It comes up occasionally that you need a dollhouse for the dollhouse inside your dollhouse. I like to make–and occasionally teach a class where students make–workshops for a 1/144 miniaturist, who of course is making dollhouses (what a shocker). But you might have a 1/144 scale miniature shop, or just a nursery or child’s room in 1/144.
There are lots of different ways you can make a tiny house. Some folks cut them out of wood and paint them. Others make a small printie and wrap it around a block of wood. There are also some etched brass versions from Severn Models, and tiny wooden models by Arnold Volker that you can assemble.
But I like to miniaturize card models and then cut them out and assemble them using tweezers, glue, and a bit of profanity. Fiddler’s Green is a wonderful site with card models for everything from buildings to airplanes to ships to airstreams. Over the years, they have been very generous about letting me use their models for my classes, and suggested I put together a tutorial for the home schooler. You can find that tutorial here: Making Dollhouse houses from Fiddler’s Green. And it comes with thanks not only to Scott Fyn of Fiddler’s Green, but Roger Pattenden, the Illinois State government, and many others for sharing their knowledge and card models over the years.
I’ve worked in various micro scales most of my life. Recently, I’ve become intrigued by the potential for added detail that 1/48 scale (quarter inch scale) offers. After all, it’s absolutely huge in comparison to 1/144! The challenge, though, is how to bound that potential. Should drawers open? Cabinet doors have working hinges? Should the lumber be to scale in thickness?
When I was asked to contribute a 1/48 scale chair to an exhibit about dollhouse scale at the recent IGMA show in Teaneck, NJ, I decided to see just how detailed I could get. This is the result. To learn more about the process of making the parts and assembling this chair, stay tuned for my next post.
As LEDs become smaller and smaller, it becomes more fun—and feasible—to add fireplace lights to a dollhouse-for-dollhouse roombox or vignettes. Even unlighted, fireplaces are a staple in living rooms of all time periods. While a few metal minis, laser cut wood fireplace mantels, and cast resin pieces are available, not a lot of choice exists. What I wanted was a way to make fireplaces for roomboxes in different styles—traditional, art deco, ornate, and so on.
This was my first foray into molding and casting–and began back in January of 2013. As I learned in a wonderful course taught by Judy Andraka (Acorns by Oak) at Philadelphia Miniaturia a few years ago, molding and casting allows you build a “matrix” or object to be reproduced using a variety of materials. Molding and casting is the great equalizer; whether you use paper, styrene, metal, fabric, or braid, ultimately everything looks like plastic when it comes out—and has the same level of permanence. And if one happily spends 10 hours designing a single fireplace, all that work ends up embodied in not only one roombox—but can be used again and again.
Of course designing, building, molding, and casting is not an easy task, and getting from here—an idea—to there—a fireplace in 1/144 scale–took time.
How to Build a Miniature Fireplace is a look at the process of building free standing fireplaces—and getting them ready for casting.
Be sure to keep an eye on my website this summer, to see the fireplaces painted and in use in vignettes. Hopefully, a few unpainted mantels and free-standing fireplaces will be offered for sale.
Here’s a look at the finished and painted free-standing fireplaces. The tallest is about 5 feet in real life.
Tile fireplace with copper highlights
Painted black and white