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Small things: making miniatures

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This post will my first post about miniatures. I got my first dolls’ house when I was four and have loved miniatures ever since. I like making small pieces for them but it is a tricky thing to do because of the small scale. This post is mainly based around pictures of miniatures, just to give a taster of the miniature world.

The first picture shows a mixture of bought and found things. The frame came from a Christmas cracker, the globe is a pencil sharpener and the rucksack used to belong to a Bratz doll. The ‘diploma’ in the frame was cut from a card. Moving on to the handmade things, the rug is made of plaited wool scraps. I sewed it in a coil and edged the rug with green beads. It should be backed with weighting fabric but I don’t know where to buy it. The chair and footstool were made according to instructions in The New Dolls’ House Do-It-Yourself Book by Venus and Martin Dodge (D&C). They are not difficult and the materials can be adapted. The footstool is supposed to be made in wood but I did it with the top of a champagne cork. The laptop is my favourite piece because it is simple but effective. It is two rectangles of thin cardboard with the screen and keys drawn in marker.

Handmade miniatures

The hardworking student

The chair and footstool that I showed previously make a second appearance in a different setting. The book is handmade, but not by me. I bought it at the RDS Craft Fair from a stall selling a wide variety of small books. They are hand sewn and can really be written in. Chris has a pair of even smaller ones attached to earring hooks. The piano is a little music box that only plays one tune. The flowers in the pot and the vase are made of flower shaped beads with wire stems. The vase is a wooden bead, the end filled with blue-tack to help it stand and the pot was once one of the cups that come with medicine bottles. I painted it, filled it with Plasticine, inserted the flowers and topped it with real moss, sprayed with hairspray. The screen is actually a piece of plastic material, with a kind of furry surface that I cut from the box my hairdryer came in. It is not hinged, merely bent into shape and the pictures are just stickers.

A collection of miniatures

Ladies and hats

And now we come to the hats. I love making dolls’ hats, there are so many ways to be creative with them! The left hand one is three pieces of white felt stitched together for the crown, band and brim. There is a length of white and green beads around the band. The other hat looks like straw, but is actually white paper raffia. It is more of a cloche hat, the reason being that I found it difficult to made a brim with the raffia. The bow on the hat is also paper raffia. Last of all there is the outfit worn by the doll in the armchair. It is a skirt and top of stretchy, mushroom coloured fabric. The top was supposed to be long, but kept rolling up, so I arranged it to be tucked up instead. I like the wide sleeves, but I have to confess that the neck is not hemmed, I quailed at the thought of the task. The skirt is very inexpertly gathered, but you can’t see that under the top. Oh, and the carpet. It was a piece of felt that came with a bead kit. I drew a marker design on the plain side and because of the trimmed edges, iI think it looks rather effective.

Raffia and feathers

Grocery shopping

There is not as much to say about the next picture (I can hear the sighs of relief). The doll on the left wears an apron made of a piece of a patterned handkerchief. The basket in the middle is made using the same technique as the ‘straw’ hat. The handles are plaited raffia. The doll on the right wears a blue felt coat and a matching hat. This hat is made in quite a different way to the others. I soaked a piece of felt in wallpaper paste and shaped in over a mould, then cut the brim to shape. The hat is trimmed with a purple feather and blue and purple beads. The bag is red felt with a small button and a leather strap.

'Found' items

The Captain’s kit

This picture is a small collection of ‘found’ items. In my book, ‘found’ items are things that you use for a different purpose than the one they were made for. Except for the book, all the things in this picture go along with that. The compass is actually a cuff link, again bought at the RDS Craft Fair. The clock and the keys were originally earrings, from Claire’s. The bunch of keys just needed the hook taken off but the clock was more difficult. It was a stud earring and I couldn’t get the shaft off so I folded it in instead. There are lots of cool things you can find on earrings and other jewellery so it’s worth having a look in an accessory shop for useful pieces.

Handmade miniatures

The hat shop

The last photo shows two more hats. Again, these are three pieces of felt sewn together. The purple hat is trimmed with ribbon and a rose shaped bead, the white with a bead and some stiff string. The basket is plaited paper raffia sewn together. Inside, there are lengths of cotton and two pins, for knitting needles. The little books are supposed to be look-books or catalogues for a hat shop. The pictures are real photos that I took of my hats worn by ‘models’. They were printed out small and stuck together to make a book.

That’s all the pictures done now, I hope you are inspired for your own small projects!

Have you made any miniatures, got any techniques or ideas? Please share them in the comment box…

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