Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Miniatures

My sister was bemoaning the lack of magnets on her refrigerator recently.  I decided to leverage my new-found love of miniatures to make some cute (and functional) magnets.

The first completed magnet is The Cake from Portal:

portal cake

My version isn’t quite the same (missing one whipped cream/cherry, whipped cream is bigger on mine, and I want to find a better solution for the candle in the future), but I’m pretty pleased with the final result!

Just to prove it’s really a magnet, here it is sticking to my pasta machine:


I didn’t take pictures of the process, but basically what I did was use some crummy old clay for the base of the cake.  The ‘frosting’ is brown clay thinned with TLS, with black ‘craft sand’ mixed in for texture.  (This part took the longest to ponder over, but finally decided on the craft sand.  I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but it turned out quite nicely!)  The cherries are teeny red balls shaped with a pin and ball tool.  The whipped cream is plain white clay that I pressed into Floree mold and lightly pressed into the wet ‘frosting’.

Before I baked the cake, I assembled all the pieces, and poked a hole for the ‘candle’ (which is actually a toothpick painted white).  Oh, btw, I used a cork with a piece of wire on it to anchor the cake while I worked with it…my fingers were getting so messy, I took a que from cake decorating

After the cake baked and cooled, I dabbed glue on the bottom of the painted toothpick and jammed it into the hold in the center.

I ought to have made a hole at the bottom for the magnet to rest in, but after some quality time with a razor blade, I had a little round cavity for the magnet to rest in. 

I cut a circle out of matting board, and used a leather punch to make the divots around the edge (next time, I’ll measure them out, instead of ‘eyeballing’ it!), and painted the board a light tan color.

After the board dried, I just glued it all together with a strong white glue (hopefully is strong enough!), and I’m letting it sit before it goes to live on the fridge!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Campi Flowers

I more or less used this tutorial, with a few exceptions:  I didn’t have green wire on hand, so for now they’re on white wire, which I will paint later.  I also used thinner tissue paper, and dusted with pink chalk, rather than paint. 

I think they turned out quite dainty and pretty indeed. 


p.s.  I’m having an awful time trying to get my camera to focus on such tiny objects – any suggestions?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Campi Baskets

I’ve had a very productive day today making all kinds of miniatures for my Campi scene, some more successful than others.

I’m still struggling with getting colors the way that I want them, but I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that I need to just let it go and do the colors the way I want them.

One of my favorite pieces so far is this grape bucket.  It turned out so very much darker than I had intended, but I really love all the aging!  (Which is actually not at all like the portrait, but oh well…..)

Here’s my bucket, waiting for its grapes:


I’m more or less pleased with this basket, although I may paint my handle, as the colors don’t blend as well as I was hoping.  It’s very ‘plasticky’ looking.


And the wooden box.  Again, much more textured and aged than the picture, but I like it; it has character!  (I was going to fill in the corner, but I like the ‘broken’ look….I’m starting to get farther and farther away from the portrait….)


I’ve already blogged about the square baskets…..but I’ve made another one since then.


Just a reminder, here’s ‘The Fruit Seller’:

Miniature_Campi Fruit Seller

And here’s as far as I have gotten on the scene:

I ought to start think about how I am going to display my little scene.  Hmmmm.  Any opinions?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Campi Basket

I won’t go into all the detail of making my basket, as I (mostly) used the tutorial found here.

The biggest difference is 1, my basket is square, and 2, my basket is much, much larger, as seen in the Campi scene.


I used a cardboard form made out of a cut-up toothpaste box, taped and covered in tinfoil.

Some other deviations from the original tutorial: 
I didn’t use crochet thread, I used a 2-ply embroidery floss (as all my crochet thread I had on hand is the 3-4 ply kind).  This ended up as a happy accident, as my floss was an orange variegated floss, and I watered down the tan paint, there is a slight variation of color to the basket that is quite pretty, and doesn’t show up very well in the photograph.

I also didn’t drill tiny holes in the sides of my base, as I didn’t have any drill bits anywhere near small enough.  I know what she meant about the mat board ‘splitting’ when pushing the wire inside, but that was dealt with fairly easily by letting the glue dry under some weights.  (I need to work on my patience….I kept messing with it before the glue was completely dry, making the whole process much harder on myself than it ought to have been!)

I also didn’t do the ‘braided’ top or the handle.  To finish off the basket, I cut off the spokes just long enough to fold over and go back in the adjoining weave.  (If that makes any sense…..the method is particularly noticeable in the front edge of the front basket)

Anyway, without further ado, here is the first basket!


