Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Top 10 Tools In My Workbox

I thought I'd share a list of my favorite tools. This isn't a comprehensive list of my tools by any means, but if I lost all my miniature supplies tomorrow, these would be some of the first I'd replace. I know some of these tools are probably pretty obvious, and some of the others may be a little quirky for a standard tool kit, but these are the tools that I'd have a hard time living without!

1. Pointy Tweezers- These are a fairly recent addition to my work box, but I'm not sure how I got along without them before. These are great for working on anything tiny!

2. Flat tweezers- These are the tweezers I've used for years. I shamelessly stole them out of the medicine cabinet, and just never gave them back. I prefer these tweezers whenever I work with paper, since they grip the paper more firmly than the pointy tweezers.

3. Needle Nose Pliers- Another tool I stole out of household supplies and never gave back! Besides bending wire with them, they are great for breaking wood in a controlled manner.

4. Gluing Jig-This is the smallest gluing jig from Smaller Than Life. I love that this size easily fits into my storage drawers, and it's almost always large enough for my needs. I used to use plastic boxes for gluing right angles (and the late Frances Armstrong sugested Lego toys) but I love how  magnetic jig holds the pieces in place, meaning that I can easily put it aside for the glue to dry, without worrying that something will be knocked ajar.
5. Small Scissors- These scissors were one of the first miniature-making tools I owned. I bought them with my allowance when I was about twelve years old.I had just started making miniature paper toys, and was using children's fiskars scissors to cut out 1/2" tall paper dolls. I remember that these scissors cost $13, which took a significant bite out of my savings at the time! After a decade of heavy use, they've more than earned their price. 

6. Photo-Etch Scissor. This is meant for trimming photo-etched brass pieces, and that's really all I use it for.  This is one of those tools that is only good for one job, but it does that one job exceptionally well.  It looks like the design of this tool may have been changed slightly since I bought mine.The one I linked too looks like it has slightly longer blades.


7. Plastic Toothpicks- These are great for applying tiny dots of glue, because dry glue just peels right off the tip! For smaller dots of glue, the tip of the toothpicks can be carved to a shaper point.You can read more about my love affair with them here.

8. Old paintbrush- This is my go-to brush. The new version of this brush is great as well, but I don't reach for it nearly as often. I put this brush through all sorts of abuse. Belive it or not, the brush on top is a new(ish) version of the same brush. I use it to mix paint, paint rough undercoats on furniture, drybrush, and stipple.

9. A Really Good Ruler- This one is from MicroMark, and it's the one that Nell Corkin instructed us to get when I took her 1/144th garden cottage class. I have the 6" version, which is long enough for most of my projects, but they also sell a 12" version.

10. Mini Flower Press- This isn't a tool I pull out all the time, but when I need it, it gets the job done. Any time wood or paper I'm painting/gluing starts to warp, I flatten it out and let it dry in this press. I also use it as a book press. I actually have 5 of these, so that I can keep working as projects dry. I could get away with one larger press, but I like being able to flatten pieces immediately. The only thing to remember is to use as little glue as possible, or else the excess will ooze out and cause a real mess!


  1. THNX for sharing this. it's always interesting to see which tools other people use. gr. AM

  2. Thanks you so much for sharing this!

  3. Hello elisa,
    Thank you for the great tool list. It's very helpful to see how talented miniaturists work and what they use.
    Big hug,

  4. The flower press is a great idea, now i need to find some!!