Hello travelers! I receive many questions regarding my preferred tools for village, fairy, and miniature makings. I’ve assembled this list for you to make it easy! I am not sponsored by these brands at all, I have tried many different products over the years and these are my favorites.
Glues and Adhesives
Super glue: Quick strong grab. Cracks easily under twisting pressure. I use this glue for things that need to be stiff and wont move such as furniture, eyes, etc. I switch between the gel kind for some functions, the thin kind for others.
Turbo Tacky Glue: Perfect for paper, fabric, felt, and other lightweight porous materials. Takes a little bit to stick, stiff when dry. I use this glue for lots of paper projects, fairy clothing, etc. It’s a good PVA that tacks quicker than regular tacky glue, hence the “turbo” I suppose. It’s also thicker than normal tacky glue, for what that’s worth.
Hot glue: Flexible once dry, quick grab, basically melted plastic, works best with porous surfaces. Not very strong, can be thick depending on application. I use this glue to build set pieces from foam or cardboard, gluing moss, building hair wefts, etc. Watch out for the strings!
Wood Glue: Strong, good for paper or wood. Some shrinkage when it dries which means it may warp on paper depending on it’s usage. I use this glue for paper mache, paper and mat board projects because it provides additional strength since it’s rock hard when it dries.
5 Minute 2 part Epoxy: SUPER strong, cures quickly. Very stinky, use in well ventilated area. I use this glue for anything that needs super strength or will be moving or flexing as part of it’s function. So wire armatures get this glue.
Primers and Sealant
Mod Podge: Great for priming or sealing foam for set pieces, making DIY texture paste, mixing with acrylic paints, minimal shrinkage. Can be pricey when used in large quantities but small bottles can be purchased at dollar tree! I prefer the matte over the gloss.
Tamiya Surface Primer: Primes without filling, dries quickly, great for all surfaces and materials. Comes in smaller cans and can be pricey. WORTH IT, though. This is the BEST primer I’ve used for my work and I’ve used it for priming anything from D&D minis to custom vinyl to resin, styrene, the list goes on. I usually use the gray or white but it can be easily sanded and grabs onto surfaces really strongly.
Mr. Hobby’s Mr. Super Clear: Dries to a very toothy matte surface that picks up pastels and watercolor pencils brilliantly for face ups and blushing characters. Pricey, needs excellent atmospheric conditions to come out well. But, totally worth it. The surface it creates is incomparable, in my opinion, when it comes to accepting and holding onto powders and pigments. Be careful with dust though! It’ll hold strongly too.
Super Sculpey Firm: I use this to sculpt all my originals before making a mold and casting in resin. It’s firmness holds detail well and stays smooth. A little isopropyl alcohol gently brushed over it will smooth fingerprints and wrinkles.
Smooth-On Mold Star 15 Slow: This is the silicone rubber I use for mold making. It’s easy to use, doesn’t require a vacuum pump, and is thin so it’s easily mixed and poured. I build my mold boxes with dollar store foam core and hot glue and use petroleum jelly for a mold release.
Plasticine Clay: For making the base for 2 part molds I use plasticine. It doesn’t contain sulfur which can inhibit curing, it’s very soft, sticky, and easily smoothed around your sculpture.
Resin and Plastic Casting
Smooth-On Smooth Cast 325: This is actually a liquid plastic that cures in 10 minutes. The pot life is 2.5 minutes. This means it’s quick and prone to bubbles and mistakes! Here’s my secret: I add my pigments and glitters into part B. I mix part A and B for exactly 60 seconds and then pour into my warmed silicone molds in a cool environment (I legit turn the AC down), then quickly throw my molds into my already primed pressure pot for 10 minutes under 25psi. This works brilliantly for me, this plastic is able to be tinted with resin pigments or be crystal clear as long as the part A is kept closed unless you are about to mix it with part B. Any atmospheric interference with part A will cloud it up. This is the system that works for me because it allows me to create many casts relatively quickly with only one mold. This method will likely not work for everyone because of the crazy short cure time and pot life. But if you keep that in mind it may work for you!
UV Resin: I use several brands of this stuff, they’re all about the same. What matters more is the freshness of the resin itself. I also use this for glossing or sealing because the finish is SO glossy. Just as with any resin, use it quickly! Or it will go bad/take forever to cure/not cure/make you hate life.
Painting and Blushing
Acrylic Paints: I use many brands of paint. Mostly Vallejo, Golden, Martha Stewart, and even dollar store paint. It really depends what I’m using them for. I use the better quality paints for faces, details, etc. The lower quality I use for mixing into DIY texture paste, mixing with Mod Podge to cover foam or paper, dry brushing, basically anything covering a large surface. The lower quality paints have a tendency to have more binder in them which also makes them good for covering foam or paper to give it a more flexible sturdy surface.
Soft Pastels and Watercolor pencils: Perfect for blushing or adding soft shades of color to resin pieces. Combined with Mr. Super Clear and layering, these create a perfectly soft and almost airbrushed effect.
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