperGrandor (used with permission).

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What You Need


• empty lightsaber hilt or hilt shroud of your choice
5D nail art stickers (or stickers with some thickness)
painters tape (if necessary)
Rust-Oleum Flat Black Primer
Citadel Colour Grey Knights Steel (or other silver paint)
Citadel Layer Liberator Gold (or other gold paint)
Citadel Washes Badab Black
Liquitex Basics Acrylic Matte Varnish


Dremel with bristle brush
small paint brushes
• lint free cloth

STEP 1: Find Stickers, Find a Hilt or Hilt Shroud

First find a 5D nail art sticker or stickers that have some thickness. You can put multiple nail sticker close to each other to form a larger pattern. Find a hilt or hilt shroud where you will apply the stickers. In this tutorial I’m customizing the shrouds on a Saberforge Cleric lightsaber hilt.

STEP 2: Clean and Prepare the Section, Apply the Stickers

Use a solvent like acetone and a lint free cloth to clean the area where you will apply the sticker. Mask any areas you don’t want painted with painters tape, if necessary. Apply the 5D nail stickers to the hilt.

STEP 3: Prime the Area

Spray a thin layer of Rust-Oleum Flat Black Primer on the saber and sticker. Shake well before use and spray at a distance of 30 cm (about 12 in) in a open, well ventilated area. Try not to hold still while spraying as it will create a thick layer of primer and cover the detail of the sticker. Once you’re done, wait about an hour for the primer to be completely dry.

STEP 4: Weather the Area

For the weathering, use a Dremel with bristle brush bit to take off some primer on the edge but be careful not to let the brush touch the sticker. You can cover the sticker with a piece of paper and bristle brush the area near the sticker.

STEP 5: Dry Brush the Raised Surface

I use dry brush technique with silver paint (Citadel Grey Knights Steel) and apply the paint on the raised surface of the sticker. Then dry brush gold paint (Citadel Liberator Gold) over some of the silver part. Finally, I use Citadel Washes Badab Black on the entire sticker.

STEP 6: Finish with a Matte Varnish

Once all the painting is done I give a thin coat of Liquitex Basics Acrylic Matte Varnish to protect the paint.

For more tutorials, visit the List of Lightsabers Tutorials (DIY).

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