Skip to toolbar

Are you spending too much? Frugal Hobby

Home Forums News, Rumours & General Discussion Are you spending too much? Frugal Hobby

Supported by (Turn Off)

This topic contains 14 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  trewets 2 weeks, 5 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Author
  • #1614535

    Cult of Games Member

    I thought based on the weekender’s request to start a thread on saving money whilst hobbying.

    An example I learnt recently was nylon brushes. I have for years bought brushes from hobby companies because it was convenient but more recently I have been making terrain and shopping around for the parts that I need.

    I found 30 nylon brushes in ‘The Range’ (UK store) for £10. So much cheaper than hobby companies and at 30p a brush I don’t care about throwing them away when they’re knackered. Currently my Ork project has all been painted using one size 6 brush so they’re clearly not gimmicky either.



    What useful bargains have you found or seen?



    Buy flock from specialist companies who do car dash renovations 100g bag about a fiver

    Buy pva from diy stores, 5liter container about £10 its cheaper if you got a builders merchants

    Use lentils for cobbles

    If you can wait buy your tools from china on aliexpress, its where all the hobby companies buy there tools from before they slap a badge on it (gundam tools is the secret search term to find awesome things)

    Think laterally just about everything sold as a hobby supply is repurposed from something else a lot cheaper.  Basing gravel, is just fine reptile grit from the pet shop, 1kg bag £4

    Take broken things apart you never know what widget you will find inside that that will look cool, or be useful or both, water filter cartridges for example are full of plastic and charcoal grit which mates a great basing material just spread it on a tray and microwave for 5 mins or put by a radiator to dry, the cartridges them selves with a bit of imagination can be turned into refinerys, rocket engines, wells, storage silos, caps off of plugin room stinker refills are good techno widgets in a scifi game, vape coil wire makes excellent aeirials on vehicles 5m roll of clapton wire £3 or so much cheaper than guitar strings

    As mentioned the range is your friend, as is B+M, and surprisingly hobby craft just look in the kids section, bought a bag of assorted sponge brushes for £3 they are great for weathering just rip chunks of sponge out to get an irregular surface and stipple away, also if any makeup in your house is getting thrown away hoard it, eyeshadows can be used as weathering powders, the brushes are really good for dusting and drying excess water from decals.

    Nailart supplies can be great for cheap decals especially for weird things you wouldnt normally find for hobby stuff.

    Dont buy snips from hobby shops, instead look for a beading shop they have a wider range and are the SAME but usually 30% cheaper for not having a hobby brand on them.

    If you want cork for basing or terrain cant go wrong with ikea placemats

    I could go on for hours……


    Cult of Games Member

    Wow Tim that’s quite a list! thanks!

    Ive also been getting quite a lot of milage out of ‘mitre fast’ glue. 50g of superglue with spray activator for £5. The range has a brand called Soudal and B&Q has mitre fast by evo stick… in fact now I search their website ive found this one for £1 for 50g



    B+Q do a decent paint brush multi pack which is great for terrain (do a good job on door frames and skirting board as well) and cheaper than the 2 citadel terrain brushes (surprise surprise)

    Any white wood glue is PVA just dont use a polyurethane based glue (gorilla glue, any honey coloured wood glue) unless you want a lot of tidy up (it foams as it dries and will not come off), thats a really good thing to mention about activator trim carpenters have woken up to the awesomeness of activator they use it for glueing dado rails and cornices together before attaching to the wall, but it also means you can pick it up cheaper and in larger quantities than typically you find in hobby shops. 200ml activator spray £4.50
    and just stumbled on an activator pen which could be really handy for mdf possibly mini’s too

    Would be wrong of me not to mention super glue debonder can be had by the litre for a couple of quid, BBQ lighter fluid (not the gel) is the main ingredient in it (well naptha, but thats what lighter fluid is), can also be used with silicon sealent as a thinner so you can use that for water effects, you can colour silicon sealent with a drop of ink in a sandwhich bag (or paint if you want) just give it squeeze until the colour is even, add a drop or 2 of lighter fluid and you can snip a corner of the the bag and pipe it like icing, needs experimenting with though as it can be too thin and never set properly, but when you get it right it self levels and gives a nice water effect if you hit it with the back of a spoon as it dries to form waves. Not as fool proof as off the shelf water effects but its not brittle either so robust to transport.


    Cult of Games Member

    I switched to buying all my superglue and PVA from Screwfix a couple of years ago and it has made such a difference in annual costs of hobby. Same with bird sand from the pet shop for basing. Bought a huge bag for a couple of £, it will last years and has a strangely nice smell 😂


    Cult of Games Member

    It pays to be smart when you go cheap …  no one will notice a cheap brush when doing terrain work 😉

    I’ve been thinking of using bird sand for bases myself. Never got around to it because I rarely have a need to visit a pet shop.
    Also a potential good source for plastic plants to use as terrain.