I thoroughly intend to stuff the bottom with foam or some sort of filler….there is no way I’m making that many peas to fill it up!



Also, note to self:  just because it’s tiny, doesn’t mean it doesn’t take just as long as it does to make it full size!  I severely underestimated the time it would take to complete this little project!

Campi Peaches


I hesitate to use the word “tutorial” for my “how-I-did-it” blog posts, since I am certainly not an expert, and only guessing and bumbling as I go!

That being said, here is how I ended up doing my peaches for the Campi scene…..

I mixed up a batch of yellowish clay.  I ought to have photographed, or at least written down my recipe.  From what I remember, it was about:

  • 1/2 translucent
  • 1/2 ecru
  • smidge of bright yellow

I rolled the clay into a log and sliced up into (fairly) regular pieces.  Then I rolled each log chunk into a ball.

The next few steps were a trial-and error process.  What I ended up doing was using a small ball-pointed tool to make the ‘stem divot’ (is there a name for that thing?)

Then, I rolled the ball of clay down the tool, starting the line down the middle of the peach.

The ball point tool was a bit too thick to create the entire line, so I used a needle tool to continue the line to the antipodes of the peach. 

And this picture isn’t part of the tutorial, I’m just proud of the way my little peaches look!

I used a mix of bright and dull red, and a peachy-pink for shading.  One thing I need to learn is how the baked product differs from the raw clay! 

Here are my pretty, blushy peaches, pre-baking, looking juicy and ready to bite into!


And here are the baked peaches.  While still quite pretty, are not what I was going for.  I liked the shading on the raw clay better.  The colors are more muted, and there isn’t quite the stark shading differences I was going for.  But, it’s all a learning experience, and all in all, I’m still quite happy with them, even if they turned out much more orange-tinged than I was aiming for.

I was going to do a couple of close up shots (or as close as I can get with my camera……it absolutely refuses to focus on things properly!), but I left my whole tub of miniatures over at my sisters’ house!  Ah well, next time!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Miniatures Project

My good friend Holly came up with a fabulous idea to do a medieval (or renaissance) dinner scene, but I was having a hard time coming up with a picture that had full tables – paintings and frescos of dinner and feast scenes seem to be fairly devoid of the heaping platters of food one imagines when thinking of such images!

However, there are plenty of paintings of the ‘lower classes’ selling all kinds of food, and quite a few kitchen scenes overflowing with all manner of foodstuffs.

After browsing through various paintings, I decided on “The Fruit Seller” by Campi. 

Miniature_Campi Fruit Seller

I picked this one because of the wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and the fact that there is only one ‘main character’!  (I’m still really nervous about doll making after my first, very poor attempt.)

I’m pretty excited about this project, and the best thing about it is there are quite a few different skills that I will be able to hone by going through the entire painting.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not quite a miniature, but done in Fimo!

There is a sweet gal at work that I wanted to make something for.  She wears bright pony bead bracelets, and she likes peace signs.... So I made some peace sign beads! Not the best quality in the world, but was a super fun learning project!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nerdy Crafting

Hubby wanted to get in on the Fimo action and suggested that we make tiny Angry Bird characters. We had a really fun time!

I made the green piggy, and he made the red bird..... There are plans to make the entire set, and potentially a whole Angry Bird scene!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Caning Project: Bananananananas!

I think I was a little bananas to try these for my first ever caning project!  Considering my extreme lack of experience, it could have turned out much much worse!

I used the instructions found in “Miniature Food Masterclass: Materials and Techniques for Model-Makers” by Angie Scarr.

I’ll start off with what I think I did right first (it’s a shorter list!)  I actually really like the color – it turned out really nice.  I am also happy with the scale, for the most part.

I didn’t make my initial ‘triangle’ fat enough, and what with all the squishing around and re-adjusting, one of my little sections got off-center.  Also, my little seeds have nearly disappeared into oblivion!  If you really, really look, you can see just a shadow of seed – next time (if I ever need a next time, considering how many I have now!) I will make the seeds 2-3x bigger.  However imperfect, I still think the finished product looks sufficiently banana-like!


One thing I didn’t quite anticipate was the enormous quantity of cane that it would produce!!!  I rolled out 1/4 of the initial cane, and I have SEVENTEEN, yes 1-7 uncut, soft cooked canes ready for slicing!  That doesn’t even include the 3/4 and 1/2 bananas!

I originally wasn’t planning on making full-fruit bananas, but realized as I was rolling out each of the smaller sections of canes, the ends were very easily manipulated into a convincing banana shape, and was no extra work to make them! 



One of my favorite YouTube "tutorialistas" did a wonderful cake video, and got me craving one of my own!

