5 Fantastic Uses for Poster Putty


Most of you reading this will likely already be familiar with Poster Putty (Blu Tack, Fun-Tak, Duck Putty, it goes by dozens of brand names). This is a non-drying, low-tack mounting putty that was originally designed to hold posters on walls. But there is so much else you can do with it. Because it’s cheap, reusable, low-tack, leaves little-to-no residue, and much more, it is perfect for all sorts of diverse applications. Certain hobby communities, such as scale-modelers and tabletop gamers, long ago made poster putty a staple of their toolboxes.

As Helping Hands

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One of the great uses for poster putty is as a holder for small objects while you work on them. You can stick parts into a blob of it that you are gluing together, parts you want to paint or otherwise treat, and you can use it as an impromptu tool/parts holder/pin cushion. And, as is demonstrated in the above video from DIY Guitar Pedals, you can use it in place of conventional helping hands in electronics assembly. You can press PCBs right down on it and it won’t usually leave any visible residue. You’ll obviously want to clean your board afterwards, but you would do that anyway. Once you start to incorporate the use of this material into your electronics bench workflow, you’ll likely find yourself grabbing it over the hands in many situations.

As a Mask

posterPutty_2aposterPutty_2bPoster putty is widely used in modeling applications as a mask. You can use it as quick and dirty masking material for airbrushing and other painting (say, to cover an airplane cockpit canopy) and in creating pretty effective, organic camouflage masks. You can also use it to cover areas that will be accepting glue later on so that you’re not gluing painted parts together. Tabletop Minions has a brief introduction video on using poster putty in model-making. In the above images, you can see the dramatic effect achieved by covering areas of this demon model’s wings for airbrushing.

As a Prototyping/Test-Fitting Tool

posterPutty_4Poster putty can be extremely useful when you want to test-fit/test assemble almost anything, from plastic models to wooden furniture. You can do all of the joining with poster putty, make sure everything is how you want it, and then permanently glue it. Modelers use the putty all the time for this purpose. In the above image and video, wargames blogger Teri Litorco shows how she worked out a running gate for her Warhammer 40,000 Tau Battlesuit model using poster putty.

As a Screw Holder

posterPutty_3If you have a situation where you can’t hold a screw in one hand and a driver in the other, just put a little blob of poster putty on the head of the screw and let it hold the screw on the tip of the driver while you drive the screw. [Image via a WikiHow on this tip.]

As a Vibration Stabilizer

Sticky-tac-on-picture-frame5As this little tutorial on the Simple is Pretty blog explains, even if you don’t use poster putty to hang a picture, you can still use it on the bottom corners of the frame to hold the frame in place so that vibration doesn’t make it crooked. This type of adhesive is also known as museum putty because it can also be used to secure objects on a shelf so that vibration doesn’t knock them off. I image that poster putter is especially popular for this application in earthquake zones.

There are so many other uses for this material. What are some of the ways that you use poster putty? Please share in the Comments.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

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