Scotty, I can't tell you just how much I agree! I wanted to post something along those lines for weeks now, but there's always something else to spent my time on...
I've stumbled over DIY jewellery beads as crafting materials for steampunk stuff in 2011. There are tons of ebay shops selling this stuff from asia (china mainly), and they sell it dirt-cheap. Here's some of the stuff I got. I sorted them according to topics/themes (nature, general, medaillons, gears & clockworks,...) to get some order in what would otherwise be totally chaotic. I have probably sunk somewhere between 100 and 200 euros in this stuff, so you might say this is not exactly cheap, but I got several kilos of excellent stuff for that money. I don't say that the quality is very high (and how could it be, for these prices?), but it's enough for my purposes.
I'll post only one picture and link the rest because I didn't want to downsize them (avoid losing details).
Nature-themed stuff Wings, butterflies, bumblebees, bats, birds-in-cages, mechanical-looking owls, spiderwebs, leaves*, scorpions, faeries, trees... I got at least one bag of each of those below, and I think each bag was priced at 1 to 3 €, not more. * each leaf on the left side between the wings and the bat is a little over 1 cm, so you get a sense of the scale
Wings i.imgur.com/jLeuFAM.jpg I got several kinds of wings, just because they all look so damn cool. I simply couldn't decide which I like most, so I took them all. Being priced so cheaply, this was practically a no-brainer.
Medaillons i.imgur.com/uE2pag1.jpg I've use these not as jewellery but as keys for modified keyboards. But I guess they work equally well for terrain/dungeon deco and other roleplaying things.
Clockwork stuff i.imgur.com/867bM5t.jpg Again, bought for steampunk purposes but with lots of potential for RPG props. Some of the clockworks would make, almost without modifications, awesome bases.
General beads (i.e. no unifying theme) i.imgur.com/WKqGxy8.jpg i.imgur.com/k6Ayl1A.jpg i.imgur.com/HdV7jf3.jpg i.imgur.com/O2sdzxI.jpg Lots of gears, clock faces, maritime stuff (steering wheels, starfishes, anchors), brass keys (a little less then 1 cm long), axes, and hundreds of beautifully textures beads. As above, all used mostly on modded keyboards for decoration. Many of those practically scream to be integrated in some kind of arcane device. Since this stuff is mostly made of metal and looked to be antique, you won't even have to paint them...
I won't post pictures from my wooden colored beads, as they look similar to what Scotty already showed. As I said before, all of this stuff comes extremely cheap from asian ebay sellers, posting in the DIY jewellery categories. Many offer free shipping overseas or have very low shipping rates and even lower if you combine shipping of several articles. Expect to have to pick up your parcel at the customs authorities, but this is no big deal. And if you want to get it even cheaper, look on ebay for people who are quitting their hobby and sell all their crafting stuff. Sad as this is, you'll get some wonderful deals there.
Since my interest changed a bit from crafting steampunk stuff to creating more RPG-based stuff like terrain props and miniatures (yes, this is your fault, Scotty! *g*), I haven't touched them in some time. Now that I've handled them again, I'm sure this will change - expect to see some of this stuff reborn in some monster or terrain prop soon!
erho: I will once again rise above Lurker status if I ever get back to painting, Real life work transitions... Adulting
Jan 31, 2020 16:23:29 GMT
factoriatabletop: sgtslag...oh man! you are right about it...
Mar 3, 2020 10:13:15 GMT
Draklith: Hey everyone just a quick stop by to see if anyone is still here, hope everyone is doing ok
May 26, 2020 18:27:20 GMT
sgtslag: This forum seems to be slowing down. I hope everyone is still crafting, safely! I will be here until they turn off the power... Cheers!
May 27, 2020 13:46:43 GMT
factoriatabletop: maybe we should try to make a contest here, between us
Jun 2, 2020 8:40:08 GMT
factoriatabletop: no prizes, just proud....dont know, anyone else?
Jun 2, 2020 8:40:40 GMT
sgtslag: Still unpacking after moving in October... Too much stuff, crafting materials are mostly still in boxes. Weekends are busy with life, so little progress made. Getting the urge to push through, though, soon. I have several projects waiting...
Jun 2, 2020 20:14:39 GMT
erho: Yeah I'm down for a painting contect
Jun 8, 2020 14:28:59 GMT
sgtslag: Started working on making hills, which match my Tee-Time carpet I use for my "grass mat," on my gaming table, for big battles. Got two long chunks of open-cell foam, from a friend. Used my Proxxon Hot Wire Cutter to make terrain hills out of them.
Jul 26, 2020 20:12:40 GMT
sgtslag: Came up with around 80 hills. Covering them with the same carpet, from scraps. They will match the tabletop, perfectly. Contact Cement, is my friend. Will post on it, when I get the pictures uploaded. Some prototypes done, as proof-of-concept...
Jul 26, 2020 20:14:06 GMT
randywest: does anyone know more manufacturers for 1/72 fantasy minis besides Dark Alliance, Caesar and Elhiem?
Sept 14, 2020 14:16:19 GMT
sgtslag: 50 Hills completed, 24 left to cover the sides on. Hoping to finish this project within the week. Then I'll post a build description. For war gaming, but it can cross over to RPG sessions... They match the ground 'cloth', perfectly.
Sept 19, 2020 19:03:09 GMT
sgtslag: Sorry, randywest, the listed makers are the only ones I know.
Sept 19, 2020 19:03:34 GMT
sgtslag: Ran out of Hot Glue, with only five hills left to add a skirt to the sides of. Wal-Mart closes at 8:00 PM, thanks to COVID. GRRRrrr! Another 30 minutes of work, and I would have been done: ~77 hills, modular, perfectly matching my table's ground cloth!
Sept 23, 2020 2:50:39 GMT
sgtslag: Will post a write-up soon, or after next week's vacation. Cheers!
Sept 23, 2020 2:51:57 GMT
sgtslag: Hoping to acquire a Chop Saw within the next two weeks. Then I will cut up MDF into triangles, to form the skeleton of my d20 fantasy world globe... Posting will follow, with how-to guide. Cheers!
May 11, 2021 22:57:40 GMT
erho: I have a confession: I havnt painted a thing in months because I got a new guitar(#8!) but now that May "Megadeth month" is over I have a repaired airbrush and a early 90's Ral Partha Amethyst dragon on the table... pics to come soon!
Jun 11, 2021 17:49:58 GMT
margaret: too bad you can't post your music here =). Hadn't seen that dragon - looks like it came out when all my cash was going to raising kids. Looking forward to seeing your paint choices!
Jun 12, 2021 2:41:42 GMT