Several years ago, I painted a series of saucers and teacups for the dollhouse I was building. I used a dot of putty glue on the head of a golf tee and attached the little cups and saucers on top of it. Some nice ladies at the local miniatures club taught me that trick, and to this day it still proves invaluable. Would you like a cup of tea?
Yes… I did glue the leg wrong…
To put things in perspective:
Everything is relative:
The quarter scale lamp on the side table was made using one of the teacups from the dollhouse cupboard.
I have a fascination for miniatures. When I was a kid, I used to build dollhouses for my dolls. They were made out of my cousin’s diaper cardboard boxes—the only cardboard boxes I could get my hands on at the time, and they were sturdy. I painted them, cut holes for the windows and the doors, used the partition sheet (used to separate the diapers) to make the floor, built stairs with folded and reinforced paper, glued fabric to make the curtains. Hours and hours of fun. Then I forgot all about them.
In the last fifteen years, I rediscovered the wonderful world of dollhouses. One of the thing that was immediately clear to me, after building several structures, is that, although a miniature, a 1/12 scale dollhouse requires space to be displayed. Space that not everybody can spare, especially when you build or collect them.
The Quarter Inch Scale is the perfect solution. Four times smaller than a regular inch scale dollhouse (1/12), this miniscule scale can be quite whimsical. It took me some time to build my quarter inch scale Condominium, a kit I bought at a Seattle dollhouse show, but I enjoyed the process of finding objects that could be used to make furniture and decorations. For example, I used a 1/12 scale teacup to make the lamp shade in the small sitting room. Glue gun drops became the pitchers displayed in the kitchen. Cutout from catalogs became rugs and wall accents. Beads became tomatoes; a game piece from Monopoly became the dollhouse in the girl’s bedroom. Scraps of laces and fabric became sofas and couches. Recently, someone made me notice that the miniature kitchen looks a lot like my real one. Maybe, in the next remodeling of my house—one is due soon, I’ll have the tile sink and the iron stove added as well, to match the rest of the room with my miniature one. One can only dream.
Quarter Inch Scale Condominium
I’ve talked about this little project of mine, here as well.
I have a thing for gnomes. It started when I was a little kid and my family used to go on vacation in Austria. We went for long walks in the forest and my mom told my sister and me whimsical stories about little people living under rocks or inside holes in the trees. Several years later, I laid eyes on Wil Huygen’s Gnomes and here they where: Mom’s little people. Then, one day, looking for books about salt dough, I found the image of a tree house that reminded me of a gnome dwelling. By that time I had already adopted the more refined and durable cold porcelain (cornstarch dough) instead of the salt dough. It took me several months to finish the two tree houses, as I kept adding details until I decided it was time for the gnomes to come visiting.
Building 1/12 scale room boxes is one of my hobbies. A room box normally depicts one single miniature room in intricate details. In 2001 I was lucky to participate in a Brooke Tucker’s room box workshop, The Country Kitchen, just a few years before she retired. Although I never quite finished that particular project, I had lots of fun learning from a great artist. I was also honored to sell Mrs. Tucker some of my painted miniatures. She used them for a piece commissioned by the Miniature Museum of Taiwan. Mrs. Tucker’ s elegant but informal kitchen room box was featured in the March 2002 issue of the renewed Miniature Collector magazine, where, if you have a very good eye for details, my little pieces can be found at page 58, perching out shelves and on top of a cabinet.
Some of the miniature paintings I made for Brooke Tucker and now part of a room box depicting a Tuscan kitchen that can be admired at the Miniature Museum of Taiwan:
I used inexpensive wooden pieces normally sold at craft stores to make the jars by gluing together different parts. The apothecary urn is a miniature replica of a normal size piece I bought in Italy and that is displayed in my kitchen. I used white Fimo to model the urn.
Some other places where I talk about miniatures:
Here is a lens about the even smaller world of quarter inch scale I created for Squidoo.
In 2001 I presented a few of my miniature pieces at the Seattle Dollhouse Miniatures Show. The Girl’s Bedroom was one of them:
I made the tiled floor by cutting rectangular pieces from an egg container. I glued them on the wooden platform, filled the gaps between tiles with a paste made of flour and Elmer’s glue, and then painted all over with a mixture of brown and black acrylic colors. I removed some of the painting with a cloth to create the distressed look, and finally I sprayed the floor with two layers of a glossy finish. I used white Fimo to create the tea set resting on the rocking chair, painted it with acrylic colors, and sealed it with a glossy finish. I used skin-color Fimo for the baby girl sleeping inside the crib, and also for the doll and the doll’s crib. A special crackling finish was used to give the doll’s crib the antique texture. I made the toy bear with a brown cleaning pipe and painted the nose and the eyes. I painted the landscape on the toy box with acrylics and finished it with a watercolor sealer.
Other places where I talk about miniatures:
Here is a lens about quarter inch scale miniatures I created for Squidoo.