All my life I’ve been intrigued by miniatures. Now that I am retired, I finally have time to explore and create in these delightful small worlds. In the past few years I have redecorated a doll house built by my father; made scale 1:12 furniture for the dollhouse; then designed and crafted a side garden with a flagstone patio, pond, birdhouses, wildlife, flowerbeds, and a potager. Naturally, my granddaughters love it. In a different scale, I’ve added to my Christmas village thanks to Jim’s 3D printer. A crafters’ guild, the mayor’s house, and a Bavarian style bakery are all new additions, along with cobblestone roads and lamp posts. As well, I’ve had hours of enjoyment imagining other projects that are just waiting to emerge.

Here is a sampling of miniatures from my growing portfolio.

Miniature Gift Kits

Cariana shares my love of creating small spaces. We learned a lot from building these two scenes. The raw materials surprise us as they become familiar objects.
We started each scene with a kit of materials and did our best to follow the ESL instructions. We added 3D printed foxes to both – Cariana’s signature. Notice the pencil for scale.

Painted 3D Printed Miniatures

This 3D printed building is made with PLA filament. We searched for files freely shared on Thingiverse and found some lovely pieces. Jim sized this workshop to match my Department 56 Christmas village, 1:56 being the approximate scale.
The model took many hours to print. The painting took many, many more hours, but was intensely satisfying as the building took on a life of its own. Don’t you love the broom at the front door? Crafters can be messy when they’re hard at work.
What a wonderful market stall. We printed it 1:12 scale to match the dollhouse. I think the family who lives there might need a roadside stand to sell their extra produce.

Dollhouse Side Garden

This was so much fun, completely original, and very experimental. I started with some fairly stiff black packing foam and a lot of paint for the base, flagstone and block wall. The pond, with resin water, two swans, and water lilies, had been a meaningful gift and is perfect recessed into the foam for a garden feature.

The character of the stones and wall blocks developed naturally thanks to the rough texture of the foam.
Here is the garden decorated, populated and ready for play. The pond is the only piece not handcrafted or painted by me. I have to apologise for the quality of the photos, but everything is one-twelfth the size of real life, which explains the lack of crispness.
3D print creatures are delightful to paint. Anyone with a printer will recognize the pug test file. I’m in love with all of them.
The blue bird bath is a 3D print just off the printer. A piece cut from a real life branch makes the perfect stump.
The fountain and stonework are 3D printed. The greenery is moss, and the flowers are tansy, dried and painted.
Natural materials take some ingenuity to reproduce with paint, but the results are very satisfying. This 3D printed garden well is a remix of files.
Somebody’s house. This charming stump house is hollow. The door doesn’t open, but you can discover who lives inside when you lift off the roof.
As each element was finished, the layout began to take form. Where they finally landed can been seen in the pictures at the top and bottom of this section.
The is how the garden is placed beside the dollhouse. Of course there are plans for a much more extravagant garden in my head.

Creativity, Imagination and Resilience

Miniatures align perfectly with my goal of a resilient, natural retirement. My favourite materials can be found on nature walks. If I have to buy materials, glue or paint, the amounts, and therefore the costs, are miniscule. Even my working space is compact. Spring, summer and fall will find me growing food, foraging, and blissfully enjoying the outdoors, but come the dark days of November to March, miniatures are satisfying the urge to be creative.