Painting clips are among the most known and widely used DIY tools among modelers. Whenever you are painting by hand, airbrushing or using spray cans, you need something to hold the parts. Sure, you could buy a painting base from one of the popular brands. They’re very expensive for what they offer though. When it comes to getting most bang for your buck though, you’re far better off making your own.
DIY Painting Clips
As usual, let’s start with a list of materials:
- Bamboo skewers – available at your local grocery store. If you have some left once you’re done, save them for a BBQ.
- Alligator clips – you can get those from hardware or electronics store. I like to have them in multiple sizes.
- Some tape – I like the black electrical tape for this.
- Hobby Knife
- A pair of pliers
First, cut the skewers down to size. Usually just I chop them in half. At full length they’re too long for me to comfortably use inside my spray booth.
This step is optional, depending on your preference.
With skewers cut to size, we can begin to mount the alligator clips.
While medium-sized clips should fit just fine, smaller ones might require you to sharpen the skewers a bit.
|Using the pliers we mount the clips on the skewers and secure them in place with a bit of tape.|
|Fitting the bigger clips might require you to wrap some tape around the skewers instead of sharpening them.|
|There we go, all done.|
|Bonus – if the part is difficult to hold with an alligator clip, you can always use some Patafix / Blu Tack to mount it on a skewer.|
|Here’s an example of painting parts mounted using Patafix / Blu Tack and different sized clips.|
Don’t drop the base!
We have our painting clips, but before we start painting, we should probably consider something to hold them while the parts are drying. I’ve seen quite a few guys simply using a styrofoam block as a base for the clips. Sure, it works, but it’s also very light and therefore unstable. Would you trust something that can be knocked over easily with a shiny candy coat on a custom build you spent two months on? I sure as hell wouldn’t.
Let’s build ourselves something more reliable. First off, the shopping list:
- Some corrugated cardboard. If you’re like me and have to order all your kits and supplies online, you should have a big stack of cardboard boxes. On a side note – how can there not be a single proper hobby shop in a city of 300,000 people?
- A sturdy box to use as base for our base. It’s optional, but helps with stability.
- Some tape
- Sharp knife
- Scissors (optional)
- A show you need to catch up on. This will take quite a while. (optional, but highly suggested)
While it takes a while to complete, it’s one of the most useful tools for painting. Compared to commercially available painting stands it’s dirt cheap and more versatile.