Welcome to the Tinker-Shop, the little corner of this blog dedicated to crafting projects and displays. Some of the posts here will be about the process we follow to make a piece of terrain. Some of the other posts will be just to show off some other work that is a one shot item or something that there is a lot of already in the crafting sphere. Not all of the techniques are original to us, and where it is necessary the proper links will be shared and credit is given where due.
This post is about the tools that we use most often. If something is used for a specific job it will be added in that post.
The first thing you’ll need is a marking device. These are pretty self-explanatory, as they are used to mark where you might want to cut, glue or engrave something. I recommend a pencil, marker, and pen. All of these can and will be used to mark measurements and designs or whatever. However, a pen can be used on foam to engrave a symbol or pattern for stonework. This is also why I suggest a pencil, this is easier on dollar store foam board and does not leave a groove where you might not mean to.
Next thing that is important is a measuring/straight edge device. These are handy because they keep things exact. Not just knowing what size things are, but also keeping lines and cuts straight where they need to be. It is highly recommended to have a metal ruler so that your knife doesn’t cut through it, adding grooves and making your lines wonky.
The third tool type you will need is cutting devices. You don’t need a whole lot here to be productive. I mostly use expandable knives with break off blades (I make good use of both the 9mm and 18mm sizes) and scissors. A hobby (Exacto) knife is useful but not necessary.
Possibly, the most important item you will need is some sort of material to work with. Cardboard is a very useful thing to have and you can get by with just this and the materials above along with paint and brushes for almost anything you want to make. Nearly everyone in the hobby uses double corrugated cardboard in their projects, though normal works just fine and defiantly has its own place for use.
Another popular material is foam. The two most common used in what we are going to do are expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene(XPS). EPS is probably the most common thought of item when the foam is mentioned. It usually comes white in color and is comprised of many little balls (this is how I remember it is expanded) and is generally more pliable. XPS is more rigid than the EPS and often comes in either blue or pink for a color.
There is a kind of the third option that a lot of crafters use and that is dollar store foam board. This material is popular because it is a mix between the two foams mentioned above, but very thin. It comes in many colors and has a paper on each side making a kind of sandwich. This particular brand is used because the paper peels away easily, exposing the foam to be used in whatever manner desired. Other brands can be used but the paper is much more difficult to peel off. Also, it is much less costly.
Another important tool we will be using is something to adhere two pieces together. A hot glue gun is an affordable and quite a handy option. In fact, this is probably where I would start. I recommend a dual heat gun with a metal tip because it gives the most option while only having one item. The thickness of the stick is nearly irrelevant. You can often get more work in a single wide stick, but you can buy a lot more of the thin ones for a similar price. In the end, it doesn’t hurt to have one of each, but it is not necessary.
There are many types of glues that I have seen people use in their videos. There is PVA/Elmer’s white glue, tacky glue, e6000, and so on…I personally use wood glue for my stuff (I have a gallon of it that I hardly even used from when I was able to do some woodworking). A lot of this is a personal choice, but certain glues have somewhat specific uses and react in undesired or interesting ways with some materials.
Paint and its accessories are additionally good things to have. A person can get by with very basic colors and accomplish many things, just ask The DMG Info. Although if you are like me and want as much consistency as possible there are very cheap options on the market to build a good supply.
This is probably a good place to end this post. There are a good number of other things that we use, but they are not required to make most things.