Tools & Supplies
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South Australia, Australia
Member Since: September 12, 2007
entire network: 12 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 01:22 AM UTC
Good idea this thread is & some ideas I didn't think of either.

I decided to have a quick look around my house to see what I can come up with.

I live in Australia so the terminology of some things may be different people living in other countries.

Some may have already be mentioned but here goes - spent 20 mins looking around.
So imagine if it was an hour or 2 ?

Here we go -


Baking Soda -- For making snow etc.
Flour -- for making the ol fashion glue
Old butter kinves -- good for spreading plaster
Old strainers -- use to get a better result with fine grasses/soil
Pastry brushes -- good for texturing & spreading wet plaster
Spice Rack -- Lotsa goodies here to make plants/leaves etc.
Tea Bags/leaves -- for leaves or ground scrap

Medicine Cabinet::

Pill Bottles -- good for paints or storage of small parts
Bandages/Gause -- For tarps/netting/flags etc.
Nasal Spray -- Basicly a mini spray bottle, more precise than a normal spray bottle.

Office/Computer Room::

Computer -- Finding information, designing dioramas/ buildings printing decals,posters & other peper accessories.
Bulldog clamps -- to hold part & keeping plastic bags sealed
Old 3.5" Floppy disks -- stripped down the plastic can be used
Old 3.5" Floppy disk storage boxes -- great for parts storage, paint rack or even placing painted parts in to dry (protected )
Old Cd/dvds -- good for paint palettes or with the ones that can be printed on, these can be used to make road signs etc. using your printer.
Old Computer Parts -- If you carefully look at old motherboards (with imagination) you can use bits n peices for your models. The small wiring on some parts a perfect size for radio/electrical cables on your model.
Old Pens -- Good for piping, I read a article somewhere about making miniture bottle from old pens
Paperclips -- Wire is useful
Rubberbands -- Holding part together etc.
Staples -- Various uses from the nomral use to rail handles etc.
White Out -- Filling gaps, even gives a good texture on road signs.


Ceiling Paint -- I normally use this as a base coat on plaster bases & plater parts.
Electrical Cords -- Srtipped down the copper wire can be used for various things. The small plastic coating on wires can be used as hoses, feul lines.
Fish Tank -- Diorama cover, or maybe a diorama with a real waterfall ??
Solder -- Excellent using it for power/phone lines, can be heated/flattened to make other parts like hooks,grab handles.
Wire -- Various grades/types useful for tow cables etc,
Wood -- Always need wood

Back Yard::

Clay -- Raw clay gives a great finish for arid dioramas
Dirt -- For the cheapo person who don't buy it from a shop
Leaves -- Some plant leaves when dried, then crushed are good for ground foilage litter.
Rock,Pebbles -- Good for building up rubble, or just natural rocks.
Plant roots -- Some plant roots when dried make excellent trees or bushes.
Tree Bark -- Good for adding to rubble for that damaged wood look, also various types of bark can be flattened which can be good for woodwork feature on buildings.

I think just about anything found in gardens can be used - IF
- It meets the exact enviromental nature of the diorama.
- Able to be dried & possibly painted.
- Able to be preserved & not rot.

In The Bin::

Aluminium Cans -- Useful for many things, sheet metal, corrogated iron etc. or even the adveturous who want to try to make accessories similar to photo-etch parts.
Food Package Trays -- Useful for paint palettes, or building material
Plastic Bottles -- Lids for paint palettes, plastic cut down to make windows.
Plastic containers -- For storage of parts, plaster, powders etc. etc. etc.

The Wife's makeup kit::
***CAUTION**** this can be very dangerous

Cream Containers -- Nice stroage or paint containers
Emery Boards -- Disposable file, basiclly 2 gades of sandpaper stuck to a paddle pop stick.
Makeup applicator -- Not sure it's proper name (the small stick with sponge at both ends woman use to put eye makup on), these are good for appying dust/chalk to models & soaking up excexx water/thinner/paint from small areas.
Nail file -- Small metal file (cheaper than a model or hardware store)
Nail Clippers -- Good for clipping small wires, excess plastic etc.


There alot of other everyday items I didn't worry about like:
Clothes Pegs
Foam packaging
Household Tools
Textas(felt pens)
& so on

Alrighty, I went a bit overboard but who knows it may give you some new ideas.

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Iowa, United States
Member Since: July 09, 2006
entire network: 10 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 11:29 AM UTC
i work at a highschool . the end of the year is the best. the art teacher cleans out all left over paint, glues,clay, sand,card stock ,ect man its great and free. not to mention the science room has kool stuff to,and wood shop its endless. ok ok i now im just in the right place at the right time. well the main thing keep looking for new stuff and have fun doing it
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Michigan, United States
Member Since: September 10, 2007
entire network: 34 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 12:29 PM UTC
Also, not free, but if you smoke cigars pick up a romeo y juliet with a wood band around it, dont recal the actual cigar but you get a very thin sheet of red cedar i believe to detail with. Works good.

Foam packing peanuts can be cut and then painted, with water based paint so it wont melt, for use as bumps and rocks.

