An Eye for Miniatures
Making Miniatures from Ordinary Things
By Deb Roberts
Miniatures are everywhere if we just develop the habit of looking at things with a mini-eye. As we wander thru day to day life, how often do we see something and think, “Wow, I could turn that into a miniature table… or lamp… or sink…” Sometimes, we just stash them back with the knowledge that inspiration will strike us when we least expect it and we’ll find a use for that clever little whatever-it-is. Family and friends become a bit concerned about our boxes full of little things that we’ve rescued from the trash. Some of them even refuse to go out for a cup of coffee with us because they know we’ll be filling our pockets with coffee stirring sticks or little tubs of jelly. At the fast food places, they know we’re going to the condiment counter because we want the paper cups, not because we care for catsup on our fries. Those little potential minis are everywhere and with a careful eye we can find mini treasures no matter where we go.
The following tips (shared by members of the Greenleaf forum) are just a few examples of the many mini treasures we can make from every day items.
Jelly trays can be easily converted into sinks by placing a jewelry finding or sequin in the bottom for a drain. They can also be mounted into a wall for a lovely niche for artwork, plants or statuary.
Condiment cups and artificial creamer containers make wonderful wastepaper baskets and lampshades.
Sea shells can also make great sinks and basins, especially for a fantasy house for elves or fairies. Mount a clam shell to a conch shell for a pedestal sink and glue a smaller shell to the top for a faucet. Shells are also perfect for making a gazing pool in a garden.
Acorn caps are great for small wooden bowls and cups.
Dryer sheets and Swiffer sheets make great towels and bedding.
Compact mirrors can be used for wall mirrors or have legs mounted on them to make tables.
Dried flowers can be perfect scale trees.
Clear plastic bead boxes make excellent display boxes for baked goods.
Medical supplies offer a variety of minis. Caps and stoppers can be made into bottles, vases, bowls and jars. Caps can also be made into flip-top trash cans. Insulin bottles can be used for propane tanks.
Plastic fruit baskets can be converted to fireplace screens or log holders.
Clock and watch parts are a treasure chest of minis. House numbers, door knobs and hardware, serving trays, vanity pieces and bits to scatter on a work bench are just a few ideas.
Hinges and latches from old boxes can be used for doors and gates.
Toothpaste caps make small lampshades.
Plastic boxes from Ruetters Porzellan products make excellent aquariums and can even be lit up with a grain of wheat bulb.
Small match boxes can be stacked and glued together to make chests.
Toothpicks and skewers can be used for handles on things like feather dusters and brooms.
Fabric covered buttons can be used as throw pillows or ottoman tops.
Caps from glue bottles can be used for drinking glasses.
Old men’s ties are a great source of fabric for mini upholstery and quilts.
Cut the pin part off a clear push pin and turn it upside down, then glue a green or red seed bead in the center to make cocktail glasses.
Velour jogging suits that are past their prime can be harvested to make upholstery or carpeting.
Baby washcloths make soft and fluffy scale towels.
Leather upholstery can be found by cutting up old purses.
Christmas ornaments, (especially during after Christmas sales) can yield all kinds of wonderful minis.
Colored paperclips can be cut and twisted into candy canes.
Walnut shells make great accessories for a fairy or elf setting. They can be used for sinks, bowls or even furniture in a smaller scale setting.
Colored drinking glasses can be made from lite-brite pegs if you cut off the end.
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