    Cult of Games Member

    I dont know if it counts as a bargain, but I reuse the coffee grinds from my morning pot as basing material. It works really well and I’ve used it on bases to represent a number of different ground types.

    All you need to do is preheat your oven to 200C spread the grinds on a baking tray, bake for 10 minutes and then trn the oven off leaving the coffee to cool in the oven.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  wurzzel. Reason: spelling
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  wurzzel.

    Cult of Games Member



    Cult of Games Member

    These are really great ideas – thanks @timchubb for so many ideas! I’ve spent way too much on Kickstarter’s while under lockdown so definitely need to make my remaining hobby budget go further.

    Cheap make-up brushes (Poundland) are my go-to’s for drybrushing. Small ones can be used on minis and the big ones work great for terrain.

    Weathering powders – as Tim said, old eyeshadows and things do a good job, but you can also grind up pastels or chalk.

    the idea for lentils as cobblestones is one I’d never thought of but will definitely try!


    Cult of Games Member

    Some excellent ideas in this thread.

    I’ve recently started using brushes from The Works. I find they hold their point for quite a while and haven’t suffered from “bent tip syndrome “ that usually plagues my synthetic brushes.
    I’ve just bought two new packs today for a total of £5.

    It’s my second pack of the 10 larger brushes and liking them so much I thought I’d try the smaller fine detail brushes. It’s worth the risk at only £2 per pack.



    I’m not as much on the cheap side, but I think I’m cheaper than most hobby painters.

    For paint, colored primers are less expensive per ounce than hobby paints. I paint to advanced tabletop, and start with colored primers and washes. Hobby paints only marginally improve the paint job, and you can’t see their effect on the tabletop, anyway. I even experimented with red craft paint in a dried GW paint pot, and it works fine for advanced tabletop.

    Amazon sells cheap synthetic brushes, which you can use for most of the work a hobby brush can do. The tips will fail, but that also means you don’t have to do all that cleaning. Synthetic makeup brushes are great for drybrushing, but I’ve also used them for edge highlighting. Pleasantly surprised a cheap makeup brush will do a technique that I used to use a hobby brush for, and faster, at that.

    Holiday sales by OLGS are a great source of inexpensive plastic hobby miniatures, and you can get free shipping. Blacklist Games (currently funding for their Lasting Tales KS) offers plastic miniatures for under $.50 each, though only in their current KS. Archon’s Dungeons and Lasers (KS starts in April sometime) is the least expensive plastic modular terrain. Battle Systems is inexpensive cardstock terrain. DriveThruRPG is a good source of papercraft terrain.

    For basing, I use playground sand which is… um… free. 😀 Keep the brown nearly empty craft paint bottles around. Add a little water to them, shake, and you have a wash for basing!


    Cult of Games Member

    Cheap brushes are ok for heavy duty tasks like drybrushing, washing or basing/gluing but beyond that I always found cheap brushes to be a false economy.  I have spent less money on brushes since I switched to windsor and newton than I did before.  There’s an fairly expensive outlay up front given that they weigh in at aroun £12-£15 per brush depending on size (other brands like Artis Opus are even more expensive).  However buy some brush soap, clean them regularly and they will outlast cheap brushes many times over.  And if you don’t want to pay Artis Opus or Windsor & Newton prices, buy Rosemary & Co that are about a third of the price.  You will still get far more bang for your buck with expensive brushes.

    Brushes are a bit like shoes.  A good quality pair will last you much longer and cost you less in the long run.



    Cult of Games Member

    Buy your PVA from a DIY shop.  You can literally buy it by the bucket full and it’s really good quality stuff


    Cult of Games Member

    If you get a massive bag of green lichens (the stuff they use on model railways) and stick it in a blender, you can mix the resulting “powder” with gravel or sand from a pet store to make a really good base mix.  Base mixes are both cheap to make in large quantities AND very also a very quick way of creating effective looking bases.

    Buy your gaming trees from Wish – you can buy bags of model railway trees for peanuts.  They need a little work when you get them but it’s nothing a quick matt spray can’t fix.  Just make sure you check the size/scale of the trees first.




    Cult of Games Member

    Old used and dried coffee grounds for dark soil flock,some different texture can be added with dry tea from tea bags ( again dried) if using old food stuff be aware of fungus. Either heat above 150 degrees for ten mins or add  a few drops of methylated spirit to your storage container and flock.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Supported by (Turn Off)