What’s a Miniature?
A miniature is a small model of a larger item. For hobbyists
and collectors, a miniature is done to a specific scale, such as
1 inch for every foot of the real item. Miniature crafters usually use one-inch, one-half inch, and one-quarter inch scales.
That takes a little math, especially division.
A 30-inch table on a one-inch scale would be made 2. 5
inches high (divide 30 by 12). In using a specific scale, everything in the collection is done to look right together, or
in the right proportion. It costs more and takes more time to
make things in exact proportion.
Dolls, like teen fashion dolls, don’t fit the common model
scales. A 12-inch doll in real life would be 12 feet in a one-inch scale, and people aren’t 12 feet tall. A teen doll is closer
to a two-inch scale or 1/6 of the original size. Divide 30
inches by 6 for a teen doll scale. It would be 5 inches high.
Figuring Out the Math
Miniatures often use scraps and items around the house. For
example, you can make a small basket of apples using a cork
and beads. Choose the cork size to fit the scale you chose
to use. Even pins have different sized heads, so you can see
what will work best with your scale. Or you can calculate the
right sized apple and use beads or roll pieces of clay to form
that perfect-sized apple. A bushel apple basket is usually 12
inches tall and 18 inches in diameter. Red apples average five
inches high ( 12. 7 cm) while yellows can be six inches and
green are only about four inches. So the cork for the one-foot scale would be one-inch tall and one-and-a-half inches
in diameter. Apples would be about the size of 10 mm beads.
Calculate to see if cherries might be the size of the colored
beads on straight pins.
Min iat ure
Cut and Fold Cardboard to Make Sofas and
Make simple couches and chairs with sheets of craft foam
and cardboard. Cut, score, and fold the cardboard into rectangles to form the base. Then use the craft foam to cover it for
a leather look. You might even find a cardboard box the right
size by measuring toothpaste boxes and other used containers. For a 5-foot loveseat, the height is often about 24 inches,
and depth about 30 inches. The mini in a one-half inch scale
(divide by 24) would be 2. 5 inches long by one inch high and
one-and-a-quarter inches deep. Cardboard would be cut to
include twice the height plus twice the width plus tabs for
gluing the box. It would be folded and taped into a box.
Once the box is covered, add a backing with another piece of
craft foam. The center height could be up to twice the height
of the sofa. Make it long enough to wrap around the sides
and back of the base. It can be shaped as desired for a couch
back (straight, curved, or high back and low side arms). Cut
and glue it on.
Think of other pieces of furniture, like tables and bookcases,
and how you could make them.
Do the Math
Let your children measure items and figure out different
miniature scales. See if they can create miniatures for various
household items, appliances, and furniture. Think about
how to make things look real, like adding little hinges for a
refrigerator. Measure bottle tops and caps and figure out how
they could be used and with what scale, for dishes. In creating items, children need to use multiplication to see how the
miniatures measure up against real objects.
By Karen Whiting