Ann's Tool Box
Written by Ann Vanture
1. Self-healing cutting mat.
Makes cutting smooth and effortless, as well as prolongs
the life of a cutting blade. Cardboard cutting mats will
shred your project and destroy the blade.
Click here for larger image
metal ruler with cork backing designed to prevent
slipping. English scale in inches on one side and
miniatures-friendly millimeters on the other. Use the
ruler with clamps to make a folding gizmo. See photo
3. Clamps are used to secure the
metal ruler. Make accurate paper folds against the
ruler’s edge and improve your paper project at hand.
Clamps cost under $2 each at the local hardware store.
4. Magnifying glass is good to
have, however, if you have never used a pair of
magnifying eyeglasses you will be pleasantly surprised
at how wonderful they are for making miniatures.
Fast-grab, dries-clear, quick-dry craft glue. Works
where a typical wet, slippery, slow-to-dry white craft
glue does not. Standard white craft glue is too wet and
sloppy to work with when making miniatures. I like
Nicole brand, but most any brand with the “fast-grab
dries-clear, quick-dry” descriptor will do. I have since
added Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue and a small hot-glue
gun to my arsenal.
glue stick is appropriate to glue flat items
back-to-back. This glue, however, is not good for gluing
tabs because the contact becomes brittle over time and
loosens its grip. Use a thick coat for book pages and
wallpaper in small display boxes.
Paper Effects clear dimensional paint adds dimension to
printed items such as the printed candy in a candy box
or game pieces. There are other brands as well, and it
is my understanding that all brands can be difficult to
locate. This is an enhancement and not necessary to have
in order to assemble miniatures.
Polyurethane paint IS NOT NEEDED FOR Pre-printed Paper
Minis kits. This is for those of you who are printing
your own printables and may not have a colorfast
printout. If so, spray a couple of light coats before
cutting out a printie. It protects the mini’s finish and
glue wipes off easily without leaving tell-tale residue.
KEEP ALL MINIATURES OUT OF DIRECT LIGHT...NOT JUST PAPER
MINIS. The sun and light bulbs will fade, paint, fabric,
wood and--most of all--paper.
black office binder clips hold book pages together while
gluing the book’s spine. Place a bit of thin cardboard
between the clip and your book to prevent dents.
sized scissors for cropping pieces apart. Use detailing
scissors and X-acto knife for detail cutting.
knife and No. 11 blades for cutting nooks-and-crannies
perfectly. Never use a dull blade! Blades are your best
of small artist paint brushes for painting glue...at
least one flat and one tiny pointed brush.
Toothpick for poking and picking.
14. Two thin
needles wrapped tightly at the eyes end with scotch tape
can be helpful for winding paper.
Straightened paper clip for poking and picking.
for holding small items and pressing glued folds and
seams. Cotton swap (not shown) is also good for pressing
17. Aluminum foil to use as a
disposable glue pot. Cup it if you need to mix a little
water with your glue. When done, just throw it away.
Tissue/paper towels for quick clean-up
19. Cup for
water to hold your gluing brushes
20. Tool box
to keep these items localized
selection of small hole punches. A 1/16”, 1/8" and
standard 1/4" punch come in very handy.
collection of dowel type objects in a variety of
circumferences. Use these to wrap curved objects around
to capture perfect curvatures.
23. A desk
25. Spray paint or craft paint to
paint outer surfaces of display boxes.
Just in case I missed something above here's a
list I published in the newsletter in April of 2015:
once in a while I like to bring
up my check list of 'tools'
which will make you the best
possible. There's nothing
expensive on the list, and my
aim in designing Paper Minis is
to supply a hobby which does not
require a lot of special
equipment or high-end skill. I
hope this list is helpful to
craft blade tool using a no.
11 blade is great to use in
tight cutting spots. Always
use a fresh blade, for a
dull blade will shred the
edge of your project.
true cutting mat is a must.
Using a substitute could
impact the quality of your
project. For example, using
a piece of cardboard will
dull your blade and create a
ragged cut edge.
scoring tool can be as
simple as a metal nail
file–the tip is thin and
smooth. Test your tool first
to make sure there isn’t a
burr that will scrap the
thin metal straight-edge
ruler with a cork backing is
perfect for creating a
straight cut line, or used
as a guide for the scoring
tool, or to hold against the
paper to make a perfect
crease. Tip: When cutting
with a craft blade tool,
always position the guide
ruler so the cut is going
away from the project piece.
This eliminates the
possibility of accidentally
cutting into and ruining a
Tweezers are great for
pressing a glued bond.
Cotton swabs work well to
press on glued seams, such
as down inside a carton or
Scissors and detailing
scissors are good to have on
bottle of fast-grab,
quick-dry white craft glue
that dries clear is very
important use. Otherwise
standard soupy, slow-dry
craft glue is a disaster
waiting to happen.
couple sizes of flat artist
brushes to use when applying
glue. A small piece of
aluminum foil to use as a
glue pot is handy and easily
disposed. In a few cases you
may need to add a little
water to the glue. Remember
to wash out your brushes
before the glue sets; if it
does, alcohol will help
remove dried glue from a
An acid free glue stick. Use
only as directed because
this type of glue could lose
it’s grip over time.
set of inexpensive felt tip
color pens works very well
for camouflaging white paper
edges made when cut.
To get the best rounding of
a piece, such as a can, hat
box, or tube doll, pre-wrap
the piece on a cylindrical
item such as a dowel, paint
brush handle or craft blade
variety of circle paper-hole
punches are good to have on
hand, but not necessary.
1/4", 3/8", 1/16", 1/8" size
make for a great selection.
Couple sizes of black binder
clips (they do come in mod
colors these days) and
possibly a couple popsicle
sticks. Great for gripping
items such as book pages
while the glue dries.
Toothpick or dental pick for
poking and picking.
High-intensity desk lamp to
Magnifier or magnifier
glasses (what a great
or paper towels for
- Cup of
water to rinse/hold glue
Last, but not least a small
piece of fine grit sand
paper and fresh tube of
plastic cement. If you make
many of the miniature books
with laminated box sleeves,
scuffing up the tab with
sand paper and gluing with
plastic cement will ensure
that the bond does not pop