Basic Toolkit – What do you need for stop motion?
These are my essential stop motion supplies. Like you, I’m on a budget, but you can still make awesome animations with basic tools and materials. You’ll find these things really useful, I know I do!
1. Sticky Tack
Sticky tack, often known by the brand name Blu-Tack, is incredibly useful stuff for stop motion. There are all sorts of uses for it. Put a small blob in each corner of a piece of paper for your background sheet to stop it sliding around. It’s also good underneath toys that need a bit of help standing up. Or a blob in each corner under a LEGO baseboard.
2. Cocktail Sticks
You may know them as toothpicks. They can be found in most supermarkets. They’re one of the best (and cheapest!) tools for model making. You can use them to make holes for eyes or to draw on a mouth. If you’re using painted beads for eyes, you can use a cocktail stick to move them side to side.
3. Masking Tape
This is brilliant for stop motion. You can find it in decorating stores. It is important to have everything fixed in place when you’re animating, such as your tabletop studio and camera. The great thing about masking tape is that it sticks well and can be easily removed without marking your table. Another bonus is that you don’t need scissors as you can simply tear it by hand.
4. Self Adhesive Magnetic Tape
When used with a magnetic surface, magnets are very useful in stop motion as they help keep things still. You can get magnetic tape on a roll which will last a while. The added bonus is that your puppets will make great fridge magnets after you’ve animated them. I use magnets a lot with my table-top studios – included in each of my workshops, you’ll find a guide on how to make one.
Here’s where I get mine from Guy’s Magnets. For elsewhere in the world, you’ll be able to find it in craft stores or ebay. I haven’t used this brand before, but for teachers in the U.S. I came across this.
5. Invisible Thread
Fishing line is a quick and easy way of making things fly or jump in the air. Tie it around your object and use a little bit of tape or blutack to help it attach if your object is heavy. Look for a fine gauge (thickness) of around 0.3mm.
7. Aluminum Foil
This is another brilliant budget material for stop motion. Scrunch it up and use it as the base for background scenery, such as rocks, that you then cover with plasticine. Or mould it around wire structures to provide extra support inside polymer clay props (like Fimo or Sculpey) before you bake them in the oven.
8. Polystyrene Balls
Cover these with plasticine to make things such as heads and bodies for your characters. It saves plasticine and helps keep your models light. You can find them in Art shops. Stock up at Easter time as you’ll find big bags of polystyrene eggs of all shapes and sizes in shops.