The parts of stickers that is left on the sheet around the actual stickers, like around stamps for instance, can be cut into a decal then stuck on your model.

Just some things off the top of my head.

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Iowa, United States
Member Since: July 09, 2006
entire network: 10 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 01:08 PM UTC
i get most of my thin wood from my local grocery store orange crataes have wooden sides that work for dios just ask store manager to save a few , they most often will
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Member Since: June 07, 2002
entire network: 8,797 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 01:09 PM UTC
Take a cardboard box. The one where you have this innerstructure that looks like corrugated metal sheet. Make both the top and bottom wet end pull it off. Instant corrugated metal. Just need to paint it.
Take from the same box a square. Wrap it up in aluminum foil. Stixk it together on the back with sticky tape. Nice Pallette for both paint and CA glue. Yeah can make the pallette as big as you like.
Go to a local off set printer and ask if you can have some old off set plates. These things are from very thin Aluminum. brilliant to use from Home made PE to Paint and CA pallette. You don't have to pay for them they toss them away anyway.
Kitchen foil... the transparant stuff which is also very static (the stuff you always just fail completely to get it around the leftovers) Great for making tarps and such.
Aluminum oventrays. You find them at any supermarket... they are really cheap and they provide you with a lifetime supply of gunslings, home made PE or other superdetail bits.
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Iowa, United States
Member Since: July 09, 2006
entire network: 10 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 01:27 PM UTC
the plastic tray cookies come in makes pretty good corrugated tin depending on the scale you are working with
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Michigan, United States
Member Since: September 10, 2007
entire network: 34 Posts
KitMaker Network: 0 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 10:37 AM UTC
Next time you visit the doctors ask nicely for some powder free latex gloves, they keep your hands clean and finger print smudges off your model.

If you play guitar, when you snap a string dont throw it away, put it in your tool box for use as cable, handles, antenas, etc.
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Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Member Since: January 27, 2007
entire network: 119 Posts
KitMaker Network: 9 Posts
Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2008 - 08:39 AM UTC
back in my tankbuilding days, I had the family (with cats) look for shedded whiskers.
The cats loose a whisker sometimes, often found on their favourite napping spot.

These are THE ultimate antenna's in 1/35. can be painted with humbrol too.
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British Columbia, Canada
Member Since: February 25, 2007
entire network: 272 Posts
KitMaker Network: 0 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - 11:56 AM UTC
Now that takes some imagination!

Anybody notice that this topic never dies... it just goes to sleep!
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Bayern, Germany
Member Since: February 26, 2008
entire network: 7 Posts
KitMaker Network: 0 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 10:27 AM UTC
I think I'd wake this one up

I use:
Beer bottle caps - ideal for mixing small amounts of paint, or a small amount of washing
Caffee Stirring sticks - to use them as wooden boards, for example to build the floors in the ruined buildings.
Pipets, different fly-protection nets - my mom works in the biology with some insects, and they use pipets only once. After cleaning them with soap, they are ideal for mixing the paints, etc. Fly protection nets do a good mesh in different grades
Household glue - rubbery glue ideal for attaching PE, resin, etc.. Dries quite fast, but you have more time then with CA. After its dry, you just run some CA on the seam.
Old dish cleaner bottle - ideal applicator for the electrostatic grass
Nose spray bottles - CA accelerator spray
Paper napkins - canvas

A good color printer can provide you with posters, wallpapers, crates...

small metal needles which are holding a new shirt - fine tip. Heated on a candle they can melt bullet marks on your armor.

Another thing you can get from a shirt - a large piece of glossy transparent plastic holding the collar... Chopped in small pieces it makes perfect glass splitters in 1/35..

Also from clothes - often you get some replacement/repair material with your jacket/trousers/shirt... Usually it is not used anyways, so it can make a good carpet in your diorama... Or a polishing thingie. Or (from a summer shirt) a good canvas... Alternatively you can "reuse" the worn down clothes which you would dump anyways.

In an electronic trash yard you can get some cables, LEDs, and similar. Old PC CD and DVD drives have some nice tiny electrical motors inside..

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Michigan, United States
Member Since: April 17, 2006
entire network: 104 Posts
KitMaker Network: 17 Posts
Posted: Monday, March 24, 2008 - 04:20 PM UTC
I use a product made by DecoArt called 'thickening medium' to fill seams. it looks like wood glue and It has good holding properties also for things like PE. You apply it then use a Q-tip dipped in H2O or alcohol to smooth it out. It can also be sanded smooth when dry. Good stuff, and at $1.00 or so for a 2 oz bottle you can't go wrong.

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Michigan, United States
Member Since: April 17, 2006
entire network: 104 Posts
KitMaker Network: 17 Posts
Posted: Monday, March 24, 2008 - 11:44 PM UTC
I forgot this is supposed to be for free stuff but for a buck, I figured what the heck. Also I think it will make a good paste for zimmerit. I've done a few tests and it seems to look pretty good. And will clean up with water or Iso after it's dry
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Pennsylvania, United States
Member Since: January 08, 2005
entire network: 456 Posts
KitMaker Network: 231 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 01:42 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I have a friend who is a dentist and just happened to ask him if he had any old tools he was going to throw out. What I got was about 50 Midevil looking dental picks, prods, scrapey things, cavity fillers, blood letting devices and spatula type tools. Both right and left handed! They were too dull for dental work but they work great on plastic!

