Polymer clay, and its cousin metal clay, are a basis for all kinds of miniature projects. Originally developed in the 1930's it has come a long way since the 1970's when it first appeared in European toy shops as a model material. It is now recognized as a wide ranging artistic medium in a variety of colors and strengths, with varied handling properties.
Polymer Clay will make tools to use when working with polymer clay, or handles or stamps, any number of items useful when finishing miniatures or scenes. This isn't just an art material, or something to model shapes in, it may become your way to create unique tools for your projects.
Two part silicone mold putty is an easy to use, non toxic material for creating simple but detailed molds. It is the easiest, fastest means of producing a flexible, accurate, reusable mold which can be used with numerous materials to produce multiple miniatures, dollhouse miniatures , parts or replacements. It is easiest to use for simple push molds, but it can be used to create two part molds.
Food Grade forms of this putty are available, and most types will withstand up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit making them useful for metal casting as well as liquid polymer clay, polymer clay, paper, resin, epoxy resin, gelatin, chocolate and sugar molds.
Acrylic paints are widely available in craft stores and very easy to use, but are they always the best paint to use for miniatures? Are there differences between craft, student, and artist quality acrylic paints? What should you consider before you choose acrylic paint for a particular project.
This article contains information to help you choose the right types of acrylic paint for your purpose, and times when acrylic paints are the best choice for your model.
Everyone has their favourite glues, but for particular types of materials, some glues work better than others. This list has information on using glues for particular miniatures, and what glues work best in certain circumstances. Bottom line, use the glue which will bond with your particular materials and have the least acidic effect.
Often the answer to how to create a particular effect is as close as your art store. Instead of struggling with polymer clay or epoxy resin, try tar gel medium to create the effect of syrups and water splashes with paint. Tire tracks in scenes can be made in heavy acrylic mediums, and many of them can be used much easier than the hobbyist's old standby, silicone caulk, with more stability. This document describes various mediums and their uses for a miniaturist.
Creative Paperclay® is a useful medium for creating miniature plaster, stucco, pargetting, stone tiles, tiled floors and walls, landscaping rock and stone effects, or small three dimensional miniatures or sculptures. With handling properties very similar to fine clay, this is a safe, easy way to create strong lightweight miniatures which need no curing, other than a protective coat of sealant.
Learn how to apply and use paperclay and understand the best ways to apply it to structures to prevent warping.
Another product I often use from the same company is Delight Air Dry Clay This light, marshmallow-like paste takes detail beautifully and blends with a damp paint brush. I use it for modelling very small scale miniatures and have used it for the items listed below as it's handling properties are ideal for these purposes:
Epoxy resin is really a heavy varnish, used most often to gloss coat wood surfaces. It doesn't deserve nearly the reputation of difficulty most miniaturists seem to award it. Measure carefully, mix properly, and you can simulate all kinds of water and liquids provided you limit the depth of the finish you pour.
Although many modellers assume epoxy resin is the only way to mimic water effects for large scale scenes, there are several easier methods which can be more realistic for items like miniature ponds, waterfalls and other purposes. You can see one alternative in the instructions to Make a Miniature Water Feature with Sheet Plastic.
Two part epoxy putty is a material often used to modify and repair miniatures made of plastic, resin, wood, tile, brick, metal and stone. Available in different colors and grains, the two part putty must be mixed (usually 1 to 1) and has a working time that varies from brand to brand. The putty can be smoothed and cleaned up using water before it hardens. After it hardens it can be sanded, machined, sawed and painted. Gaming miniaturists often use epoxy putty to create new master sculptures for later casting in metal, resin or plastic. Model horse enthusiasts and dolls house miniaturists may use it to change the pose or shape of cast resin sculpts.