Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Simpler can be better

Topic of the week: favorite crafts tool. This should be easy, I thought.

So, I took a tour of my workbench, plus all the extra drawers, boxes, and "organizers" (ha) that hold my crafts supplies and tools. It's amazing how much space a MINIATURES hobby takes.

I asked myself, what do I use most? What do I need for every work session?

My glue gun? No, I use many different kinds of adhesives, depending on what the surfaces are.

My cutting blade? Not really. I use a large, sharp scissors more than I use my knife. Scissors are faster, and also I don't have to plan ahead and take it out of a cardboard sheath.

I surveyed the paint brushes, sponges, tweezers, cutting board, soft clay, sandpaper, soldering iron. All useful for many projects.

And then my eyes landed on the tool I use for every single piece.

I thought this would be embarrassing, but not after Joanna's selection. Like hers: the simpler the better!

Here's my choice: the least expensive, most versatile tool—a box of toothpicks.


I use toothpicks for everything from spreading glue to holding down a piece for painting. I use them as tweezers, since unlike real, metal tweezers, I can toss the toothpicks when they get messy. I use them to lift, move, and reposition tiny elements of a scene.

Other advantages: they don't require a lot of space on the bench; they don't require an electrical outlet; they're not toxic; they're biodegradable, thus not harmful to the environment (I'm hoping Toothpick, Inc., doesn't use the rainforest for its source).

Dentists may prefer flossing, but for me, the old-fashioned toothpick does the trick on the workbench.

Have you ever found that simpler is better??


Anonymous said...

Toothpicks reign! I even keep an old pepper shaker (big holes) filled with them in the car, fitting nicely nearby in the slot provided on the bottom of my driver's side door. I just have to make sure I'm not stopped at a light with a car beside me when I set to work with one! 'Nuf said, for simplicity and for now...xoxoxox

Ellen said...

Popsicle sticks trimmed with a razor knife can be surprisingly versatile. And with a bit of hot-work, you can make amazing tools out of masonry nails.

misterreereeder said...

I do not do miniatures myself but I do enjoy reading about them - especially in your miniature series. It is interesting visualizing the scene as you mention it in your books. I 've mainly seen what was on your web page. Today I saw a picture of the one you made for Dana at the Cozy Mystery List Blog. Great piece!

Karin Corbin said...

It is a hard question to answer as I have so many tools :-). Favorite might be my Makita cordless drill motor and impact screw driver, they came as a pair. I need a two gun holding holster for them they get used so often.