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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I thought a thread dedicated to posting “helpful” solution items might make an interesting read. We all come up against projects doing something for the first time and might not know about things that could make our projects easier/cheaper maybe even better. So share if you have or used something others might also find helpful. Try to keep it to one item per post.
 

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For example I wanted to display several letterboards for my dino exhibits highlighting different dinosaurs. Not into construction so found this 36” wreath stand at Joann’s that looks like it will do the trick. Will add spotlighting on the ground. Pretty cheap too, 5.99 and less if you have a coupon to use.

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Plan to mount a banner with two side poles above our wooden gate. Really hated to put screw holes in the wood so thought about some sort of strapping. Posts are pretty thick and never realized until a visit to an Ace Hardware that zip ties (cable ties) come in really long lengths. This 36” one will work to secure the signage to my fence, no holes in wood required and was thin enough to slip between the door and posts. BTW my local store also had 48” cable ties in stock too.

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Felting needles work pretty good for hair punching, and soft foams [like upholstery foam or EVA foam] can be hair punched, though it may need some glue in the middle to hold the hairs. Felting needle holders that hold multiple needles make the process go quick.
Working, slowly but surely, on a werewolf costume, decided to make the ears out of foam so they move a little when I move around. I wanted more realistic hair on the face than just gluing faux fur down so I started thinking up how. I eventually realized that felting needles do the same basic thing as hair punching needles [grab fibers and push them with the needle] and figured I would see how well they punched hair. Turns out they punch hair very well, so long as the hair as something to grab. EVA foam doesn't 'grab', so I glued two thin layers of foam together with rubber cement and the hair holds very well in that. I'm using a left over block of upholstery foam as a backing for the punching since the ears are so thin, and the hair punches and holds really well into that too. :LOL:

 

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Evil Wizard
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Plan to mount a banner with two side poles above our wooden gate. Really hated to put screw holes in the wood so thought about some sort of strapping. Posts are pretty thick and never realized until a visit to an Ace Hardware that zip ties (cable ties) come in really long lengths. This 36” one will work to secure the signage to my fence, no holes in wood required and was thin enough to slip between the door and posts. BTW my local store also had 48” cable ties in stock too.

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Absolutely. The 36”-length zip ties also come in quite handy for securing breakable, resin tombstones to rebar.
 

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Quick easy and relatively cheap walls for a garage. I used zip ties to hang these 9x12 tarps from the rafters of my garage and they were perfect. Each tarp was under $12. Much cheaper than wooden walls and easier to take down adn store away.


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A video of my garage with the tarps as walls.

 

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Rebar has many uses when holding up props that don't act like sails, but in my area October is wet and the ground gets soft. Rebar often "saws" thru the ground and lets props lean if they are props that catch the wind. So I like these no-dig fence posts for props that need sturdier support in the face of wind.


These cost more than rebar and they are thicker (not as good at disappearing) but very useful!
 

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...I like these no-dig fence posts for props that need sturdier support in the face of wind.


These cost more than rebar and they are thicker (not as good at disappearing) but very useful!
Similarly, I discovered these babies at Atwoods (farm store, probably regional, I bet you have something similar). Black plastic wire-fence posts, 4 ft tall, fairly easy to get into the WORST ground I have (ROCKS! TREE ROOTS! MINE FIELD!! always a nightmare trying to put anything out there), with plenty of ways to attach things to them. And quite cheap. Definitely going to add some extras for propping up fence. I think they're intended for building an electric fence (hah, don't tempt me kids). Would be great to run an extension cord along the back.

I also discovered how inexpensive t-posts are, so those might get more use than they have in the past.

Other handy things: waterproof cord protectors. I need to get some of the box-type for power bars, but just the cord-to-cord ones came in real handy this year. I have both CordSafe (from Dollar General) and Twist and Seal (Walmart) types.

Re: zip ties. I'm told the black ones are supposed to last better outdoors, which I can vouch for seeing as how at least one gets dropped in the yard and found the next year (or year after) and is still in good shape despite a year in the elements. Black zip ties, what would we do without 'em?
 

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I use this camera light (dont attach to camera!) when taking photos of my haunt outside. I put my dslr on a tripod and use this in different angles- really makes things pop without making it harsh. You can point the light up down, backwards and bounce off a wall for different effects. It also has colored filters. It also great when you are taking quick video or other photos to see the details, without destroying the scene.
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Plan to mount a banner with two side poles above our wooden gate. Really hated to put screw holes in the wood so thought about some sort of strapping. Posts are pretty thick and never realized until a visit to an Ace Hardware that zip ties (cable ties) come in really long lengths. This 36” one will work to secure the signage to my fence, no holes in wood required and was thin enough to slip between the door and posts. BTW my local store also had 48” cable ties in stock too.

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You can use whatever zip ties you have on hand to make them as long as you want. Run one through another and keep going until you get the right length, then zip the lat two together.

That may not make much sense but get a few of them and try it to see how it works.
 

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I've moved to jute twine for 90% of my lashings. Not only is it biodegradable, it's cheaper and available just about anywhere. Gas station, neighborhood grocer, etc. If I ever run out it's not a special trip to the hardware store. Virtually invisible in the more rustic decor

Just about the pumpkin here, a bunch of twine holding the pallet and arch to a hidden 2" rebar behind both.




I finally broke down this year and gave up on the rebar, bamboo posts, and step in supports and just got T-posts and a post driver after the wind blew down a lot of things. Other than my 2" rebar for heavy support, these things come in various heights, and seem to hold up to just about everything if you can camouflage them.

 

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I use this camera light (dont attach to camera!) when taking photos of my haunt outside. I put my dslr on a tripod and use this in different angles- really makes things pop without making it harsh. You can point the light up down, backwards and bounce off a wall for different effects. It also has colored filters. It also great when you are taking quick video or other photos to see the details, without destroying the scene. View attachment 726320
So, just steady on or are you using the hotshoe as a flash?

I've found my best photos tend to be done in fully manual with a remote shutter and a handheld light meter. I'm usually running it at F22 and having to manually count out on the bulb setting even to get exposure right.

This shot was a 20 second or more exposure, for instance.

 

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Aren't all cable ties reusable? I push the tab down and wiggle it back through to use them again. I have never bought or seen any that say reusable in the UK. Getting the tab down is a pain to do but I try to reuse plastics as many times as possible - especially when they have come on stuff that I've bought. Or it could just be Yorkshire meanness.
 

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This thread is full of great solutions, and goodness knows that I've used my fair share of rebar, T-posts, and zip-ties...they are all 'must-haves' in the tool-kit.

One item that I tend to use a lot but don't often see mentioned is floral wire. It's quite inexpensive, virtually disappears once in use, is semi-rigid but easy to cut and twist, and it's deceptively strong!

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