Find out which materials are best to build and finish miniatures or models. Also, learn about their strengths and weaknesses. This list includes information on how to display miniatures and safety.
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Basic Polymer Clay
All kinds of miniature projects can be made with polymer clay or its cousin metal clay. It was first developed in the 1930s. Since its 1970 debut in European toy shops, it has advanced a lot. It's now recognized as an artistic medium with a range of strengths and colors and different handling properties.
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Tools made from Polymer clay
Polymer Clay provides tools for working with polymer clay. These include handles or stamps that can be used to finish miniatures and scenes. It's not just an art material or something to model shapes with. You may find it useful in creating unique tools to help you create your own tools.
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Glues to Use for Various Materials for Miniatures or Models
While everyone has their favorite glues, there are some glues that work better for certain materials than others. This list contains information about which glues are best for certain miniatures and in what circumstances. This list includes information on quick grab glues and PVA (white), glues, and silicon glues.
The bottom line is to use the glue that bonds with your materials and has the lowest acidic effect. Use glues that are easily reversible or can be removed without affecting the main materials if possible.
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Two-Part RTV Silicone Mold Putty
This silicone mold glue can be used to make simple but detailed molds. It is non-toxic. This is the fastest way to make a flexible, precise, and reusable mold. You can combine it with other materials to create miniatures, dollhouse miniatures, or parts. This is an excellent tool for creating simple push molds. However, you can also use it to make two-part molds.
This putty is available in Food Grade and can withstand temperatures up to 600 F. They are suitable for metal casting, liquid polymer clay, paper, and polymer clay.
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Although acrylic paints are readily available at craft shops and are easy to use, are they the best paint for miniatures?
Choosing the right acrylic paint for the job is important and when acrylic paints will be most effective for your model.
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Sometimes the best place to find out how to achieve a certain effect is your local art shop. For example, to create the illusion of syrups and water splashed in paint, you can use a tar gel medium instead of trying to make epoxy resin or polymer clay. Likewise, you can make tire tracks in scenes using heavy acrylic mediums. Many of these are easier to use than silicone caulk for more stability.
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Creative Paperclay and Delight Air Dry Clay
Creative Paperclay(r), a versatile medium, can be used to create miniature plaster, stucco and pargetting, stone tiled floors and walls, as well as landscaping rocks and stone effects. It can also be used for small, three-dimensional miniatures and sculptures. This medium has similar handling properties to a fine clay and can be used to make lightweight, strong miniatures that don't require any curing other than a protective coating of sealant.
Delight Air Dry Clay is another product by the same company. This paste, which looks like marshmallows, captures detail well and blends well with a damp paintbrush.
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Epoxy Resin To Simulate Water and Liquids
Epoxy resin is a varnish that's heavy and used to gloss coat wood surfaces. It isn't as difficult as many miniaturists give it. Mix well, measure carefully and limit how deep you pour the liquids.
Many modelers believe epoxy resin is the only way of creating water effects in large-scale scenes. However, there are other methods that can make it more realistic, such as miniature lakes and waterfalls.
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Two-Part Epoxy Putty to Modify or Repair Miniatures
Two-part epoxy glue is used to repair and modify miniatures made from plastic, resin, stone, brick, metal, and tile. The two-part epoxy putty is available in different colors and grain options. It must be mixed (1 to 1), and the working time varies from one brand to another. Before it hardens, the putty can easily be rolled out and washed with water.
Once it has hardened, it can be sanded and machined. Gaming miniaturists often use epoxy putty to make new master sculptures that can be cast in metal, resin, plastic, or both. It can be used by dollhouse miniatureaturists and model horse enthusiasts to alter the shape or pose of cast resin sculptures.
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MDF, Baltic Birch Plywood
Many dollhouses and other miniature buildings come as complete structures or kits made of MDF (medium-density fiberboard) or Baltic Birch plywood. Each material has its pros and cons.
Both materials emit gasses so it is important to finish them. Because plywood structures are lighter, they can be easily dismantled and added to later. It is up to you to decide which type of plywood to use.
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Sources of Scale Wood
While you can purchase craft wood/scale lumber at many large-box craft stores, specialty sizes and types are also available online. For example, dollhouse suppliers might sell wood with specialized finishes, such as miniature handrails or decorative moldings.
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Luan/Lauan plywood often makes dollhouse kit materials that are less expensive. Although it is a very versatile material, it requires more work to finish than other options. This plywood is usually die-cut and assembled with tab and slot construction rather than nails and screws.
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Gatorfoam/Gator Board for Building
This material is used mainly for outdoor and indoor display support for posters, photos, and other images. This material is ideal for miniaturists, but it's not as strong as foam core board. This material should be cut using fine-tooth power instruments. However, its lightweight, ease of construction, and water-resistant surface make it perfect for miniature projects.
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Book Board or Davey Board? Or Binder
Bookbinders and conservators use this dense, sturdy paperboard to make boxes. It is easy to use, inexpensive, and neutral in acid. It's often used to make miniature furniture using box shapes, such as bookshelves, counters, chests of drawers, stoves, and refrigerators. You can also use it to make simple room boxes and display boxes.
If you need a strong construction, laminate several pieces together.
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Dollhouse Printables and Miniatures
The printing of miniatures is another example of a long tradition in craftsmanship. Computer printers allow you to easily use paper and film for any miniature item, from paper plates to faux stained glass, buildings to tiny planes and scale cars.
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Printable Inkjet Fabric sheets
Printable fabric sheets are an excellent way for miniaturists to make scaled fabrics that coordinate well with other miniature items and that match period designs. These fabric sheets are not coated with plastic, unlike transfers. As a result, the fabric can be used with many miniatures.
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Repair Your Miniatures
It is not uncommon for accidents to occur. You need to be aware of what you can do and cannot do to fix miniatures and how to maintain them.
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This simple technique can transform new wood into aged, brown, or darkened wood in just minutes. This technique is great for repairing naturally weathered items or creating the appearance of weathered boards and shingles on miniature buildings.
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Wood Shingle Effects
Wood shingle effects are possible in many sizes using wood veneers, wood tags, or paper strips. In addition, you can shape the shingles to make rustic or aged roofs.