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Lesley Shepherd



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Summertime Miniatures To Make

Monday April 14, 2014

doll carrying air mattress made from drinking strawsIs it summer yet? Some of the summertime miniature projects might make you feel that way. Get started now on

Many of these make cute decorations for summer and retirement cakes as well.

Photo 2011 Lesley Shepherd

Painting Tips for Modellers

Friday April 11, 2014
Two different nozzle styles on cans of spray paint.

Modellers and miniaturists need to pay careful attention to paints and paint techniques. After you spent so much time working on a finely scaled miniature, you don't want to blow the paint finish and obscure all your detail. Check the list of painting tips for modellers to see where you could improve your technique. Try to use the best quality paints you can find and learn to read the MSDS information and ACMI labels which pertain to Safety tips for craft materials. Use artist's quality paints if possible, they generally have finer pigments and identify lightfastness, both of which give you more control over the final outcome. The painting site on About.com has great information on how to read paint tube labels. The more you know, the better you'll be able to control your final finishes!

Photo 2014 Lesley Shepherd

Easy to Make Clothespin Bride

Thursday April 10, 2014

Is there a wedding in your future? This easy to make clothespin bride can be used as a wedding or shower cake topper, a decoration, or a toy suitable for a child's dollhouse. For now though her groom will need to be wearing casual shorts, or a kilt and velvet jacket if you want him made from a clothespin. A more traditional groom tutorial will be posted soon!

For the range of clothespin dolls to date, see the list of clothespin doll tutorials. You can also find more wedding miniatures and keepsakes on the list of DIY Wedding Favors and Keepsakes.

Photo 2014 Lesley Shepherd

Want to Start Making Miniatures?

Tuesday April 8, 2014

Start simply with a project you love, in a medium easy for you to manage, is my main advice for readers who ask how to start making their own miniatures. The gallery of beginners miniature projects includes clear instructions for making a range of simple miniatures in all kinds of materials. Some techniques are similar regardless of what size you work in, you may find making miniature baskets an appealing way to begin learning techniques you can eventually use in full size.

More traditional starting points for dollhouse scales include making miniature foods and baking from polymer clay and making simple doll clothing. Another easy way to start a life long hobby is to make simple miniature furniture. These projects don't have to be used for dollhouses. You can make a scene for a fairy garden, props for photographs or ornaments for cakes or decorations.

Photo 2010 Lesley Shepherd

Paint a Faux Cobblestone Finish for Miniature Paving

Saturday April 5, 2014

This painted faux cobblestone finish works for any miniature scale, here it is shown on the 1:12 scale air dry clay fan pattern cobblestones. For very small scales, use the method with stamps alone instead of raised surfaces in air dry clay.

If you want more ways to make faux stone surfaces, see the information for making faux stone walls from foam or see the painted stone foundation step of the miniature cabin front porch gallery

Photo 2014 Lesley Shepherd

Quarter Scale Houses from the Seattle Spring Show

Thursday April 3, 2014

For the first time, the majority of the exhibits at the Seattle Dollhouse scale were in 1:48 scale. This set of photos of the spring 2014 quarter scale exhibits is a great demonstration of why quarter scale is becoming so popular. There are an astonishing range of smaller scale house kits, furniture kits and accessories, some with complete landscaping now available in both North America and Europe, right down to tiny details like laser cut paper doilies and tea sets in this scale.

Kudos must go to the talented Rosemary Shipman who exhibited the majority of the featured displays at this spring's Seattle show. We've come a long way from adapting railroad buildings using bpf furniture. I can hardly wait to see what is in the minds of vendors coming down the road in the future.

Photo 2014 Lesley Shepherd

Roomboxes From the Seattle Dollhouse Show

Sunday March 30, 2014

This week I've pulled together a gallery of the roomboxes from the Seattle dollhouse show. Roomboxes range from the simple to the versions which are so realistic, it is hard to tell they are miniature from the photos. A well designed roombox is more than just a collection. Take a look at this year's show photos to learn some tips on making roombox displays stand out.

Once you've decided what type of roombox you want to add to your collection, take a look at these easy ways to build one of your own.

Photo 2014 Lesley Shepherd

Make A Narrow Console Table to Display Miniatures

Friday March 28, 2014

This tall console table is designed to sit just inside the walls of my miniature florist shop project so it can hold a few displays in the middle section of the shop window. Although it might seem a bit out of proportion, I designed it so larger plants and floral arrangements can be set on the bottom shelf. I carved the rope columns from a used pencil crayon, using the instructions for miniature rope molding just to show you how easy it is to make custom parts for your own miniature furniture.

You don't need to carve the table supports. You can use porch spindles, garden balusters, parts from old pens or glued together beads to create tables sized to suit all manner of miniature displays. As they are very narrow, these tables are ideal for small space displays where you want to be able to place items against a wall, or the back of a couch.

Photo 2014 Lesley Shepherd

It's the Season for Miniature Shows!

Wednesday March 26, 2014

This weekend is the Spring Miniatura sale in Birmingham, UK. This is one of the largest dollhouse sales in the world and wonderful new introductions will be on view. Patrons will walk for miles admiring the stalls of amazing miniatures in several scales. If this is your first time at Miniatura, here are a few photos of the type of thing to expect, taken from one of the Autumn Miniatura Shows.

If you are in the USA, the Three Blind Mice Show is in St. Louis this weekend, In two weeks (April 11th, 12th and 13th) it will be the largest show in the United States, Tom Bishop's Chicago International Show. If you are lucky enough to be attending either of these shows for the first time, take a look at the miniature show tips so you can get the most out of your experience without feeling overwhelmed by the end.

While these major shows are wonderful, the local shows with their exhibits from local collectors are a great way to experience the camaraderie of the hobby. Check out the miniatures forum show listings or the show listings on NAME to find out if there will be a local show near where you live this year and get out and support your local miniaturists!

Miniature Bird and Butterfly Houses for Spring

Sunday March 23, 2014

If any of you are making garden scenes in miniature, make a tiny bird, bee or butterfly house for a bit of extra interest. I've made the ones shown in the tutorial from air dry clay and scraps of craft wood.

In miniature gardens, you can hang the tiny houses from branches of suitable plants, or set them on poles made from kitchen skewers. Flat backed houses can be glued to walls or fence pickets.

Photo 2014 Lesley Shepherd

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