More Tips & Tricks

Some more tips from the Small World group!

Glues & Paints

1. To stick plastic to plastic go to a model shop and buy the glue sold for plastic kits. In the UK it is called polystyrene cement when it is tacky glue in a tube and there is a very liquid brush on one called Metpak.

These glues work by melting the plastic and effectively welding it together. They don't work on all plastics and will destroy those that are very foamy like packing materials - there is another specialist glue that works on those but I have never needed it.

You can actually melt scrap plastic in the liquid glue and use it to fill in cracks in models.

For perspex there is yet another special glue used extensively by signmakers.

2. I made a glue holder when I was making furniture. I took a one pound coffee can and put some rocks inside to weight it down, and replaced the lid. Then put your puddle of glue on the lid. When it dries, remove the lid and bend it so the glue lifts up and you can peel it off and throw it away. This kept my glue puddle from getting lost among all the other debris that would collect on my bench. I also used masking tape to strap an empty film canister to the can and filled it with wooden toothpicks to use as glue applicators.

3. I like to use the little tobacco tins that DH gives me for paint pallets and glue. If you put the lid on between coats, the paint doesn't dry so fast.

Clay

Clay Tools - The one tool I go frantic if I can't find is an old bodkin thing, like a few inches from the end of a knitting needle in a little handle. Various sewing needles are useful, especially the larger ones and tapestry ones with rounded blunt ends. I use a lot of cocktail sticks. Ceramic tiles are useful to work on and bake things on (bake on paper, especially paper towel to avoid shiny spots.) Paint brushes for smoothing and manipulating tiny pieces being added on, also keep an old one for use with liquid clear clay, perfect for using to 'glue' clay parts together.

General Tools & Tips

1. I keep a little ball of the white "tack it" on the front of my work table, it comes in handy for holding things still while I'm working. I also use a little ball to hold items that I'm photographing - handy to tilt the item a little bit or hold the quarter.

2. I use a rubberized piece of shelf lining on my work table so that when I drop something it does not break and to keep beads from rolling all over. It is great for keeping anything from sliding around while your working.

3. I keep a mirror close at hand so that I can see my item from all sides, angles and heights without constantly trying to turn it.

4. Use a 2-tiered kitchen spice turntable to hold the item you are working on. Your tools and parts and pieces go on the bottom, project on top - easier on your back - and it turns as needed to view and work on all sides. I have several and I think I found all of them at garage sales. If not there, they are at WalMart, Target, etc. pretty cheap.

5. Do not put in the trash what you will later dig out. It is gross, but I do it all the time!

Miscellaneous Tips

1. Egg cartons make great packing for little minis. You can also cut them down if you are only sending a few. But still be sure to pack extra around the carton so that it will be more protected.

2. Post-It notes are great for marking pages in magazines or books as you read them for items you want to refer to later. Put a word or sentence reference on the note and let it peek out of the magazine. Instant reference library! Saves me a lot of time finding that "article" that I knew I would want at some point.

3. Get a subscription to a dollhouse miniatures magazine. There are so many good projects and tips in every issue! You can often find back issues for sale on eBay or at miniatures shows.

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Griffins, traditionally, are Guardians. Often carved at temple doors in ancient times, they were said to guard the way to Wisdom. I, on the other hand, seem to be the Guardian primarily of odd bits of string, pinecones, scraps of paper, mismatched socks, old calendars, homeless imps and gnomes, pencils with no erasers, jokes nobody gets, forgotten gods, keys with no locks, and other people’s lighters. If any of these things might be of use to you, let me know.
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