Using Household Products in Modelling

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Using Household Products in Modelling

After 45 years of model building I have learned about household products that can be used for hobby purposes.  Here's a bit of a list:
  • Gauze is good for camouflage netting.
  • EZ Off oven cleaner removes paint from plastic models, test a spot first!
  • Future Floor Polish is a good gloss coat.
  • MinWax wood stain is a good sealant for army men, painted or not.
  • Dixie Cups are good for mixing paints and glues and such.
  • Makeup brushes are good for dusting off dusty models.
  • BBQ skewers are good for mixing and applying paint and glue, as are toothpicks.
  • Zip Loc bags can hold troops and model parts.
  • Tupperware type plastic boxes are good for troop storage.
  • A nut cracker can be used to open jars of paint that are stuck.
  • Cotton balls can be used as smoke or fire in a wargame.
  • Rit dye can be used to dye cotton balls or gauze; cotton balls red for fire, black for burning vehicles, etc.
  • Aluminum foil can be used to protect surfaces and to mix epoxy glue.
  • Guitar strings can be used to pin together figure parts when making conversions.
  • Used tooth brushes can be run through the dishwasher and then used to clean model parts.
  • Dental tools are great for poking holes in soft plastic and scribing plastic.
  • Wax paper can be used to protect work surfaces from paint and EZ Off.
  • Some brands of automobile break fluid will remove paint from models.
  • Fingernail clippers can cut model parts off the sprue.
  • Fingernail files and sanding sticks can be used to file and sand model parts.
  • White glue, good for holding turf flocking down on a base.
  • Cutting mats sold in fabric shops for cutting fabric make great cutting boards for model building.
  • Nylon parts cleaning brush, cut each individual bristle out and use them for radio antennas on vehicles.
  • Price sticker, place them on the tops of paint jars and write the name and stock number of the top.
  • Lead fishing sinkers can be glued into the nose of airplanes to hold the single front nose on the ground.

    Eye protection is essential whenever you are cutting, sanding or using nasty chemicals.  Read all product directions and be careful with sharp pointy things.  Many times the hobby version of these items is the same as the home version, and often more expensive.  Next time you visit you local dollar store or supermarket you can slip a few hobby products into the shopping cart without fear from she who shall be obeyed. 

    Submitted by Mike Creek on March 30, 2009

    To read more from Mike, visit his blog at