I use lots of minis and terrain in my Dungeons & Dragons games, which means a lot of shopping for supplies. Much of this comes from places you may expect: Amazon, Michael's, Reaper, and local game stores. But nobody matches the bang for your buck you can find at Dollar Tree.
If you're not already aware, everything is exactly $1. They have a diverse selection of cheap crap for sale, and I often walk out of there with tons of materials I wasn't expecting to purchase when I walked in. Here are some of my favorites.
I just have to start with foam board. I wouldn't be shocked if I've bought a hundred sheets of this from the Dollar Tree. This is quite literally the foundation of all my dungeon tiles. And DT foam board is actually better than more expensive kinds found at Michael's or the grocery store. I'm not sure if it's intentional, or just cheaply made, but the paper backing on the dollar foam board easily peels off, which lets you do all sorts of cool things texturing and cutting the foam. This is so important I'd almost do an entire post all about foam board.
Tools And Materials
Full disclosure: when I say that Dollar Tree items are cheap, that's often meant in every sense of the word. They're definitely cutting corners where they can and so I hesitate to recommend going cheap on something you're going to use over and over again. However, the acrylic ruler I bought at Michael's has gotten gouged up a bit on the edge, and I doubt this one I just bought for a buck is going to get ruined significantly quicker. I also need really sharp knife blades for crafting and the dollar tree box cutters work surprisingly well, with a few backup blades included. The plastic measuring cups I use for plaster work fine, and they have tons of different storage containers for organizing your supplies
The main thing I would caution you about purchasing here is anything on a roll. Tape, aluminum foil, things of that nature. They're not mislabeled or anything, but every time I've purchased something of this sort, it's run out way quicker than I was expecting. That being said, I can't wait to check out these flat parchment paper sheets for my wet pallet instead of using rolled up paper.
Toys, Toys, Toys
The toys you find at Dollar Tree are about as far from highly detailed pewter miniatures as you can get, but there are definitely useful finds. I bought ten sets of sea creatures and now I have a whole school of giant octopi and sharks. If I ever have the time, these could even be repainted and dressed up a bit.
I spent less than half an hour painting these two pieces from a cowboy play set and think they came out pretty good. The wagon actually looks way better than one I crafted myself. Did I mention the wagon wheels turn? ONE DOLLAR.
I don't think online shopping will ever replace brick and mortar store for myself, because I often don't know exactly what I'm looking for. I knew I needed some metal grates for an upcoming project, and after what I found at Home Depot didn't work out how I wanted, I found this organizer at Dollar Tree. A few cuts with metal snips later, and I had exactly what I needed.
Same thing with these violet fungi models. I happened to see some rubber earbud cushions and got inspired to craft these. I used those for the caps, thumbtacks for the stalks, and paper clips for the tentacles.
This hobby can get pretty expensive once you start taking the plunge into a more three-dimensional gaming experience, but that doesn't mean you can't find a few cheap options. And this is my favorite place to wander and be inspired for new projects. Do you have any good Dollar Tree finds?