Common Architect Supplies and Where to Find Them

As an architect, there is a high level of manual practice involved in creative drawing and building models. Getting a decent set of tools comprising of all the basic essentials makes it easy and more accurate for you to get the job done. 

Drawing tools

Even though computers have taken most of our industries by a storm, many architects still enjoy drawing their layouts and designs by hand before they transfer them onto a computer. When drawing up plans for buildings, you require drafting pencils in varying widths, pans, markers and erasers. Sketchbooks are required to hold the designs in, and tracing or blue print papers may also come in handy. Following is the list of specific pencils and papers that are commonly used:

  • A4/A3 cartridge sketchpad with removable pages (minimum of 80gsm)
  • A1 cartridge paper
  • A1/A2/A3 layout paper/Tracing Paper/ Butter Paper rolls
  • 0.5 Automatic pencil
  • Selection of traditional pencils 2B-6B for shading work and loose design development
  • Plastic eraser
  • Eraser shield 

Measuring tools

Measuring lengths, breaths and angles is a very important component of architecture and ensuring their accuracy is as crucial. Architects utilize several different tools while drafting their designs for state of the art buildings and offices. These tools include triangular scales, compasses, bows, parallel gliders and rulers. Specific details of different variety of these tools is as follows: 

  • T Square for accurate lines perpendicular to page
  • Adjustable Set square
  • Tape measure
  • Architectural scale ruler
  • Metal ruler (for cutting)
  • Scalpel or craft knife ( essential that the blade is sharp and kept sharp, blunt knives cause you to press too hard-lose control)

Cutting tools

Many architects require to draw scale models of their designs using various materials to check if their measurement are accurate and their calculations are right. Since finesse and clean margins demonstrate skill and expertise, it is essential to use special cutting tools which include precision knives and straight edges. A cutting mat placed under the paper, protects the work surface from getting damaged. 

Building material  

This category includes a variety of different building materials to make models, sculptures and infrastructure. 

Concrete is the most widely used building material in construction whereas wood is one of the oldest, most traditional building material in construction and furniture both. Steel, plastics and stone all add to the list and come in handy, if you are thinking to be super creative with your designs. Other materials also used include textiles, glass, bricks, Kevlar and bamboo. 


Several other tools are required for specific projects depending upon their requirements and complexity. These include:

  • Lockable tool box
  • Tippex style pen or Sharpie for naming your equipment
  • A1 portfolio for storing and protecting your work
  • UHU or cheap superglue
  • PVA glue
  • Dress makers pins for putting up work
  • 0.3 Automatic pencil
  • 0.7 Automatic pencil
  • 0.35, 0.5, 0.7 Rotring drawing pens. Expensive but produce a perfect black line
  • Basic set of water colors (for sketching)
  • Basic set of gouache paints
  • Basic set of Acrylic paints (for models)
  • Plasticote spray (for models)
  • Spraymount, for putting your work onto sheets, and for putting your sheets onto presentation board
  • Eraser stencil (useful for accurate rubbing out)
  • Scaled circle, elipse and architectural element stencils
  • Tack hammer for putting work on walls
  • Cheap pliers for removing pins
  • Graph paper
  • A3/A4 layout paper for developing designs
  • Long metal ruler for cutting
  • A bradawl tool - a tool with a small point
  • Foamex is tricky to get hold of but is an excellent modeling material as it’s easy to cut to a clean edge and doesn’t get glue marks and is available in 1,2, 3, 4, and 5mm thicknesses

Architect supplies are most commonly available at art store in your area or you can order them online on sites like Amazon and eBay. You can also look for Facebook pages that sell supplies specifically for architect students and professionals. Hopefully, this article helps you learn more about common architect supplies and where to find them.

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