Toys in Miniature: Frances Armstrong
Special projects in 1/144 scale
These are intended for people who do not have easy access to miniature supplies
I  have tried to use only tools and materials that are likely to  be in most homes or that could be found in a small supermarket or hardware store. The projects aren't suitable for complete beginners, but anyone with some experience making miniatures should be able to cope.
Instructions for making a
store in a matchbox

This is the second of these projects.  The directions for making the basic store can be found on the Florist shop page.  Special suggestions for making a bakeshop are on this present page.
Two inches wide.  Bread shelves need filling up a bit.
Materials and tools

See the list on the Florist page.  In addition, for the bakery in particular, paper punches that make holes in various sizes would be very useful.  Also small pictures of baked goods and posters, to decorate the outside.  Double-sided sticky tape helps hold cakes while you paint them.  If you want to make a "glass"counter, you'll need a 'blister" pack that held a toothbrush or something similar (see below).

Bad picture of the counter, unfinished, showing how it's put together.  The plastic on the front and top, (which is here reflecting a yellow-pink light) will be glued to the sides and base, and the joints strengthened with metallic foil tape.
Materials and tools

See the list on the Florist page.  In addition, for the bakery in particular, paper punches that make holes in various sizes would be very useful.  Also small pictures of baked goods and posters, to decorate the outside.  Double-sided sticky tape helps hold cakes while you paint them.  If you want to make a "glass"counter, you'll need a 'blister" pack that held a toothbrush or something similar (see below).


Use the same method as in the Florist shop to make the basic store.

You can make a "glass" counter quite easily, using for glass transparent "blister" from an appropriately- shaped piece of packaging.  I used a toothbrush package.  The method is very complicated to describe, though easy to do, so I've put it on a separate page, Store counter.  If you prefer, just use a solid block counter, as for the other stores.

You will need to fill the counter with food before completing it.
Baked goods

To hold the baked goods: circles punched from white paper can go under each cake, to look like a plate or doiley.  Waxed paper or aluminum foil can go under the breads and squares and cookies.

Cakes with icing:  A large cake, one foot across, would be 1/12 inch across in our scale, which is a little thinner than an average toothpick.  Sand a toothpick down, and cut it into very thin slices.  Better still, punch out pieces of cardboard, using punches sized under 1/8 inch.  (You might go up to 1/8" for a large wedding cake, or a special party cake.)  Cut some other shapes too, including special children's party cakes if you can.

"Fun foam," very dense foam about 1/12 inch thick, is available at the moment in many craft stores, and looks very like cake, though it may be too thick for some needs. You can cut it in half as you would a layer cake, and join the halves with icing/frosting.

Stick all your cakes on the sticky side of some Scotch tape (or, better, use double-sided tape), and paint them, mostly white or brown with some pinks and yellows.  Any paint will work, but if you happen to have acrylic paint in tubes, it gives a nice smooth finish.  The paint of course represents icing, so if you want some cakes without icing, paint them a light tan colour.

You could try making cakes out of beads, painted and with a punched card circle for a top.  A bead with its hole showing might look like a Bundt cake.  A very very tiny bead, only available from bead specialists or some miniature supply stores, makes a good doughnut.

The cakes will probably be the most eye-catching part of the store, so take the trouble to put little details on them: use extremely tiny holeless beads if you have them, but this is unlikely for the deprived isolated miniaturist I have in mind.   With patience and a few failures you can make good cherries with red paint or nail varnish dotted on with a pin.  A pin wiped on a felt-tipped marker will make very thin patterns on the cake that might look like writing or flowers.  Try a cat's whisker or a hair from your eyebrow to see if it will work as a brush.  You could also try printing out a cake top on your computer.

You should balance all that icing with some bread and rolls.  You can use a facial--tissue-and-glue papier mache for this (a tiny bit of paper, a blob of glue, and a drop of water--just experiment, you can't do any harm)  Or use polymer clay if you have it, or some kind of play dough or bread dough.  Experiment with different colouring methods: paint, powdered eye shadow, coloured chalk, for instance.

Have at least a few trays of tiny little blobs of paint that could be cookies or brownies or jam tarts, and let the viewers decide what they are.

For pies, open ones with the filling showing, use beige paper circles about 1/12 of an inch across, and indent them in the middle with something circular and about 1/16 of an inch across.  The tip of a retractable ballpoint or mechanical pencil, with the actual writing point retracted, will probably do.  The paper circle should resemble a pie crust.  Add filling of (for instance) red nail polish.  If it's hard to paint in a filling tidily, paint a piece of paper with the nail polish, and punch 1/16 circles from it, then glue them in the pie crusts.

As with the other shops, a few posters are an easy way to fill up space on the side walls and on the front window.

If you want to add a tea table and a chair or two, make the table using a technique familiar to many miniaturists.  (See picture at the end.)   From a 1/4" dowel (obtainable in hardware stores) cut off a piece a little under 1/4" high.  Alternatively, cut a piece from a pencil or use a small bottle top or just roll some paper into a 1/4" diameter tube, or use a piece of a drinking straw filled with Plasticene. .

Find (or print out) some pretty paper for a tablecloth, and cut from it a circle about an inch in diameter.  Glue the bit of dowel in the middle of the circle, on the wrong side of the paper.
Soften the paper with water, diluted glue, or Mod Podge, and arrange the paper so that it seems to hang in folds around the table.  (How to do this: with a finger nail or other tool, lightly glue the  paper to the sides of the dowel at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock spacings.  Then gently rearrange the paper so it also touches the side of the dowel at 1, 2, 4, 5 o'clock etc., with the excess paper in loose folds rather than pleats.)

To make chairs, print out the diagram at the end of the page so that the flattened chair measures well under half an inch.  Use cover stock (heavy paper) or use ordinary paper and then glue on a second layer after printing and before cutting out.   Experiment with different sizes.

Cut the chair out very carefully, and paint it the colour of your choice.  Fold the legs down and the back up.  If it's still very flimsy, give it a coat or two of Mod Podge or of clear-drying glue.

You can add cushions of fabric, paper, or paper velvet.It's quite a sturdy chair,but it will blow away if it's not glued down.

The teaset pictured below is made of tissue (gift paper kind) and matching writing paper.  It's a bit challenging for what is supposed to be a beginner's project, so I'll leave you to your own devises.  What I do  is glue the tissue paper into a tube, using a pin to shape the tube around.  When it's dry, cut it into slices to make cups and pitchers/jugs and a sugar bowl. The slices need to be 1/48 of an inch high really.  Maybe you will have to compromise and make them bigger.  Mugs, perhaps?

You can cut teaspoons from a sliver of aluminum foil, but at about 1/24 inch long they are hardly visible, and in fact when you can see them they sparkle too much and look too big.  One has to draw the line somewhere in small scale work.
Print out this chair pattern so that it is about half an inch high at most.  Each leg should be about 1/8 inch long.  Final size will depend on the thickness of your paint, the sharpness of your folds.  It's easier than it sounds.
A bit smaller than a Canadian or US one-cent piece, and still a bit bigger than most tearoom tables..
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