Miniature Tools: What I Use to Create Tiny Things

favorite tools for creating miniatures
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If you are building tiny things, it helps to have the right tiny tools! Today I wanted to share a round-up of my favorite tools & equipment I use for building miniatures and other small-scale projects.

Whether you are assembling houses or building your own miniature furniture and displays, the right miniature tools for the job is critical!

Finding miniature tools in most big-box chain stores can be tricky, so you most likely will have to order your tools online.

Amazon usually has most of the tools I use and recommend in stock, with the advantage of several that qualify for prime shipping!

For almost all projects, you’ll need a way to cut materials and a way to hold items together while you wait for glue to dry. Today I’ll share some of my favorite things I use through lots of trial, error, and experimentation.

miniature tools

Knives & Cutting Tools for Miniatures

Whether you work with wood, cardboard, paper or foam, a way to measure and cut things is essential.

Heavy Duty Paper Trimmer

The Fiskars Rotary Procision paper trimmer has quickly become my new favorite these past few months.

The rotary style paper trimmer with guide bars will make your life oh-so-much-easier for cutting straight lines, especially if you frequently cut chipboard or cardstock.

Fiskars 100580-1002 Procision Rotary Bypass Trimmer, 12 Inch

$135.45  in stock
2 new from $134.00
4 used from $120.31
Free shipping
as of June 24, 2024 9:55 pm

Ordering one for my art studio and craft room was quite possibly the best investment I ever made, especially because accurate straight cuts definitely reduce the amount of materials wasted!

{Random Side Note}: When I was 14 years old a paper trimmer was actually the only thing I wanted for my birthday present – and my parents bought me a Fiskars!

For me, they were my very first and hopefully what will be my very last paper cutter I ever buy – especially since the Fiskars Procision Cutter has self sharpening blades!

Fiskars 100580-1002 Procision Rotary Bypass Trimmer, 12 Inch

$135.45  in stock
2 new from $134.00
4 used from $120.31
Free shipping
as of June 24, 2024 9:55 pm

Basic Box Cutting Knife & Straight Edge

The rotary cutter above is great for things like paper or cardstock and chipboad, but for harder or thicker materials, I will probably always stick with a basic box knife {more officially known as a utility knife}.

I personally am not a fan of the X-Acto style knives for cutting anything – they may be better suited for fine detail precision, but they are also more difficult for me to use for some reason.

I use a super basic Stanley classic 99 utility knife to cut all sorts of things, from tempered hardboard to 1/4 inch thick birch plywood.

Stanley 10-099 6 in Classic 99® Retractable Utility Knife, 24-Pack

$109.99  in stock
7 new from $109.99
as of June 24, 2024 9:55 pm

You can get one at almost any home improvement store – just be sure to get a lot of extra replacement blades, since they do tend to wear out quickly if cutting through things like tempered hardboard.

I especially love the Stanley utility blade dispenser – you get a pack of 100 of them and a much easier and safer way to store them.

Stanley 11-921A Classic 1992 Heavy Duty Knife Blades Dispenser, 100 Pack

$15.25  in stock
38 new from $12.43
Free shipping
as of June 24, 2024 9:55 pm

One of the keys to getting straight cuts with a box knife is to use a straight edge. Straight edges again are something you can get at any hardware store, or you can order one online.

I use a carpenter’s L-shaped framing tool like this one. I like the 16×24 size because it is super helpful when you are cutting out bigger things like dollhouse walls, floors and roof panels.

Starrett FS-24 Steel Professional Framing Square, 24" x 16" Length

$33.43  in stock
9 new from $33.43
as of June 24, 2024 9:55 pm

CNC Cutting Tools for Miniatures

Of course, there are all sorts of other fancier and more expensive cutting tools.

Eventually I may invest in a CNC router…the Carbide3d Nomad is my desktop dream for carving and cutting miniatures.

Laser cutters like the Glowforge Plus Laser Cutter are also especially enticing as a miniatures artist.

Heck, I’d probably be thrilled with maybe even a Cricut Maker…but all of these things are more of an investment and better suited for the dollhouse/miniatures professional who is able to offset the costs with an income producing business.

Clamps for Miniatures

The next thing to consider, once you have the parts and pieces cut out is how you are going to hold them together while you glue everything.

I usually use basic wood glue for most of my miniatures, and so while it does provide a strong bond once dry, it can take up to 20-30 minutes before it really “sticks” – clamping is essential!

Right Angle Clamp

Right Angle Clamp, Housolution Single Handle 90° Aluminum Alloy Corner Clamp, Right Angle Clip Clamp Tool Woodworking Photo Frame Vise Welding Clamp Holder with Adjustable Swing Jaw - Silver Gray

 out of stock
as of June 24, 2024 9:55 pm

A right angle clamp like this one is very nice thing to have, especially if you are the sort of person who likes things to be square. I know I wish I had one of these when I was building my miniature potting bench!

Bar Clamps

Bar clamps like these are super useful when you need to clamp things together that are sort of long and not necessarily a perfect right angle.

Jorgensen 2-pack Medium Duty Steel Bar Clamp Set, 24-inch

$39.99  in stock
4 used from $36.02
Free shipping
as of June 24, 2024 9:55 pm

My Dad uses these a lot for his different real-life size projects around the house – they are also great for things like gluing the ceiling panels onto house walls!

They come in a wide variety of sizes, so if you do buy bar clamps be sure to choose ones that make the most sense for the different things you are clamping together to glue.

Other Small Clamps

In addition to the specialty clamps like the ones above, there are a LOT of other helpful clamps to have. Mostly it depends all on what you are making, but I always find mini spring loaded clamps and C-clamps useful.

Miniature Tools for Small Details

While the above tools are useful for putting together & cutting out the actual frame of the house, there’s also a LOT of miniature details that can be tricky for our big hands to hold.

Craft Tweezers

The silliest thing I ever did was wait forever to get a pair of craft tweezers, lol…my goodness what a difference it makes!

Kaisiking 10 Pcs Precision Tweezers Set, ESD Tweezers Set Anti-Static Stainless Steel Tweezers kit for Repair Electronics, Phone, Watch, Jewelry, Hobby Craft, Laboratory Work

 out of stock
as of June 24, 2024 9:55 pm

The EK Success craft tweezers are very highly rated, but of course you can also get a set with multiple different shapes and sizes like this one for a little more variety and not much more price difference.

Tweezers are fantastic for pretty much everything – from making paper flowers to gluing on fine detail – you will love them!

If you only have the budget for one thing right now, get the tweezers! Books can always work as clamps in a pinch, lol…

While there are a LOT of different miniature tools for miniature artists, this list of my favorite things should hopefully help you get started without too much frustration.

There are so many things I tried and bought in the past that were frustrating to use, so my hope is this list of things I use will help you use your miniature budget wisely to invest in tools that help make your life easier AND creating a lot more enjoyable!

Do you have any favorite miniature tools for working with miniatures? I’d love to hear what you use – tell me about what tools you find most helpful in the comments section below!

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  1. I’ve always loved miniatures and am new to making them. I bought a kit recently and my eyes were opened to how much time is put into this hobby! The kit was ok but I added my own touch to the furniture and walls with paint and beads. Adding my own creativity was my favorite part.Thanks for the tips!

    1. It always is overwhelming the first one! I’m glad you enjoyed building your house and adding all your extra special finishing touches – that is always the best part!

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