Introduction: Glow-in-the-Dark Witcher Medallions

About: Cogito ergo doleo.

With Netflix finally releasing The Witcher series this month, I figured it's as good a time as any to write up this tutorial on making a nice Witcher-themed souvenir.

We're going to be making a couple of glowing medallions that are 3D-printed using a special fluorescent filament. For this project, I went with the classic School of the Wolf medallion and Vernon Roche's Temerian Lilies medallion.

I added a hoop to each of them so you could attach them to keychains and carry them around in your pocket. Or you could just as easily fasten a long metal chain and wear them around the neck like the Witchers themselves!

With all the parts in hand, you can easily get this project done in a single evening. So let's get down to it!


PS: I've entered this Instructable in the Make it Glow Contest. I'd be delighted to have your vote if you like what I built here =)


Step 1: Print Out the Medallions

I used Fusion 360 to convert images of the medallions into 3D relief models. I'm attaching the finished STL files for the two medallions that I built, so you won't need to do any CAD work in this project.

In case you are interested in converting your own images into 3D models, there are plenty of tutorials out there on the topic. Here are a couple that I found quite instructive:

Once the models were ready, I used Ultimaker Cura for slicing and my Creality CR-20 3D printer for fabricating the medallions. My print settings were as follows:

  • Quality: Super (0.12 mm)
  • Infill: 100%
  • Printing Temp: 210 °C
  • Print Bed Temp: 60 °C
  • Generate Support: Off
  • Build Plate Adhesion: None

I kept the quality setting to the finest because of the intense curvatures in the Wolf medallion. I did try printing with a coarser resolution but the results were not quite satisfying. The infill is 100% because the more material is present in the medallion, the more energy will it absorb and the longer (and brighter) will it glow.

Step 2: Paint in the Design

Add in a little paint to accentuate features in the medallion. Keep in mind that the painted areas will not be luminescent in the dark, so we want to keep these to a minimum.

I used a fine tip red pen to color in the eyes of the Wolf medallion, and a metallic gold oil paint pen to color the three Temerian Lilies on Roche's medallion. After experimenting a few times, I found that the best way to paint here is to gently dab the pen at a few points and let the ink flow.

Note how the red ink flowed naturally along the contours made by successive layers in the wolf head print. This wasn't an intentional effect but I liked how it looked so I decided against wiping off the excess ink. If you want to achieve the effect, simply hold the pen anywhere within the eye and press long enough so that the ink overflows beyond the eyelids (takes just a few seconds).

In case you get paint at a place you don't like, just use rubbing alcohol or an acetone-based nail polish remover to wipe off the error and wait about 30 seconds to let the surface completely dry up.

Step 3: Confirm the Glow Up

Before we hook them up to chains, let's quickly check how the medallions look in the dark.

Fluorescence is a temporary phenomenon that is limited by the stored energy available for photon emission. So the more light energy we allow the material to absorb, the brighter and longer will it glow once the light source is absent.

For indoor lighting conditions, you've got to give the medallions a couple of hours before they will give a nice, distinct glow at night. Alternatively, you can expose them to direct sunlight (which contains ultraviolet radiation) for about 10-15 minutes, and you'll get the glow.

Unfortunately, I'm not all that patient. So I used a small blacklight torch to bombard the medallions with UV rays. If you go with this method, a 5-second exposure is more than enough to get a bright glow on the medallions. The pictures above show the effect obtained using blacklight.

Step 4: Attach the Keychains

Use a couple of long nose pliers to open up the little ring at the end of the keychain, and slip it through the hoop on top of the medallion. Once through, use the pliers to bend the little ring back into its original shape. Make sure the medallion doesn't slip through the ring.

I decided to attach my medallions to keychains simply because I had some spare keychains lying around. Alternatively, you can hook up a metal chain like this one through the hoop and wear the medallion around your neck for your next cosplay.

Step 5: Set Up the Caskets

Time for final touches. When the medallions are not in use, you'd want to stage them the right way as household ornaments instead of just small knick-knacks lying around flat. To achieve this, we set them up in a couple of treasure boxes.

I bought a couple of vintage looking metal caskets that were lined with velvet on the inside. These caskets were cheap, durable, pretty and thematically perfect! And the medallions turned out to be a perfect fit for them. Simply place the medallions in the boxes at a 45° angle with the lid half open.

And there you have it, your glowing Witcher medallions are ready!

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