Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The joy of making

It is strange how miniature making goes in cycles. I started by making as much as possible myself. (Now, ten years later, I know that everything is possible, with right materials and tools, and a lot of practice). Then at some point I got hooked on kits, and I have now made over fifty pieces. In between, I had periods when I again was obsessed by making, recycling and upcycling. And of course making the Adam table from scratch gave me confidence. So after complaining about how bad I am with chairs, I decided to make a chair. A slat back chair.

I once used turned chopsticks to make a Tudor stool, and I had some of these chopsticks left. So they were my point of departure.

I am really, really bad at cutting even pieces so I was extra careful. (Of course you can always sand if the legs are not quite right).

I made slats from coffee stirrers (what else?). The picture shows three stages: a cut piece, square pegs and rounded pegs. I also sanded the top of the slat to make a slight curve. 

Then I drilled holes with a pin vise. Now, if someone told me ten years ago that I would be drilling holes in chopsticks I would laugh. And here I am. Doing it absolutely voluntarily, in my precious spare time. And my, did it take time! But the best thing about making miniatures is that you have all the time in the world.

For spreaders, I used toothpicks. As you see, I didn't quite manage to get the holes right, but I will pretend it's intentional, to emphasise that it is handmade and one of a kind.

This was the tricky part, just as with the kits. The spreaders kept coming off. Patience and more patience.

But it did look like a chair when I finished gluing. A bit wobbly, but not bad for the first attempt.

I wanted to try some interesting finish on this miniature so to begin with I painted it brown.


Then I painted it over with two coats of light blue paint which I had over from an earlier project. I let the paint dry well between coats and after the second coat. Then I sanded it with fine-grained sandpaper to produce a worn effect.

I made a paper template for the seat and cut out the seat from embroidery canvas. It didn't matter that it was not even because I still needed to trim it before gluing.

Finished! You almost cannot see that some spreaders are crooked, and if you can, it is, as I have already suggested, part of the charm.

Compare the two chairs.

Lessons learned: Firstly, I really can make anything. ANYTHING. What a boost for self-esteem! And what I cannot make yet, I can learn. Secondly, this project was a hasty one. I just wanted the test in principle where it was doable. Now that I know it is, next time I will be more careful, make sure that all holes are right, that the slats fit in better, and so on. Practice makes the master. Keep coming back, and you will see me making progress.


  1. Great project. It came out great. All you have to do is have the bravery to try new things and even if you don't get it right the first time the second or third time will surely be a charm. You nailed it though. Thanks for sharing!

  2. wow! I am so impressed. I would never have thought of doing this.

    A thought for gluing the slats in, I've found that my magnetic gluing jig really helps to keep everything in place while glue dries.

  3. What a wonderful chair to make, and yours turned out so lovely! It really is fun to see little bits and pieces turn into something marvelous, isn't it?