Thursday, March 28, 2013

Art Department survival Kit

Being on set is often a whirl wind of activity, and you never really know what kind of challenges are going to await you once you get going. To really succeed in the the art department you should have a well stocked bag of tricks to help you get through the day. Here are the items I want to have with me while working a set.

As you are about to notice I tend to over-pack. Being usually one of perhaps three art department members I feel it is part of my job to come prepared to handle anything that gets thrown my way. so I will divide the list into sections

  1. My ipad/iphone and charger which covers the following necessities:
    1. A digital camera for continuity pictures
    2. A copy of the script
    3. A copy of the shot list
    4. A copy of the shooting schedule
    5. access to email during the day
  2. A leatherman or other multitool
  3. level
  4. metal ruler
  5. LED flashlight or key-chain light
  6. Head lamp
  7. work gloves
  8. broom
  9. dust pan
  10. vacuum or dust buster
  11. duster
  12. oxi clean
  13. bucket
  14. sponge
  15. windex
  16. bleach spray
  17. Paper towels
  18. cough drops - for those moments during filming when you just can't keep the cough away through will power
  19. sharpies, markers, pens, pencils (2B+)
  20. power bars - to help get through the 6 hours or more between breaks
  21. large umbrella
  22. lint roller
  23. seam ripper
  24. hand sanitizer
  25. first-aid kit
    1. band-aids
    2. gauze rolls
    3. gauze pads
    4. alcohol pads
    5. nitrile gloves
    6. medical tape
    7. benadryl
    8. aspirin
    9. neosporin
    10. tweezers
    11. poison ivy wipes
  26. a small sewing kit
    1. black safety pins
    2. various colored threads
    3. scissors
    4. needles
    5. Velcro - sticky backed
  27. Tape
    1. black and white gaff
    2. masking
    3. multiple rolls of different colored electrical tape
    4. crystal clear packing tape
    5. double stick tape
    6. mounting tape
    7. black painters tape
    8. generic painters tape
    9. duct tape
  28. Glue
    1. super glue
    2. Elmer's glue
    3. spray 77
    4. glue stick
Items for your own comfort:
  1. rain coat
  2. spare coat
  3. extra pair of shoes and socks
  4. sunglasses
  5. camping sized adjustable folding table
  6. folding chair or stool
  7. insect repellent
  8. sun screen

Items to keep nearby - in the art van etc.
  1. A basic paint kit 
    1. black spray paint
    2. acrylic paints: black, white, red, yellow, blue
    3. variously sized paint brushes
    4. water bottle just for paint water
    5. rubber and dirty down spray
    6. dulling spray
  2. trash bags
  3. command picture hanging hooks and strips
  4. extra batteries - for when that darn prop decides it's done
  5. small fire extinguisher
  6. lighters and box of kitchen matches
  7. W-D 40
  8. measuring tape
  9. laptop and printer
  10. paper to print on
  11. spare ink
  12. extension cords
  13. work light - preferably battery powered
  14. clamps
  15. bungee cords
  16. rope
  17. cutting mat
Tools you will be grateful to have if you need them:
  1. safety glasses
  2. particle masks / respirator
  3. moving blankets
  4. furniture dolly
  5. tarps
  6. screw drivers - Phillips and flat head
  7. hack saw
  8. wire cutters
  9. allen wrench multitool 
  10. container of nails and screws
  11. cordless drill and charger
  12. drill bits
  13. circular saw
  14. dremmel with bits
  15. hair dryer
  16. sandpaper
  17. sculpty clay
  18. putty knife
  19. spackle
  20. exat-o blades and handle
  21. box cutter
  22. scissors
  23. fuller's earth
  24. steel wool
  25. wire
  26. tea bags - for aging
  27. ziplocks
  28. post-it lables
And even with all of this - I still feel like I'm missing things. Any suggestions?


  1. Thank you for sharing this, it's been a great help to run it by my own check list. I think you are missing a metal ruler, cutting mat, dulling spray, 2B + pencils, rubber and dirty down spray (quicker than tea bag ageing and has more of an authentic effect).

  2. Ooo good additions. I'm going to add them to the list.

  3. Thanks so much for this! Going to use it as my own check list. A few additional items though: fishing line/ mono filament, zip ties, small steamer and a hot glue gun :)

  4. Any tips for how to keep it all organized?

  5. I just added a small air compressor to our kit. I really want a cordless reciprocating saw. Incredibly handy. You also should add a few tools for greens, like lopping sheers and a rake. Darn leaves in the shot.

  6. I keep the bulk of my kit in a fatmax rolling caddy--fits most small things except I keep cleaning products separate in a rubbermaid bin (ADD MAGIC ERASERS!!) and my spray paint kit (which includes moviepaint and mirror finish spray) separate. For shoots that may require construction I highly recommend a power multitool with a drill, sander, reciprocating saw, and jigsaw blade attachment...mine is a RIGID brand that also fits dremel attachments and you can buy the attachments separately as needed--takes up much less space than all those tools would and because it plugs in I'm not having to deal with the battery issue except for my impact driver.

  7. Thank you for this! Magic kit


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  9. One thing I use to keep organized is a ZUKA bag meant for hairdressers. Great compartments, on wheels, and you can sit on it during production.

  10. What's your usual weekly kit fee?