What's your favorite VBS set or VBS build?
What's your favorite set building material?
What didn't work?
Any tricks of the set building trade you wouldn't mind sharing?
We use a lot of foam insulation board (our non-technical term). It takes latex house paint and craft paint very well, cuts easily, and is lightweight to carry. You can also glue it to wooden frames or to itself using Loctite All Purpose Construction Adhesive. The sheets are 4' X 8' and come in either .5" or 2" thicknesses. Check out your local home improvement store for both.
We like to use a carpenter's knives (box cutters) with retractable blades, jig saw's and hack saw blades to cut or form our foam insulation boards. We also use hot knives and hot wire knives. Here's a link for the hot knife: http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/Item/ST1438/page/1
Here's a link for the hot wire: http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/Item/ST1435/page/1
You may find them cheaper elsewhere. Just Google "hot knife" or "hot wire knife." We ordered our knives from the above links a few years ago and I must admit - the prices have gone up!
Also, you can hit the foam board, especially the Styrofoam, with a hot gun. It melts the Styrofoam slightly creating great effects while also making it easier to paint. Here's the link to one - and it has hot knives too. http://www.harborfreight.com/professional-heat-gun-with-digital-temperature-settings-97114.html
PEEL THE THIN PLASTIC OFF THE FOAM BOARD BEFORE YOU PAINT.
For free set building material, you might also want to check out local furniture stores and carpet stores. Many of them will let you dumpster dive for cardboard, big chunks of styrofoam or used carpet rolls.
Thanks and let us know you thoughts!