At this time of year (written in the December of 2022), I enjoy adding Winter touches and scenes to my models, layouts and dioramas. Making your own Snow and frozen water I’ve covered before and I’m happy with the results but the buildings still lacked something…
But looking at a few photos of buildings in cold climates, I noticed the gutters and roofs all featured something missing on my models…
We rarely get anywhere near cold enough in Surrey, UK, where I live these days for these and even if we did there aren’t any leaking gutters on my house that could spawn them so I’ve not seen icicles on buildings for years and it’s not a surprise I’d forgotten about them.
But looking at photos from buildings in colder climates and you’re sure to see them.
And I’d even seen them on other layouts, such as the one above.
Now, if I was feeling lazy I could buy some of the premade icicles by Bush (and available here) but I prefer to make my own if possible so I set about experimenting.
My first idea was to make them with resin. This has the advantage that once the moulds were made I could mass produce them and while it was easy to make the rough shape in polymer clay I couldn’t get them to look quite right.
Instead, I settled on hot glue.
This looks the part and each icicle had a unique look to it, another problem with the mass produced mould approach was that after a while it was obvious they were repeating patterns and didn’t have the organically formed look of real icicles I wanted.
Hot glue isn’t the easiest to work with however and it took a few attempts to nail the technique. The strands it leaves behind are annoying and there’s little control over the shape it forms.
Sure enough, loading a hot glue gun up and squirting a bit out and pulling the gun away to create the tapered point didn’t work, producing icicles that were too large or too long for the scale I wanted.
Instead, I settled on drawing a line of hot glue, gently squeezing the trigger every inch or so to create the head of the icicles and pulling it along so it tapered out before squeezing the trigger again.
This created a line of blobs and tampered ends, from which I then cut individual icicles as seen below.
A further dab of molten glue was used to attach them to the gutters of the buildings.
The final result is very pleasing and to my eye effective although I’d love to hear any other suggestions for making them.Affiliate notice: If you plan to buy the products on this page or similiar, please use the links here. These will take you to carefully selected businesses, including Hornby, Rapid Online, Amazon, eBay, Scale Model Scenery and Element Games, through which you can buy products mentioned. These links are made under their affiliate schemes which means that although the price to you does not change I receive a small commission on the orders you place which helps me maintain this site and allows me to create more articles like this. Please see my disclaimer for more information. Thank you for your support, Andy.