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Watch This: Making Scratch Built Rivets

For anyone scratch building a tank, or even modifying a section of 40k scenery, rivets are a common way to add interest to an otherwise plain sheet of plastic. But making hundreds of rivets can be a pain. This is why I like the TinkerTerrain’s tutorial on making scratch built rivets.

Watch This Making Scratch Built Rivets

In his video, he shows how he made nice looking rivets with a mechanical pencil and a candle. The video is only 5 minutes long, and he does an excellent job of showing each of the steps. For those who like to read on the go or want a quick cheat sheet, see my notes on the video after the jump.

Scratch Built Rivets with TinkerTerrain

Steps to Making Rivets


  1. Grab a 0.9mm mechanical pencil and remove the eraser
    1. May need to drill out the end cap as well
  2. Insert 0.88mm rod from Evergreen or Plastruct
  3. Light a candle (note here on fire safety and breathing fumes of melting plastic!)
  4. Have a hobby knife on hand

Making the Rivet

  1. Two clicks of the pencil will push enough plastic through
  2. Hold it above the flame until the plastic softens
    1. too close and it will catch on fire!
  3. About half the length should melt back to create the rivet head
  4. Let the plastic cool for a moment
    1. Otherwise, it will deform when you cut it
  5. Another click to release more plastic
  6. Cut off the rivet with the hobby knife
  7. Repeat

Adding the Rivet to the Model

  1. Take your pin vice with a 1mm bit
  2. He didn’t mention it, but mark out your rivet lines
  3. Drill through the plastic
  4. Drop some plastic glue on a spare chunk of plastic or palette
  5. Use tweezers to grab the rivet
  6. Dip the rivet into the puddle and insert into the hole

Wrap Up

Did TinkerTerrain’s video inspire you to do some scratch building and add a few extra rivets? If so, leave your results in the comments below and let me know how it worked out! I’ll be doing some of this when I get around to building out my gaming table.

You can also give him a follow on YouTube for other videos.