Dollhouse Miniatures Make One-Of-A-Kind Christmas Gifts

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Dollhouse Miniatures make the Perfect Christmas Gift

I love the Christmas season with its twinkling lights, cheesy holiday movies, dinners shared with friends and family, and the joy of gift giving. Every year, I like to make some of my gifts for friends and family to show them how much I love them in a personal way. It’s important to me to let them know that I see them in a way that a new scarf from a big box store can’t.

Last year at Christmas, I chose to create something special for my best friend. We’ve known each other for over two decades and have grown into women together. We have relied on each other when times were hard, carried each other in the worst and celebrated each other in the best. She is my person.

She is an amazing cook and baker and can create magic in her kitchen. She is willing to help others to learn and has the patience of a saint. I nearly burned down the kitchen in her very first apartment once, but she has worked with me until I can now bake a perfect pan of baklava.

She loves nothing more than hosting big dinners and parties and I make sure to come wearing a flowy dress or a stretch band waist because whenever she has the occasion to try out new recipes, she takes full advantage. And when she is cooking, she never turns down the little hands that want to help Mommy in the kitchen.

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Make it extra special by creating miniatures that are unique to the person

As I was thinking about how to celebrate these wonderful parts of her, I came across a kitchen island in my mini stash. This island was a purchase for my dollhouse kitchen renovation but it didn’t quite work out as I had though. However, it did look a lot like the one in her kitchen to me. And that was it—the spark of creativity that I needed. This spark was far better than the one that almost burned down her apartment!

I got started by painting the countertop black just like hers at home. Then I got to work envisioning her spending a glorious afternoon with her girls baking for the holidays. She loves baking for Christmas so I decided that the scene would feel perfectly at home inside of a cookie cloche.

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Always think about Scaling

When you are using different kinds of containers for scenes, it is important to think about scaling.

Shopping for the perfect cloche was a challenge because I needed something at least 7” in diameter at the base but also tall enough to provide clearance to the scene. I ordered several that didn’t work out because the manufacturing dimensions were incorrect and didn’t leave enough room for the island to fit and one that was delivered broken. However, once I got the correct cloche, it fell nicely into place.

I started by creating a hardwood floor for the base by tracing a cardboard template and dry-fitting it. After I used coffee stir sticks because they are inexpensive, cut easily and take stain well. I was able to lay my floor and stain it to look like hers. Then the fun of filling the scene began.

I started by making macaroons created out of polymer clay because they seemed easier to make than other desserts. I had limited skills with working with clay at that point and I also hoped that creating the macaroons would be a way to manifest them for Christmas. She makes the best macaroons! Once I created them with clay, I displayed them on plates that I had in my stash. I was able to elevate one and create the look of a pedestal cake stand by gluing the plate to the base of a white thumbtack. So many things can be created from ordinary items in your house if you stop and look at the shapes.

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I decided that the rest of the island would be devoted to her making a gingerbread house with her daughters. The gingerbread house was made with polymer clay from a paper template I created first for scaling. Then I rolled out my “dough” and cut the house pieces. I roughed them up with a ball of tinfoil to create texture. Some of the pieces were assembled while others were left on the baking sheet that I made from the top of a Chipotle bowl lid that got rescued from the landfill. It was easy to cut and pliable to shape. An icing piping bag was also salvaged from a snack-sized Ziploc that was about to hit the trash too. I cut the corner and filled it with polymer clay. The clay is still pliable because I didn’t bake it. (I did learn something from my previous kitchen mishaps). The butter and starlight mints were also bits of polymer clay, shaped and painted.

From there, I filled in the island with things I had in my stash like old pots and pans and wooden spoons and with printable items I found online. There are many ways to search for these online and the good ones are a high resolution print with the scoring and cutting lines already designed. It’s as easy as scaling it to size, printing, cutting, folding and gluing them together. Though if you are handy with design programs, you can create your own custom products which I have also done to really customize a scene. I was able to find the milk carton, cream cheese, flour and other goodies and snack boxes that are tucked inside the cupboards. She is definitely the mom who always has a stash of goodies so that her girls can reach them.

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Because she loves cookbooks and has an entire cabinet devoted to them, this scene couldn’t be complete with shelves full of books. I was able to find cover art by searching online and focused on finding ones with good legible spines. These books were going to be glued onto the shelves so the spines were the most important part. Because these were not books to be removed, I could have filled the covers with blocks of wood but found that they could be filled with old magazines cut near the spine. It gives the illusion of well-loved, dog-eared pages.

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Little girls in a kitchen often leave their mark. There is a stool so that little eyes can see what is happening on the countertop, a chalkboard in the cupboard with her daughter’s initials, and a mixing bowl with a big flour mishap all over the floor. White chalk is a perfect stand-in for flour so there is less concern about drawing pests to your scene.

I loved spending time thinking about the things that make her so special to me and her family and creating this moment in time for her. I hope that this inspires you to think outside of the (room) box and create something special for someone that you love.

Happy Holidays to my mini community and friends.

-Shaun Renato

 

 

Shaun R

About Shaun Renato

Shaun Renato has always enjoyed creating art from the time she was a small child. As an adult she attended art school and became a graphic designer but then went back to become a therapist to use art as a way to help others heal. She has enjoyed many different forms of making art over the years but all along the way has been her dollhouse and making miniatures where she could combine all of her art skills together.

2 Comments

  1. Rachel K Rachel K on December 22, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Great Article Shaun! What a wonderful gift!

  2. Portraits by NC on December 24, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    Lovely little diorama. Thank you for sharing your approach.

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