Introduction: Willow's Firestarter Prop (Don't Starve)

About: Amanda is a squirrel brained cosplayer and maker with varied interests and the desire to try them all. She's blogs about her projects and inspirations at

Who is Willow (Don't Starve) without her firestarter? When I was working on this cosplay, I wanted to create a prop lighter that I could hold with my entire hand through the handle the way Willow does in the game. In addition, this old-fashioned design is tough to find on eBay. Since I don't need to be able to start real fires on the con floor, a non-functional prop was the best solution.

This prop uses several several techniques including 3D printing, paper cutting, painting, Photoshop, and gluing.

Step 1: Materials & Equipment

My lighter was made mostly from found objects that I had around the house and from the junk shop. Naturally make changes based on what you can get your hands on.


  • Oblong Tea Tin
  • Drawer Handle (sized to the height of your tin)
  • Short bolt and nut (to attach the drawer handle to the tin)
  • Scrapbooking Paper: maroon, pale yellow, white
  • Primer & Bronze or Gold Spray Paint
  • 3D Printed "Striker"


  • Razor blade
  • Sissors
  • 3D Printer (or access to one)
  • Glue

Step 2: Design & Print Striker

Design and print the striker shape with a 3D printer. The striker on the top of Willow's lighter has a very particular shape. Instead of trying to cobble something together, I decided to make a 3D object in in TinkerCad. It's obviously non-functional, but gets the point across and looks great next to the game model.

You can get my file on Shapeways or design your own.

Step 3: Glue, Paint & Weather Striker Lid

Glue your striker to the lid of your tea tin. Once dried, prime and paint the lid with a bronze or gold spray paint.

Weather the pieces with dry brushing. I only had black paint available for weathering, but since this is an old fashioned lighter, I thought it would do the trick. More variety in color will add to the realism. After dry brushing the groves to help the shape stand out better, think about the sootiness of a firestarter and concentrate on layering in the areas it would accumulate. Carefully wiped away the damp paint where you want highlights.

Step 4: Paint & Weather Body of Lighter

Prime and paint the body of your tea tin (and if necessary your handle). Since the bulk of the tin will be covered with the decorative wrapping, you only need to paint the bottom inch or so.

When weathering,again think about soot and where dirty hands might grip the lighter. Make the bottom quite dark since it is likely Willow would put it down frequently.

Step 5: Create Decorative Wrap

On the the decorative wrapping. Willow's lighter has a starburst like daisy on a red/maroon background. To create a consist shape, lay out the design in Photoshop or Illustrator and print to size (or freehand if you're a better artist than I am).

Once printed, cut out the black shapes to create a template.

Step 6: Cut Out and Glue Decorative Wrap

The wrap will be be created by layering the three pieces of paper together. First, cut the maroon and white paper to the same height and width, as well as to size for your tin. Use the template to layout and cut the voids out of the maroon paper. Next, trace the circle onto the light yellow paper, add a narrow border (so it'll overlap when glued) and cut out. You won't cut anything out the white layer.

Finally, layer the paper together with the white on the bottom, the yellow circle positioned to show through the correct part of the maroon paper, and the maroon paper on top. Glue and allow to dry completely.

Step 7: Weather Decorative Wrap

Using your black paint, carefully dry brush the wrap so it looks used. Use your fingers to create smudged areas.

Step 8: Attach Decorative Wrap to Lighter

Once everything is painted, it's time to assemble your lighter. The wrap is a little tricky to hold in place, so I used two thick books to prop everything up on end. Position the wrap around the tin and stand on end. Use a little glue to tack it in place.

Step 9: Attach Handle to Lighter

Fold over the ends of the wrap and mark were your want the lighter handle to puncture the side of the tin. Make two small holes through the tin and wrap. Secure the handle to the side of the lighter with small bolts and nuts (these may have come with your handle or you may need to obtain them separately).

The result is a lighter that is basically empty. I used mine as a purse while on the floor.

Step 10: Pretend to Catch Things on Fire

Pop the lid back onto your lighter and you're done! Go pretend to catch things on fire.

Paper Contest 2018

Participated in the
Paper Contest 2018