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Beach and Nautical Themed Miniature Projects

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Instructions for miniature projects with a beach or nautical theme to add to your scale scenes or summer keepsake boxes and scrapbook pages. Several of these projects, including the boat signal cushions or the nautical knot rug can be made in full scale, to add a nautical theme to a house or cottage.

1. Make Miniature Palm Trees

Finished scale model palm tree made from fabric leaves and kraft paper.
Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Use these miniature palm trees for tropical beach scenes. They are easily made from painted paper, and wire, or fabric leaves. You can build them to a range of sizes and scales and they work equally well for cake decorations, desert gaming terrains or nativity scenes, depending on which size you make them. If you need a particular type of palm tree, just pay attention to the style of the fronds, and the way the fronds are arranged.

2. Make a Quarter Scale Beach Scene in a Teacup

A 1:48 scale miniature beach scene with a beach shop and pier, all set into a teacup and saucer.
Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

This quarter scale teacup scene with a pier and beachfront shop is made from free printables, with a bit of floral foam and sand. You can use the storefront to display beach food including ice cream or fish and chips, or use the space for toy boats, air mattresses and other popular beach shop items.>

3. Make Miniature Seagulls

A dolls house scale miniature seagull made from air dry clay and bits of wire is perched on a log.
Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Made from air dry or polymer clay, these seagulls are easy to sculpt to add to a miniature scene. You can perch them on pilings, rocks or add them to the roof of a house or boat.

Seagulls are an easy shape to sculpt, even in the small scales used for dollhouse displays. This is a good bird to practise with, and an easy project if you make it with air dry clay. Once you work out how to make them, you can make them larger for home decor, or make them out of fondant icing to add to summer cakes or cupcakes. The process of sculpting them remains the same, regardless of which material you use.

4. Make Miniature Sailboats

Toy sailboat in dollhouse scale carved from scrap craft wood
Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

These sailboats can be made in a range of scales and are easy to make with paper or fabric sails and simply carved hulls. If you don't want to make them from carved craft wood, shape the hulls from floral arrangement foam, and give them a good protective coating of paint.

5. Make Miniature Driftwood Wreaths

Dolls house scale 'driftwood' door wreath.
Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

I love the effect of miniature driftwood which you can get from using reindeer moss or Spanish moss. Lots of tiny vines and twigs will give you a similar effect if you collect them and dry them carefully. These wreaths can be left 'natural' or decorated with small scale shells and nautical charms, or bits of jute 'rope'.

6. Make Miniature Seaweeds

Scale miniature seaweed fronts made from glazed tissue and air dry clay.
Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

Seaweeds make interesting miniature subjects. You can 'press' and frame your samples for dollhouse scale Victorian prints or pressed plant specimens or use them as part of a beach or underwater scene. These seaweed samples are based on tissue paper colored with watercolor paints.

7. Make an Ocean Plait Rug in In Full Size or Miniature Scale

Doormat made from a 60 metre length of retired climbing rope.
Photo Courtesy Dianne - Gjetost Blog Copyright 2009 Used With Permission

Tie an Ocean Plait Rug from a length of string or decorative cord for a miniature rug, or use regular rope, or a retired climbing rope to tie a rug in full size as a welcome mat for your home. The step by step photo instructions make this an easy project, regardless of what size you want your rug to be.

Try tying a few of these using different weights of rope and cord. The knot can be used to make placemats or coasters as well as rugs.

8. Make Miniature Water Features From Sheet Plastic

This type of miniature water feature allows you to add fish, plants or other items into a scene built below the surface of the 'water' without worrying about bubbles or seals to hold in epoxy resin or other materials as they dry. You can make a swimming pool, a child's paddling pool, or a lake using this method. All you need is a sheet of plastic which is stiff enough not to bow across the width of your water feature.

9. Make a Flashing Miniature Light House Lamp for a Dollhouse

A miniature two inch high lighthouse built from an LED and beads.
Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Make a flashing or steady beam working miniature lighthouse lamp for a scale scene. These lamps are easy to make using LED bulbs and wooden beads, along with scraps of wood for the keeper's cottage. The lamps can be made to run off the transformer for a dolls house, or made from LED lamps that run from watch batteries so they can be set in roomboxes or other locations which aren't wired for power.

10. Make Miniature Tadpoles in a Jar

Glass jar full of tiny tadpoles in 1:12 dolls house scale.
Photo © 2007 Lesley Shepherd

You can add a sense of life to a miniature scene by putting in objects that look like they have just been abandoned by a miniature resident. This technique shows you how to make minature tadpoles in a jar using polymer clay and two part epoxy resin. You can change the theme to suit the beach area you are creating. Small fish, starfish, clams or gunnels may sugest an ocean theme, while tiny fish, tadpoles or a frog can suggest a lake or pond.

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