Essential toolkit for architectural model makers

Here is a list of essential tools that every architectural model maker should have in their toolkit. 

Just remember: You get what you pay for with tools. Cheap tools will always cost you more in the long run.

Essential tools:

Scalpel handle and spare blades

Scalpel Handle

Swann & Morton No3 scalpel handle

The first tool every model maker should own: A scalpel. Each model maker will be accustomed to their own handle; style, grip, comfort, etc, but you can’t go wrong with the Swann & Morton No3 handle and 10a scalpel blades.

150mm & 300mm steel rule

Steel Rule

Steel rules

Measure twice cut once! Steel rules are more durable than any other, and won’t warp over time. Grab yourself a 150mm rule for those smaller projects.

Vernier Calipers


Vernier calipers

More precise than a ruler, vernier calipers will offer an accurate measurement by clamping an object. Digital calipers are also available, which will give you an automatic read out.

Sanding block

Sanding Block

Sanding block

From wrapping a pencil in wet and dry to double siding sandpaper to an MDF block; a variety of sanding blocks will prove essential for making architectural models. Custom made sanding blocks are the most useful.




From placing figures in awkward places to eating crisps to keep your hands clean, some fine point tipped tweezers are highly recommended.

Engineers square

Engineering Squares

Engineering squares

Be careful of cheap squares as they are not accurate. A selection of various sizes are recommended.

123 block

Engineering Blocks

123 blocks

Helps keep your work square. Also useful as small weights.

Fairy liquid mix

Cleaning Fluid

Cleaning fluid

A bottle of watered down fairy liquid will help keep your models nice and clean. A bottle of antistatic cleaner is also worth having, for keeping perspex dust free.

Cleaning brush

Cleaning Brush

Cleaning brush

A soft bristle brush is useful for dusting off parts of your model and getting rid of light debris such as tree flock.




A good clean brush is needed for welding perspex together with chloroform or dichloromethane. I find that a Size 0, medium length, synthetic pointed tip does the job. Separate brushes are advised for any paint touch ups.

Pump action solvent dispenser

Pump Dispenser

Pump action dispenser

Pump action solvent dispensers allow chloroform or dichloromethane to be used safely. Be careful of cheap dispensers as the pump tends not to work so well.

Ruling pen

Ruling Pen

Ruling pen

A ruling pen is useful for applying paint to an edge. You can adjust the amount of paint it releases with the dial on the side. A ruling pen provides a more consistent finish, that a paintbrush cannot give.

Archimedean drill/ pin vice

Archemdian Drill

Archimedean drill

Micro drill piece set

Microdrill Set

Micro drill set

Useful for you archimedean drill, dremel or drill.

Selection of tapes



Gentleman's saw

Gentlemans Saw

Gentleman's saw

Needle files

Needle Files

Needle files




Cutting mat

Cutting Matt

Cutting matt

Useful tip: double side it to an MDF board to give it rigidity.

Spring clamps


Spring clamps

Useful for holding small components together. Metal binder clips and rubber bands are also handy too.

Lighter fluid

Lighter Fluid

Lighter fluid

Lighter fluid is very handy to remove sticky residue from some adhesives and labels.

Links to useful places:

Useful tools can be found in the strangest of places, but here are a few recommended obvious places to start:

4d modelshopEMA, Axminster.

Date Published:

May 02, 2016


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About the Author

Tom has a passion for creating high quality architectural models for architects, designers, developers, and consultants. From traditional hand crafted techniques to latest technological trends such as 3d printing.

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