You are visitor
This month I am going to continue on the shop theme. What is the number two (after a
miniature shop, of course)
fantasy store of all miniaturists? A well stocked Craft shop, of course! The average
(and above average) DIY'er can get lost in the creative possibilities when
surrounded by kilometers of ribbon and tule, kilograms of buttons and turnings,
and liters of paint and gesso. Ah, it just gets my blood running just thinking about it!
- Every craft store needs books. You can find in scale book covers for craft
DIY projects in almost any craft magazine, or in some junk mail. Select the
craft covers you want, cut them out. Glue a pile (about seven pieces) of cardstock together (slightly larger than the cover),
and then glue on the cover on top of that. When dry, simply cut around craft cover with a sharp exacto knife.
They are now ready to be put into a nice display rack.
- Fabric bolts are something nice to fill up a wall and add color to your shop. Choose several small scale fabrics, and cut into
strips of the right height. Cut matching pieces of thin cardboard (shirt insert cardboard or cereal boxes are nice) for the center.
Apply glue to cardboard, and wrap fabric strips around cardboard several times. Secure with a bit of glue. You can also make lace, tule, ribbon
spools the same way.
- Glue bottles and the like can be made from very simple fimo shapes or lengths of thin wood dowels, painted, and labelled. Whereas it is nice to cut out labels from
ads and the like, why not make up your own? Just design a label on a piece of paper, and have it it reduced and duplicated at the local copy place, or
do it on a computer program, size for your bottles and print it up on a color printer. It is an easy way to personalize a project, especially if you
use family member's names on the products!
- Many craft stores carry cardboard animals/boxes/statues that are meant to be covered with fabric or fancy papers.
Very simple shapes can easily be shaped out of model medium, or look for children's three dimensional
plastic beads. I have seen cats and scotty dogs, but I imagine there are all sorts of
shapes out there. Just fill in any holes with a bit of model magic (or other air drying clay),
allow to cure. Then cover with a layer of gesso. Paint the critter cardboard brown, and put on a shelf with some
- Need thread spools? If you have wooden Q-tip sticks, or something about the same size in
wood, you are part way there. Mark off the top and bottom of the spool with pencil lines, and sand
in between until you get "spool". Cut the spool off the rest of the stick, finish off by winding
a bit of thread around it. Secure with a bit of glue. Embroidery floss skeins can be simulated
with single strand lengths of floss wrapped around a finger, and secured in the middle by a label.
Knitting needles an be simulated with metal pins (look for the round headed ones, they have a bit
more realism), or make a set of wooden ones from slivers of bamboo or sanded down toothpicks --paint or leave
natural. Balls of wool can be made from a styrofoam ball base (I used styrofoam picked from a bit of
packing material) and a bit of thin wool or embroidery cotton (matte works best). Embroidery loops
can be made from thin strips of natural colored cardstock bent into a circle using a dowel for a form.
- Craft stores often have models of crafts to entice you to buy the raw ingredients.
Faux cross-stitch pictures can be simulated with the ever popular magazine ad cut-out, with a simple frame.
Knit a small sample on small needles with punch embroidery yarn or another 1 1/2 ply
product. Make little "stuffed" animals from various size pom-poms. Go to your real
craft store and see if they have wooden cut-outs of animals and hearts. Paint these in a folk art style. Do the same
for small boxes. Remember the paper mach-whatsitsname in one of the earlier tips?
Why not make a completed animal, just for show? Just glue on fabric or thin paper onto a model,
seal with varnish and add eyes/bows/whatever.
- You might also want beading supplies. Try to find very teeny holeless beads, or make your own out of fimo.
Use sections of an empty ballpoint pen for containers, seal at one end, fill and seal the other end with a small
dollop of glue. Beading wire? Buy metallic thread and wind on one of your new spools.
This month I will give tips for the 1/4 Inch Scale Miniaturist.
- Furniture may seem daunting in this scale, but remember you are going
for illusion rather than structural accuracy.
- Beds can be as simple as stacked pieces
of balsa wood, covered with a scrap of small fabric (patterned or plain), headboards can be
cut out of thin wood or heavy cardboard. Bedposts can be created from toothpicks and beads. Bedside tables
can be created from a rectangle of stock, and cardboard (for drawer fronts) and beads (drawer pulls).
- Living room sets can be made from cheap plastic 1/4 inch kitchen chairs (one for an armchair, two
for a love seat, and three for a couch), or stacked pieces of wood and cardboard for a back.
Arms for the chairs can be made from tiny rolls of fabric. Cushions can be made from scraps of
leather, or make tiny forms from fimo and paint/upholster. You can also use other
pieces of cheap 1/4 inch furniture by scraping down bad spots if you need to, repainting it
to suit your setting, and then decorating around it. Need a coffee table? Think small pieces
of basswood(for a wooden table), toothpicks or small square stock. Mirrors can be found in the acrylic
button/stud section of the craft store.
- Need a flower pot? Try a bead. Need a plant? ferns can be made
by cutting very tiny pieces of green florist tape and arranging (remember less is more in this scale!).
A green plant? Draw a bit of glue along a piece of green embroidery floss and dip it into green foam (railway shops),
or simply cut pieces of "leaves" from green paper and arrange in your bead.
- Pictures are easier if you own a scanner, but if
you don't then keep an eye out for tiny "background" pictures in magazines, stamps and the like. Frames can be made from
thin wood, or jump rings (jewelry finding).
- Rugs can be scraps of fabric, scanned in real rug, a long crocheted chain of thread
glued to a piece of fabric. Carpets can be made from fabric or flocked paper. Wallpaper can be fabric or
wallpaper. Look around for this last one, as there are some real size paper that will work (I have done it, and it has
looked really nice).
- Windows can be made, or can be purchased from a railway store (ask for 1:48 scale items), as can doors.
Remember to browse these railway stores, as you might find trinkets and such to put on shelves and such!
- Food can be made from very small shapes of fimo and a bit of paint. Remember you only need the suggestion of a tomato or
something and the eye of your admirers will take it from there. Look around at the shape of seeds. You might see shapes that
"remind" you of something. Moon flower seeds, as an example, have been used to make small turkeys(with a bit of fimo help!).
- It is handy to get used to using tweezers and a magnifying glass, as most of 1/4 is hard on the eyes.
- Fireplaces can easily be made from foamcore. Corner fireplaces are easiest, because all you have to do is cut
a rectangle and cram it into a corner (I am SUCH a poet, nes pas?). Ok, so there is a little more to it.
Decide the look of your fireplace (brick/stone?) and draw the pattern onto the face of the fireplace, don't forget
to include the opening. Cut out opening, and score pattern into foamcore. Paint a subdued hue of what kind of stone/brick
you are going for. You will need to hide the fact that the fireplace is not really installed by ensuring that behind the
opening you do not see things like wallpaper or paint. I solved this problem by gluing a piece of black paper across the
back (if you want a little more depth, fold a little sleeve and then glue in). A "logs ready for fire" scenario can be created with some
splinters, a small grate made out of a bent piece of cardboard painted black.
- Remember to always be looking at small things, to see if they "remind" you of anything. I Found some
computer plugs that could have doubled for a jukebox (modern) if painted appropriately.
...And that is it. If you have an idea for a tips and hints section, please
write to me. So far I have done a few
reader's ideas, perhaps you can be next!
Please also check the archives , as there could be
an old theme that might jive with one of your own current projects!:)
if you have a good tip hint that you would like to share, don't hesitate to give me a
note about it,
You could become famous...
For older tips, check out the Mini
Back to home