Using this tutorial, this is what I ended up with…..once again, I’m reminded I need to work on my texturing….hers is so much more delicate and realistic!  Next time, I’m going to try to make the fondant and the filling a little thinner and more delicate as well.  That being said, I’m still pretty proud of my first ‘complicated’ build!


I had a whole bunch of mixed up pink Premo ready to go and no project in mind….that is until I saw another one of GentlemanBunny’s tutorials on Macaron:

Once again, my inexperience shows, but I honestly think I’m improving – this is probably my favorite piece so far!  I tried to follow her instructions to the letter, but I think it’s just a matter of practice.

DSCN0992 DSCN0995

I think I want to make a larger sized macaron jewelry set, as well as a full rainbow of 1:12 macarons!  I’m in love with them!

Chocolate Lover

Of course, I ended up mixing far too much chocolate color for the chocolate chip cookies, but I sort of meant to, since I had in mind to make a chocolate bar!  I used this tutorial as a starting place for my chocolate bars:

I used a metal roll-y texturizer for the ‘writing’ indents, but other than that, I pretty much used this tutorial word-for-word!


I ate a molten chocolate lava cake for dessert the other night, and having delicious chocolate on the brain, I decided I would try to make one!  I think they ended up a touch too small, and a touch on the under-textured side; and the liquid chocolate isn’t quite shiny enough for my taste; but all in all, I’m pretty proud of them!

I did pretty much the same thing as the doughnuts, only rolling them out slightly thicker before forming the hole, and making indents for the chocolate ‘lava’ overflow.


As I was making the little chocolate lava cakes, I decided on the spur of the moment to make a chocolate bundt cake, since I did have so much of the chocolate color!  I mostly just messed around with a ball of clay until it was sort of the right shape, then worked a hole using a ball tool.  I used a needle tool to score the bundt lines, and realized all too late that I should have made the impressions more dramatic, and the sections more rounded.  All well, live and learn, right?  (I think the moral of my last few posts is “Texture More”!)


Baked Goods: Cookies

I felt like I needed to continue to use up my dough color, and moved on to cookies.

This next experiment is semi-failed! I used a drinking straw as a cutter, and the dough from the original biscuit project.

I originally wanted to do a bright pink frosting. I (poorly) mixed clear Tacky Glue and red clay – it looked plenty smooth when applying it, but as the glue dried, it became evidently lumpy. I’m now calling these ‘jam cookies’, since they’re not quite tart-like, and the topping looks quite like strawberry jam. (I’ll have to keep that in mind for when I actually do need strawberry jam!


Continuing on the cookie theme, I really wanted to do some chocolate chip cookies, and had read in various places that Micro Beads are a perfect chocolate chip…..however after 5 craft store visits, I gave up and made my own ‘chips’ from a soft baked chocolate-colored snake.

I mixed the chips into a small lump of the dough color, and used a plastic drinking straw as a cutter. I slightly squished the circles and dusted them with pastels, and I once again, I over-did it a little bit. (But I am prone to over-cooking real cookies, I think this is only fair!)


Baked Goods: Biscuits & Doughnuts


After watching many tutorials on many different items and techniques, I decided that baked goods would be an easy way to start

My very first project was biscuits – just about the easiest thing I could think of doing, yet there are things I would change.  I didn’t quite have a handle on the pastels, and over-colored a few of the biscuits.  Next time I do them, I’m also going to make sure I put some more texture on them!
I used a mix of translucent and ecru (I think that’s the name!) Premo for the dough color, and found that the aluminum straw I purchased from Maverick some years ago seemed to be the perfect size!


I had a whole bunch of dough color left over, and delved into other types of baked goods.  The next easiest thing I could think of was doughnuts!

I used the same aluminum straw for the doughnuts and made the center hole out of one of my ball tools.

The glazed doughnuts were dusted with light brown pastels (much less, this time), and dipped in Triple Thick glaze.

For the chocolate frosted doughnuts, I didn’t do any pastels, and dipped them in brown water-based craft paint.

I’m happy with how both of these turned out, though I do wish the brown paint was a little bit less matte.


First Post!

I have kind of jumped head first into the world of miniatures. I have always had a love of small things, and recently have been looking into dollhouses. Because polymer clay is much cheaper than even the cheapest doll house kit on the market, I decided to start with polymer clay, specifically food.

I spent about a week reading tutorials on line and watching you tube tutorials, (I will add links to my favorites to the side bar!) and finally felt comfortable enough with basic theory and technique to try my hand at some simple food, and despite my hamfisted ameteur attempts, I am quite proud of myself!