Things I Should Have In My Studio

Hey Everybody! It's been a while, I'm doing ok, been very busy. I'm in the early steps of putting together my own sfx studio. I want to start small so the question I need to ask is what are some things I should have in my studio? Aside from the obvious materials like makeup, latex, paints, ect. I mean more on a broader and practical scale like desks, makeup chairs, storage units, cleaning supplies and more. Do I need to rent out a space? Things like that. I would love to hear everyones advice and input on this as it would be very much appreciated.


  • A lot of that will depend on the scale and type of projects you plan on working on.

    This is by no means a comprehensive list, as that would take days to write up, but hopefully, this gives you some ideas.  This is also all very generic.  If there is a specific type of effects work you want to focus on you would need a lot more detailed lists than this.

    Modern tools like 3D printers (resin and FDM), laser cutters, and CNCs are all very useful and use a lot in modern effects.

    To start with are the most basic aspects of a shop.  Good lighting everywhere, plenty of clean work surfaces at a comfortable height, plenty of access to power plugs and compressed air hookups, a clean and organized setup for expendables and materials, good air filtration, ventilation, and dust removal, well maintained and organized tools, and plenty of focus on health and safety.

    A clean area for painting, with a spray booth/ventilation, if you can, is also ideal.  Then have a good stock of everything from primers, spray paint, acrylics, catalyzed paints, etc.

    A clean area for sculpting with a good selection of tools, a toaster oven/lightbox to soften clays, and a collection of water-based and oil-based clays for different applications.

    A clean area for molding and casting, stocked with all the typical supplies.  Mixing buckets, mixing sticks, mold releases, silicones, epoxies/resins, reinforcement materials like hemp/sisal/fiberglass, scrap wood for handles/supports, mold wall materials, shims, ultracal/hydrocal, dental stone, alginate, scales, degassers, pressure pot (properly rated and maintained for safety), drill mixers, stand mixers if you will be doing foam latex, a latex oven, etc.

    You'll notice a "clean" trend, as cross-contamination or dust and dirt can cause a lot of problems. The last thing you need is dust from someone sanding/grinding landing on a freshly painted prop, or in your clay.  Or overspray from painting landing on pretty much anything.

    If you plan to do electrical work from props, animatronics, etc, you should have an area dedicated to that with soldering irons, wire, connectors, heat shrink, benchtop power supply, good lighting, magnification, work vises to hold small parts, fan/filter for soldering fumes, etc.  The actual selection of tools here is nIf early endless.

    If you'll be doing fabrication you'll also need a large collection of tools.  Basics would be a drill press, band saw, hand drills, a rotary tool like a Dremel, and all the basic hand tools.  You'll also want a large collection of adhesives, and hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, washers, springs, rivets, threaded inserts, Chicago screws, etc), and fabrication materials like aluminum (channel, flat stock, and extrusions like 80/20), steel, wood, foam, plastics, fabric.

    And most importantly, safety and PPE.  Have eye protection available at every spot in the shop without having to open a drawer or take a step.  Plenty of respirators and filtration masks for sanding or working with VOCs.  Gloves that are rated for various types of chemicals.  Nitrile is a good common glove material, but for some applications, you may need another type.

    At least one easy-to-find, clearly marked, first aid kit.  The same goes for fire extinguishers, though you may want more depending on the size of your shop and the type of work you are doing.  For example, a laser cutter should have a fire extinguisher within arm's reach, the same for welding stations, soldering stations, etc.

    And I have to again stress that this is a very incomplete, off the top of my head, quickly put together, list.  I urge anyone else to post their ideas/suggestions here as well to help cover what was missed. 


  • Wow! Thanks for putting this together Chris! Excuse me while I send this off to Santa.

    Our organization is about to transition warehouses starting in July. Our last move was 2015, and we thought we'd never outgrow... Hah
    Currently my department occupies 2 separate "rooms" at roughly 800 square feet. Both with only 8 ft. ceiling. We will be moving into a 4,000 square foot blank canvas with 14.5 ft ceiling. 
    I'm hoping to have one of my guys do a sketch up layout that maybe I could share here, but having this rough list from you Chris is a great starting point. And I can show the bosses just an idea of how much it takes to make our work come to life.

  • Take this as the beginner input that it is, not a pro here. But for a really nice budget addition with an upscale look, check out grabbing some oven hoods from Lowes or Home depot and attach them to your high power ventilation, once it is in place. Any small detail station using dremel, airbrush painting, fuming glues or soldering can be bumped up a level for under 200 dollars. These, made for home kitchens, over the stove hoods have nice stainless steel, easy to clean surfaces, some already included ventilation control, a lighting source (can be increased with a change of bulbs) and are easily installed and often come with a standard wall extension cord. Not a replacement for shop ventilation (they have only light duty fans) but a sharp looking addition for a single user workspace or per desk in the right environment. The over island ones are more around 500 but beware any over that price as it is generally hype pricing. Make sure to grab the ones meant for removing the air into a ventilation system rather than the ones only meant to circulate room air.
  • edited June 2022
    Congrats on the new space!  Would love to see how you set it up.

    Also be careful when it comes to any ventilation, dust collection, fume extraction, etc. setups, as depending on where you are there may be a number of city, county, state, or federal regulations for their setup (OSHA, etc), so make sure you coordinate with regulators prior to setting things up to save a ton of money.  I know a lot of local shops here in LA had to move intakes/vents/etc after inspection, which can get expensive fast.

  • I sopent a little money on an Amish shed which i have in my serves as my workspace/storage/shop...i now need a BIGGER building LOL
  • edited July 2022
    Wow! Thanks for putting this together Chris! Excuse me while I send this off to Santa.
    Post edited by Chris Ellerby on
Sign In or Register to comment.