Welcome to the how to section.

So you bought a life counter for MTG and are excited to get painting except this is the first time you've ever done this sort of thing! What do you do?

Follow this guide for tips on how to paint and assemble your very own life counter!
1. A DIY Life Counter:

2. Model paint, washes and brush on sealer:
Any model paint will do but I recommend the following brand: Reaper Miniature Paints.
Note: You do not need a primer to start painting on the pieces.


3. Miniature Paint Brushes: 
Recommended is a fine and medium tipped brush.


4. Super glue: 
For assembly at the end of painting



  • String
  • Beads
  • Metal File
  • 400 Grit Wet Sandpaper
  • Masking Tape
  • Paper Towel
  • Paint Palette
  • Container with water

Before you start painting the top here are a few things you should prepare.

  1. Paint pallet: 
    Something to put your paints on so you don't have to leave your paints open. A piece of cardboard, plastic or wood would do.  Some prefer a piece of moist paper towel.

  2. Something to wash your brushes with:
    Water will do and it is recommended you rinse your brushes regularly between colours and to avoid paint building up on your brush.

  3. Paper towel: 
    To dry your brush off after rinsing and to remove excess paint from your brush.



  • File and then sand down the top to remove the texture 


  • Glue the tip to the connector so that you have a piece to hold while painting.
  • Place the tail (DON'T GLUE) on the opposite end of the cap to help when painting that piece.
  1. Paint base coat:

    Use a medium sized brush and paints your base colour on the pieces. Don't paint the mechanics as it can mess with how it functions when assembled.

  2. Paint details and highlights: 
    Use a fine brush and paint in the numbers and any details.

  3. Apply a wash: 
    After the paint dries, lightly apply a wash to the pieces to add texture or depth to the piece. 

  4. Apply sealer: 

    Once the paint has dried, brush on a sealer to the finished painted pieces.

  5. Wait: 

    Wait until the top is completely dry before moving onto assembly.

  1. Apply Masking tape to wheel holders (recommended):  

    Cut off thin strips of masking tape and apply them to the mechanics (around the areas that the number wheels will be touching). This helps to increase the friction so that the wheels move less when in use. 

    After applying two pieces of tape around the mechanics pop on the wheel and spin it to test how well it moves. You only want the wheel to move when you spin it, if it's not sturdy enough remove the wheel and apply another piece of tape. 

  2. Glue: Follow the graphic below on optimal gluing strategy.    
    NOTE: Do not glue the wheels unless you don't want it to be a functional piece.

  3. Apply String and Beads (optional):

You finished your life counter!
Break out your life counter during your next game, and when bored give it a good spin!
Don't forget to share it on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr with the tag #CMJDIY
NOTE: Like with any figurine its recommended you take good care when transporting the device as it may break if not handled with care.