Plastic bottles and jars are a popular miniature for display scenes, often needed in fairly large numbers. The following tutorial shows a simple technique you can use to turn recycled or purchased plastic straws and rods into a range of miniature bottle styles. The method can be scaled to a range of sizes. Bottles shown here are in scales from 1:48 to 1:12, but larger and smaller sizes can be made with the same method.
To make your miniature bottles, look for plastic rods and straws with the diameter you need for the basic bottle. The bottle necks are drawn to shape with gentle heat over a candle flame. Rigid plastic straws and hollow cylinders (pen barrels and other shaped plastic) with thick walls, either colored or clear are good materials for your first attempt. Heavy plastic straws sold as balloon or candy holders work well, but with skill you can also use thinner plastic drinking straws. Plastic supply houses sell rigid acrylic tubes and rods which can be used as is, or colored with fluid acrylics or glass paints. The acrylic tubing and rod may bubble when heated, so practise your techniques on recycled materials before you purchase plastic to stock your miniature wine cellar or pantry.
In addition to your plastic source you will need:
- Files or fine sandpaper or micro mesh sanding pads to finish the edges of your bottles
- Glass Paints, glaze pens or fluid acrylics (artist's fluid acrylics, not craft paints) to color your bottles if desired.
- Plastic Welding Cements if you want to add bases to hollow bottles in order to fill them.
- Warming Candle - to gently heat your plastic across a narrow band.
- Razor Saw with fine teeth to cut your bottles or jars free of the plastic residue after shaping.