Next time you find yourself in the chair ask your dentist if he has any tools he wants to get rid of. But do it before you end up with a mouth full of novicane and drool your request all over him.

Another item from your dentist is the fine set of reaming picks they use for root canal jobs. Very fine for reaming micro holes just a weee bit bigger for that custom fit!
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England - North East, United Kingdom
Member Since: March 22, 2008
entire network: 1,042 Posts
KitMaker Network: 33 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 11:48 PM UTC
in the uk.....

boots the chemist... lots of lovely stuff but most usefull for me

eyedropper bottle with the squeezy bulb thing on top... 59p each!

i use em for an instant supply of clean paint thinners

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United States
Member Since: June 20, 2008
entire network: 2 Posts
KitMaker Network: 0 Posts
Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008 - 06:32 AM UTC
i always wash and use the meat trays you get from the grocery store. we all eat meat and they last a really long time for mixing paints.
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Ontario, Canada
Member Since: May 21, 2008
entire network: 537 Posts
KitMaker Network: 74 Posts
Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 10:20 AM UTC
Cheesecloth makes a good camo net, and you can add small strips of masking tape to it as Hessian tape. Chalk pastels, ground up, are used for dust, and they're 0.79 cents at the art store.
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Kansas, United States
Member Since: February 02, 2006
entire network: 273 Posts
KitMaker Network: 107 Posts
Posted: Monday, October 27, 2008 - 03:04 AM UTC
I save the large blocks of styrofoam that's used for packing and use it for tool holders. You can usually just press whatever your using into it without having to spend time cutting out proer holes and such. It works great and if it gets too raggedy just replace it. Cheap and easy. It's also good for holding parts in the spray booth.
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Member Since: March 05, 2004
entire network: 4,011 Posts
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Posted: Monday, October 27, 2008 - 01:35 PM UTC
great tip, I use the same stuff too

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Oregon, United States
Member Since: April 05, 2008
entire network: 122 Posts
KitMaker Network: 23 Posts
Posted: Monday, December 22, 2008 - 12:39 PM UTC
while this is not "free" the result is....i buy the pre sliced deli meat that comes in the reusable plastic containers such as the "glad" brand. after i eat the meat, i wash the tub out and i got me an air tight container for tool storage, parts storage, dust free paint drying container, you name it. ive got about 15 to 20 of these now....and working on my next one.
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England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Member Since: December 27, 2008
entire network: 13 Posts
KitMaker Network: 4 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - 07:40 AM UTC
I work in a supermarket, When we do a promotion changeover we take down the old advertising boards and put up the new ones the old ones are made of a very strong plastc / card wich I find usefull for scratchbuilding....... Pop in to your local shop and ask if they have any wich they dont mind giving you
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British Columbia, Canada
Member Since: November 02, 2008
entire network: 1,138 Posts
KitMaker Network: 166 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - 11:40 AM UTC
That's a great idea. There are probably too many things to list however! I myself like those wooden stir sticks found at coffee places - they make great signs or building pieces.
I work in the film industry and as such an incredible amount of junk gets accumulated at the various workshops and soundstages. Scrap colour "gels" make great windows or periscopes. There is a sort of compressed, carvable foam made to build set pieces which comes in various sizes and can be made into pretty much anything. It's great for big buildings 'cos it's so light and easy to carve. There's also a very heavy black foil called "black wrap". It's great for tarps, rolls, canvases, etc. It can also be used in place of PE or plastic for straps, fender supports, etc.
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Illinois, United States
Member Since: February 10, 2004
entire network: 2,058 Posts
KitMaker Network: 787 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - 12:34 PM UTC

I opened a one pound can of Folgers coffee and I had to peel back a seal of heavy foil.
Heavy foil folks. VERY much like lead foil.

And there's the coffee...mmmmmmm.

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Wisconsin, United States
Member Since: December 29, 2008
entire network: 159 Posts
KitMaker Network: 20 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - 04:19 PM UTC
I work at a bar and there are several things I take home. Plastic shot glasses and sauce cups, wooden stir sticks, cardboard and glass galore, styrofoam, the foil pop tops to juice cans have a great texture on them much like mechanics platform.
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Scotland, United Kingdom
Member Since: February 07, 2008
entire network: 1,699 Posts
KitMaker Network: 114 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - 09:16 PM UTC
Clearing up after christmas?

Hope you kept the wrappers to your chocolate coins at christmas, Nice heavy gauge foil.
The clear plastic windows of the kids toy boxes are magic for smash molding canopies.
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Alberta, Canada
Member Since: January 19, 2008
entire network: 6,743 Posts
KitMaker Network: 456 Posts
Posted: Thursday, January 08, 2009 - 06:24 AM UTC
I save the wood chop sticks that come with take out Chinese food . They spilt very easy and sand fast , prefect for making wooden struts on WW1 aircraft .