Tools for the Job

If you are a beginner to this wonderful miniatures hobby, I'm sure you have a hundred questions on how to get started; I know I did. "What tools will I need?" is, I'm sure, one of those questions and is a very common one. Well, ask no more. I've composed a couple of different lists to get you well on your way to constructing your first miniatures projects with ease.

MUST HAVE'S

Protective Goggles and Dust MaskDoesn't really need explanation. Always a good idea to wear protective eyewear and mask when sanding or cutting wood to protect yourself from dust getting in your eyes and nasal passages, and wear a protective mask when working with paints, stains, varnishes, etc.

Rubber Gloves
A nice thing to have on hand (no pun intended) when painting, staining, varnishing, etc

Sand Paper and Sanding Block
Used in all instances where smoothing or shaping the surface of wood is needed. Also used to smoothe out applications of wood filler (see below).

Clamps
Used to hold a project together while the glue dries. Certain clamps also help keep a project "square".

Square or T-Square
Used to ensure a project is "square" and to ensure perfect right angles.

Masking Tape
Serves as an extra pair of hands to help hold a project together; i.e. dry fitting a dollhouse kit. Also can be used in place of clamps if necessary.

Ruler and Tape Measure
Pretty self-explanatory, these help you to make necessary measurements during a project.

Paint Brushes - Sponge and Bristle
Sponge brushes are an inexpensive solution and are disposable, can also be rinsed free of water-based paints and saved for the next project. Bristle brushes of varying sizes are commonly used when a finer finish is desired; i.e. detailed painting of trim work, furniture, etc.

Pencil
Drawing lines for cuts, marking kit pieces and making project notes

Xacto Knife
Used for cutting and trimming of small wood pieces, wallpaper, flooring, etc.

Wood Glue
The main staple of dollhouse makers. Titebond is a great product.

Tacky Glue
A secondary glue that is commonly used for interior trim work, doll making, plant making, etc.

Wallpaper Paste & Old Credit Card
There are several different opinions on what exactly to use. Many use a product called Wallpaper Mucilage. I prefer "real" wallpaper paste from my local home improvement store because I get more for my money and it works just as good. The credit card is used to smoothe out the wrinkles in the wallpaper when it is placed on the wall.

Wood Filler
Primarily used when assembling die-cut dollhouse kits, wood filler will help fill in all the gaps, tab holes, and corners where the kit pieces do not connect smoothly. Wood filler will be your best friend if you're a fan of die-cut kits. Also used to fill in holes made by counter-sunk nails used on the heavier duty dollhouse kits.

Mitre Box and Saw
An invaluable tool for cutting 45 degree angles for wood mouldings. Some are even made to cut an assortment of different angles that may be needed.

Hand Drill or Dremel Rotary Tool w/ bit set
An affordable option, a hand drill will primarily be used to pre-drill nail holes during the assembly of a dollhouse kit. For versatility, and a higher price tag, the Dremel Rotary Tool is an indispensable tool for your toolbox. It will pre-drill holes, sand, carve, cut...you name it! I have two!

Paper Towels
Paper towels for quick clean-ups!

Hammer and Finishing Nails
Finishing nails are often required when building the more substantial dollhouse kits made from MDF or plywood.


EXTRA'S TO ADD AS YOU GO

Easy Cutter
A hand-held miracle tool when cutting small wood trim pieces at angles. Much quicker than the mitre box and saw.

Scroll, Band, and Jig Saws
Invaluable power tools to make your large wood cutting job a breeze!

Angle Ruler
A nifty gadget I got in the drafting supply section of my local hobby shop. It has a screw that loosens and tightens in order to adjust a moving arm into the right position of any given angle. Great for designing your own dollhouse plans.

Rotary Cutter and Mat
I use mine when working with fabric treatments like bedding, window coverings, doll clothes, etc.

Box Cutter
A larger, more heavy-duty knife than the Xacto. Will cut thicker woods and plastic.

Putty Knife
Makes applying wood filler easier in some situations.

Wood Carving Tools
Other than wood carving, I've used mine to scrape away old glue, excess wood filler, smoothe out hard wood edges and to pry open cans of paint, stain, shellac, etc.

Large, Old Bristle Brush
2"-3" is a good size for sweeping out debris from your project.

Awl
Used for punching holes. I use mine for pre-punching little holes for my brass brads when electrifying a dollhouse.

Compressed Air
Gets much faster results than that large, old bristle brush when it comes to debris removal; especially in small places. Also great for dusting acetate window panes.

Fig Rule
A nifty little invention by Laura Figg. A three sided ruler with each side representing a different miniatures scale. Fits right in your purse!

Rubber Bands
You never know when you might need one.

Hot Glue Gun
Great for landscaping and floral arrangements. Can also be used for attaching window treatments. Not recommended for actual dollhouse assembly or roof shingle applications.

Styrene

Used as a surface to glue wood flooring and carpeting to in order to avoid permanently attaching your flooring to the actual floor of the dollhouse. This will enable you to slide your floor in and out of your dollhouse should you need to access your electrical wiring that you may run underneath it (see A Beginners Guide to Dollhouse Electrification). I have found that For Sale signs sold at large home improvement stores work well here.