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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Collecting: All Things in Miniature

When I was about four or five, I found a tiny drawer from a doll chest of drawers crammed under the bottom edge of the sheet rock in my garage.  It was about an inch wide and a fourth of an inch deep, with a tiny knob on the front of it.  I knew it had probably been left behind by the previous residents of my house, but I preferred to think that a fairy had lost it off the back of her moving truck.

The finished clock kit will have a working door on the front.
Kits and Books, Minus Accessories.  The two in the back sold.
I don't know where that drawer went--I must have lost it years ago, myself--but I think it created a curiosity in me for miniature things.  It's fascinating to see someone achieving so much detail in something a fraction of the size of a fingertip.  How do they do that?

When I found several, mostly-unopened doll house miniatures kits at a local thrift store, I was tempted to dabble in this hobby and try my hand at putting these beauties together.  However, I don't have much free time these days, and I don't own a doll house (I don't even have a place to store one, no less display it like it should be).  I think they would probably look a little out of place on a coffee table or a desk.

I also picked up two great doll house miniatures reference books.  Since I don't have the time, and I know there are a lot of people out there who do this for a hobby (sweet hobby!), I've so far decided to just sell it all.  Two kits sold just the other day.

L: Making Doll Dishes; R: Doll Clothing and Making Dolls
You know, this is a trend that dates me, really.  I was a kid in the 80s, and from all I have found, the last time doll house miniatures really got big (lame pun, I know, I know) was in the 70s and 80s.  Guess what--they're on a comeback!

Frankly, I can see why.  Aren't these just adorable?  My favorite thing about them is that they usually have teeny-tiny working parts.  They aren't just stable decorative pieces, like statues.  Doll house miniatures are interactive art!  Look at these dishes!  I bet that teapot has a removable lid, too.

Project: Canopy for a Bed
The picture to the left shows some of the instructions on how to make a canopy bed like the one on the kit I sold  (this is the green book).  It looks like a pretty involved project, but the results are amazing.  I noticed one strange thing--the fabric they used seems to match the stuff used in the model on the front of one of my kits. Maybe the book makers were inspired by the x-acto models?  Maybe this is the kit.  I never opened the kit, so I didn't see what that one contained.
Calculating Scale and Choosing a Time Period

Full-Color Pictures.  Where'd They Get That Rug?
I was especially fascinated by how the doll house minatures enthusiasts are careful about keeping all their pieces from the same time period or decorating style.  Essentially, it's not just a toy.  It really is a house in minature.

If I get the time, though, I think I'm going to browse through the books a little more closely.  So far, on just a casual perusal of the pages, I found an instructional part on how to make doll bedding to scale, how to put together a chandelier, aging curtains and wallpaper to give it a nostalgic look, and so on.  Who knows?  I might get into this more in a few years.

Wanting to give doll house minatures a try?  I don't know anything about these links, but I found a few sites that looked promising for those wanting to get started in this hobby:

Dollhouse Miniatures Enthusiasts and Trade Organizations

The Dollhouse Guild Web ring (a directory of sites) 

My Dream Dollhouse--Personal Blog of a Minaturist--great photos!

And many more!

If this is bringing out the child-like wonder in you, hope these links help you get started!  If you are already a miniaturist or own a doll house, I'd like to invite you to share photos on your blog and backlink them, or share stories in the comments section below.  Can't wait to hear from you!

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