Saturday, 30 December 2017

Really small things

Every now and then I feel a need to challenge myself.

I have recently made some teeny-tiny things of the kind that makes you feel proud and that only other miniature people can appreciate because everybody else just thinks you are crazy.

Some time ago I made a kitchen cabinet. In the top cabinet I have some pretty cups and plates, but I have nothing in the drawer, which is of course absolutely wrong. I have recently by mistake bought a bundle of very nice things, including a set of cutlery. Just the thing you put in a kitchen drawer, yes?

But you cannot just put cutlery in a drawer, can you? The mistress of the house would be furious. (I would be in my 1:1 kitchen). 


You need a divider. And I can finally sort the cutlery in the right order: spoons, forks, knives. My husband and I have different opinions on this, and to avoid conflicts, I let him win in out 1:1 kitchen. But in my miniature kitchen I can have it my way.

You may have noticed that there are other interesting items in this bundle, like tin openers and a corkscrew. Of course a Victorian house would not have prominent twentieth-century tin openers because there were no tins at the time. But corkscrews... Did Victorians use corkscrews? I have always said that you learn a lot from miniature-making. A corkscrew is a very old invention. And I have for a long time wanted to have a corkscrew for my cellarette. It fits perfectly in the drawer.


But wait a minute! I have actually wanted to make a corkscrew! Obviously, I won't throw this one away, but having it as a model, I can make another one. All we need is a spring, of the kind you find in ball-point pens, and I have saved tons of them.

 Cut a piece, then drill a hole in a toothpick... Yes, you heard it, drill a hole in a toothpick.

Put the spring through the hole and trim. Then cut the toothpick to appropriate length.

You know which one is the original and which I have just made.

Speaking of cutlery, I have recently made some knives from hard tin foil, of the kind you find on wine bottles. Here are the steps:

It needs patience, but it's fun. Here are some more, also forks and spoons (the two spoons on the right I just used as models. They are - or used to be - earrings) .

I made some pencils for the nursery. It's easy: paint toothpicks and cut to a suitable length. You need to cut off the tip of the toothpick because it doesn't look natural. The yellow lead pencils are for the master's study. 


For some drawers in various parts of the house I want old maps and newspapers. There are lots of free printies you can find on the web, but the trick is to get them look old and battered. There are many ways of doing this, and I asked my Facebook groups for advice. Some was more helpful than other, and I tested a bit of everything. It's well known that you age white paper with tea or coffee. I had to be careful, because my maps and newspapers were printed with ink that runs. I used a piece of cloth that I dipped in coffee and wrung out really hard, then dabbed the paper. Then I crunched it - again very carefully - into a ball and let it dry, then smoothed it with a bone folder. Sanded lightly on the folds. Tore the edges with my nails. I am very, very pleased with the results. 


The maps are truly old, while the newspapers are 20th century. However, the master of the house is a magician and time-traveler so he would clearly have 20th century newspapers hidden in his house, and only he knows that one day people will walk on the moon. Anyway, it was fun to make. Took maybe three hours all in all. This is what outsiders never understand: it takes a lot of time and effort to make miniatures. You cannot just cut out a printie or assemble a kit. And that's what I love about this hobby.

The final micro-mini I will show today also took me many hours and demanded attention and patience. Some time ago, someone on FB, again, shared nail art in form of fruit. I know that I will never be able to do anything like that (mind, I have said this about almost everything I have done), so I bought a set. It was shipped from China and cost almost nothing.


Now, being nail art, these slices are paper-thin. The first mistake I made was gluing paper-thin strawberries onto the cake (which is a bottle top). It does not look natural, but it's too late. Next, I made a plate of lemons, arranging them a bit on top of each other, to look more like slices of lemon. You do slice lemon very thin. But the rest - I tried this and that, but it became clear that the only way to produce a credible effect was to glue three to four slices together so that each piece would be about 2mm thick. Yes, it was messy, and yes, it took the time it took. But I think it was worth the trouble.

I am not sure whether I will leave it as it is, a fruit platter, or arrange it in some other way, for instance, making some whole or half fruit from clay. But this was a good start toward something I had never done before and that I might like to do more of.


  1. These are wonderful. I am not sure it is available where you live but I use Rangers Distress Ink for aging. It comes in a bottle or stamp pad.

  2. Thank you. I am a recycler so I like to make things from and with whatever is around rather than buying. Some supplies are of course necessary, like stain and paint.

  3. Thank you for sharing such great ideas. I am working on your corksrew now.