Sunday, 30 December 2012


This is a very simple project. In the very beginning of my miniature making, I made a bucket for my Victorian kitchen from a milk container, just painting it metallic. I used a piece of wire and a bit of a cotton top for handle. This time I wanted some colourful buckets for my modern kitchen. In particular, I wanted an orange bucket like the one I have in my 1:1 kitchen.

I painted them with acrylic paint and used coloured paper clips for handles.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Another use of printer

Apart from printing out miniatures from printie sites, you can print other things, for instance specific book covers. I have made books with covers I found in magazines and catalogues, but I have always chosen books that I would have in 1:1. Still, there are lots of books I own and like that I haven't found covers for, so the books I have in my various houses and room boxes do not quite reflect my book preferences.

For my yarn shop project I need knitting books. I tried to save images from amazon, but when I resized them they became blurred. I tried to print out direct from amazon page, but the images were too large. I then took the page with "Recently seen" where images are smaller. It worked well. I printed out the covers and made fake books in the usual way.

Then I made something I had wanted to make for a long time: miniatures of some of my own books.


During the five years (almost on the day) of my miniature making, I resisted printing out things from the web. Fair enough, I have searched every site that offers printies, for the same purpose I search online stores: to get ideas. I once printed out a pattern for making a shoe box, which was very helpful. But being primarily a recycler, I felt that printing out a book row or a painting or a wine-bottle label is less challenging than finding it in a magazine or catalogue. I still feel the same, but I have allowed myself to persuade myself that perhaps some things might be fun to print out, and that they would still demand some work.

Anyway, my children gave me a colour printer for Christmas. I haven't been out of the house since then so I haven't got the right paper. I have printed on standard printer paper and, where necessary, glued onto card. All these printies come from the same site, that I highly recommend, Jim's Printable Minis.

Now, honestly, all these I could have made myself. In fact, I have made very similar miniatures. I have made both fake books and books that you can open and fake rows of books (see for instance this and this and this). I have a hat box, exactly like this one, in my Victorian house, made from a flowery greeting card. I haven't made envelopes, because I haven't needed them (and I still don't know what to do with them). 

Lesson learned? It is fun to try various techniques for miniature making. I will go on searching sites with printables and perhaps discover things I hadn't thought about before I had a colour printer. For instance, I can now make miniatures of my own books. But this is another story.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Making a display cabinet

Our youngest daughter came to stay over Christmas, and of all places in and around Cambridge she wanted to visit a yarn shop. I used to knit a lot so I understand the passion. She, on the other hand, understands my miniature passion, and suddenly it conflated into an idea for a new room box: a miniature yarn shop. By coincidence, we passed the wine store where my husband sometimes gets wine boxes for me, and see, they did have one nobody yet had claimed (they are in demand!), so fate would have it that the same day I started a new room box. So far there is little to share, but I made a display cabinet exactly like the one they had in the 1:1 shop. Frankly, until then I had never noticed how yarn is displayed in shops.

I rummaged through my collection of recyclables and found a cigar box. My daughter suggested that I paint it white, but I thought there was a nice old wooden feel to it.

 To insert shelves, I used craft sticks as runners.

I cut the shelves from my indispensable venetian blinds. In the middle of each shelf, I glued small craft sticks (of the kind that pretend to be matches). Then I put in diagonal shelves. I didn't even have to glue them.

When I put in yarn, colour-sorted, it looked very natural. It is embroidery yarn which my daughter showed me how to twist, just as they do with wool skeins. I then used the original paper bands to wrap around small balls which I made from loose yarn and wool threads.The knitting needles are toothpicks.

Friday, 21 December 2012


Some time ago I found a toy shop in Germany that had lovely wooden educational toys that I couldn't resist. I knew they were wrong scale and wrong style, but I bought them anyway.

Some things actually fit quite nicely in my modern kitchen. I put the packages into shelves, some as they were, some with new labels, cut from catalogues. I also put labels on bottles to make ketchup and cooking oil.

I put the cutlery in a stand, it doesn't really matter that the scale is wrong. The fruit and vegies are almost ok. I use the red tumblers for flower pots. But it wasn't an essential buy. Most of the things I could make myself.

When I buy things, very often I make them over in some way. This set of bottles came in a larger lot. I am sure anyone who is into miniatures has seen them.

What I did was merely change labels: again, I cut them from a wine catalogue. It makes a huge difference. And they are guaranteed unique.

Sunday, 16 December 2012


Simple clocks are easy and fun to make. The best way is to use a metal bottle cap:

I cut clock faces from catalogues. They always show ten to two, which I think is for symmetry. There are printable clock faces on the web, in any style and size, but as you know, I am a recycler. I have experimented with various ways to make simple clocks, using plastic rings, bottle caps and buttons. I use transparent file binders for "glass".

But if you want something more fancy, there is another well-known technique: tin can rings. 

Again, I cut the faces from a catalogue. In the small openings I glued tiny real watch cogs. I think the effect is stunning. All in all it took me no more than an hour to make. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Making things from kits

If you have followed my blog you know that I prefer making things myself, recycling rubbish and finding all kinds of uses for useless objects. But a couple of times I went to a dollhouse store not far away from where I live, and then I cannot resist the temptation and buy kits to build more advanced things. For instance, I made a cake stand from kit.


I also made a rotating bookshelf.

There isn't much challenge in such projects. It looks nice, but anyone can say that it is made from kit. Yet they make good addition to a crammed Victorian living room.


This is a very simple project. I used the inside of a chocolate box. The bows are from a hobby shop.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Miniature picturebooks, part 2

In my previous post, I showed how I made a picturebook with strips of pictures I found in a magazine. You are not always so lucky so I have used a similar technique when I only had single pictures. These come from a course catalogue, and I chose those that I liked and arranged them in a sequence that made sense: it starts with antiquity, through Middle Ages, art, music, nature, astronomy and all the way to computers and neuroscience. Then I glued them onto thin paper to make strips.

 Otherwise, I made the book exactly the same: folded the strips and glued pages back to back. 


 Then I made the cover and the jacket, and glued the pages into the cover.

 This is the finished book.

Miniature picturebooks

I have written about how I made fake books and bookshelves. But I have also made books that open and have pictures. For one of them, I was lucky to find a magazine that had three strips of square pictures. I cut out the strips and folded them:

Then I glued the pages back to back, except the first and the last one.

I made a cover from a piece of card and cut the jacket from handmade Japanese paper somebody had given me.

I folded the jacket and glued it onto the cover. I learned how to do this from a dollhouse magazine. They had cut-out pages and jacket, but you had to cut the cover.

Next I made endpapers - and I used handmade paper I made myself from plants (that's another hobby I have)

Then I glued the pages into the cover. I also found a suitable title page in a book catalogue

 And here is the finished book

Sunday, 9 December 2012


 Buttons are real treasures for a miniature maker. They can be used for so many different things. Here are some ideas.

 Large metal buttons with crests can be... well, crests, if you have this type of house.

Small metal buttons can be picture frames. You can also paint a plastic button to become a frame.


They can be used as plates, or made into clocks. They can be bases for decorative urns. Or cat food bowls.