Dollar Store Finds!!!

Every true miniature gamer knows that some of the most useful items can be found at their local dollar store.  However, too few of us (in my opinion anyway) actually share our finds when others can take advantage of them.  If your Dollar Stores are like mine most of the items are very seasonal or even one time inventories only; meaning when they are gone the chain can’t get them anymore.

As a result I am taking a break from my usual solo postings and sharing some of my local Dollar Store finds with you all including why I like the item and what I believe it can be used for:

First up is this floral decoration.  These are small flocked segments that would obviously be perfect as hedges or even trees if you press a stick or small branch into them and base them.  I have a set I intend to create a small stand of trees with and will post pictures when finished.  As I have not seen this at many dollar stores before I believe this may be a limited inventory so I will definitely be picking up more.

These beads would make great damage or condition markers for unit based games where the miniatures are based on and fight on stands.  About $5.000 worth of these should give you enough of all the colors to show various conditions.

These are styrofoam discs that can be cut, stacked and flocked to form small hills or you can use the floral decorations shown earlier and stick a number of them into these discs to form a stand of trees.

What I liked about this wood shop set was the fact that it had “round” wooden wheels.   Four of these would work great to form the platform for a home made siege engine or trebuchet.

This is literally a sheet of moss.  Laid flat it can form a section of field for a game like SAGA or even a large field for  a Civil War game.  The moss pieces are bit large but you might even be able to apply a little paint over these and make it appear as a trodden grass field.  I will definitely be going back for these as this also appears to be a new item that may be limited.

This make up brush is made of the exact same material that flock brushes are made of that sell in the hobby store for $4.00 to $6.00.  Brush aside loose flock and basing materials.

This is crazy glue.  Nuff said.

Nice set of aquarium rocks for lining a river bed scene or hilly approach.

Not sure about this one.  But I was thinking there must be a way to use these to represent water effects.  I do know these are made of polymer and are non-toxic, biodegradable and environmentally safe.  What I don’t know is can you melt the stuff!

If you have ever used Woodland Scenics one of the techniques they suggest is stuffing paper under plaster sheets to form hills.  This type of paper I think would be ideal for that in that it is shredded fine enough to shape as you want it.  Of course, if you got a shredder at your office you can save $1.00.

These are mardi gras coins which in a pinch can obviously be used as currency in a pirate game or some other affair that involves spoils.  However what I got a pack for was using them as proxy bases.  The  only problem is that the coins have crowns embossed on both sides of them so that would have to be sanded down or covered with green stuff or maybe just flock.  I wouldn’t base any miniatures with this but for other scenery like objective markers or small trees it would definitely be a money saver over using standard miniature bases which can run $6.00 for twelve or so.

Playing cards.  Another no brainer if you have a miniature game that uses cards for activations.

And finally the tried and true D6 dice.  Yeah, nuff said!!

I hope some of you got something out of this.  But what I would enjoy more is if you could share your Dollar Store Finds in the comments!!!


2 thoughts on “Dollar Store Finds!!!

  1. Useful tips, there. I can add that small fake potted plants can be found in some dollar stores. These are various shades of green fern-like plastic, and can be disassembled by simply unplugging the stems from each other. I hot-glue these to bases to make clumps of jungle bushes suitable for 25/28mm figures. One local store even had railroad track, of the kind that runs around the bases of Xmas trees, which would do nicely for gaming. Unfortunately I couldn’t buy any before the store finished stocking them.

    Charity stores like Goodwill can be another source for good gaming stuff. I picked up eight d6 and a pack of craft wood for just 50 cents each.

  2. I have recently used the dollar store flocked foam stones to make stands of trees for tabletop wargaming. When I saw the stones in my local dollar store, the umbrella pine in Italy came to mind and I thought for 15mm or smaller that these would be perfect. A number of years ago I had cut lots of 3″ hex blanks out of 1/4″ plywood for terrain tiles. I never got around to completing that project and moved onto a couple other new game systems. I used my hex blanks as bases and hot glued five 1-1/2″ ring nails to them and pushed one of the larger stones or two of the smaller stones onto the nails. Painted the nails and bases earth brown, flock the bases with some blended turf. Took about an hour and a half to make 7 groves (one 3″ hex stand) out of one package. I have since made 7 more and am extremely pleased with how they look and how little time (and money) it takes to put them together.
    I have also used the plastic/silk plants, bags of rough grey stones and toy dinosaurs from the dollar store. Using the same hex bases I drilled two to three holes the diameter of a bamboo toothpick (also from the dollar store) and hot glued the plastic stems to them. Cut off the toothpick that extends below the base and sand flat. Glue a few of the rough stone in random spots. Paint the bases with earth brown and flock with patches of blended turf. I was very liberal with the PVA glue, getting some on the stones where the flock now appears as moss to good visual affect. Because the scale is so much larger, I intend to use them for 25/28mm figures or VSF 6-15mm Venus terrain, hence the use for toy dinosaurs (which mount real easy on 1 1/2″ wooden nickles or square bases cut from foam core board.
    My other dollar store purchases are;
    -Green (or whatever color vegitation your planet has) scouring pads for hedges and individual trees
    -EVA craft foam for game markers and tokens. A multi-color package can yield a large number of markers when you punch out with a regular hole punch. You can use larger punches or simply cut squares with sufficient room to write on them for home made tokens or counters. A plus; they will not chip the paint on your figures.
    -Bamboo skewers, way cheaper than dowel rod.
    -Old style wood clothes pins, cut to scale and used as game token figures or mounted on a toothpick horizontally and based for a nice 1/1200 scale airship.
    -Don’t laugh; a small bag of (un-used) cat litter, great ground clutter or bolders for smaller scales.
    My dollar store is next to a larger craft/hobby store. I almost always enter the dollar store first to find items that will “work” before going over to the craft store to get the more expensive unique use items I cannot find a substatute for.
    I will try and post photos in the next day or two of my home-made tabletop game items created with dollar store finds.

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