Oh (mini) Christmas Tree
So maybe I did not actually make this in July because I am very slow to posting some of my creations, but I am happy to showcase this miniature dollhouse inspired scene to end the month with a final Christmas in July post. Right after I made my first fairy garden Victoria (you can find a story about it on this blog), I knew I wanted to make holiday or at the least season based miniatures. My real dream is to make one for each season so I can change then out throughout the year, but that is going to take me some time to be inspired enough to accomplish. I decided to start with one of my favorite times of the year… Christmas. It should also be noted that this creation relates closer to a dollhouse scene or room box than it does to a fairy garden. I do still use some “found items” to make the scene like buttons, but I focused more on realism which was a new experience for me. I hope you enjoy.
Every good creation has a catalyst item, word, theme, or character. I find many times that I am inspired by a certain theme like beach or Christmas and then have the design fully come to form based off of one certain item. For this creation it was a handful items. I found the gold bed frame, the golden chamber pot looking item, and the golden oil lamp all at the same antique store. I knew these three items would make me something fantastic. I did not know what they were specifically for though until one day I was in Target and found in the dollar section a metal frame of a house that had gold details at the connection points. This cutie would be my base and be only $3. Even today I still regret not buying four houses for the four seasons. It is what it is. From there I had a basis for creation: House, Gold, Dollhouse Furniture, and Christmas.
There really are not too many DIY steps involved for creating this miniature because I went for realism. Most of my items I bought, many of them from a dollhouse miniature convention I went to for my birthday. This project was more interior deign and sourcing than most of my fairy gardens which have a lot of hands on creations and handmade details. Nevertheless, the first step was to prep the house which meant flooring, walls, and painting. I hardly ever enjoy this stage but I do find it incredibly necessary to make the best miniature and even though most people will admire your small details instead of your flooring, it is the realistic backdrop you create that allows your other miniatures to shine. I decided on only creating a wall on the back of the miniature. I made this out of Popsicle sticks painted brown and glued on with super glue. I also made a floor painted the same color. I think this house was initially made for maybe displaying candles or a center piece for a table. The floor was able to raise up the metal floor of the house that had a little lip around it. This helped everything look flush.
I started by laying out what I already owned. I knew the bed would have a prominent place and wanted a Christmas tree and a fire place. I bought the fire place at Michaels for a few dollars and painted it white with a little distress from sandpaper. I embellished the fireplace with a golden corner piece I found at a garage sale. I absolutely love the simplicity of the fireplace. I also added a few pieces of a cut up stick from outside into the fireplace to show it is prepped for a cold night. The bed I also updated by make a mattress, pillow, and blanket. I use a piece of foam cut to the size of the bed for the mattress and then covered it with a white bandanna. I did the same technique for the pillow but tried to curve out the edges. You can find bandannas at Walmart, most craft stores, or even some dollar stores for only a dollar. It gives you a lot of fabric for miniatures and does not cost a lot so you can get more colors than you might have been able to when buying regular fabric scraps. I then cut out the blanket from a swatch I got at a craft fair once where a lady was selling sets of fabric pre-cut for quilts. I got a lot of different patterns for a good price and this just goes to show that you always have to be on the look out for fairy garden materials. I did not sew at all for this bedding project and instead used glue to make sure my edges will not fray. Many time I just cut my fabric larger as if I am going to sew around to fray check it, but instead use glue and save time.
I kept the three earlier mentioned dollhouse furniture finds all together in the scene. I used the chamber pot as a step stool and made a side table for the oil lamp out of a spool and button. I painted the spool a light blue color which I carried through to a floating shelf I put behind the bed. On the shelf I made two Christmas cards by printing out the art from online and even wrote little inscriptions inside. I also made the hanging calendar from printing out art with extra white space. I printed out different pictures for a handful of months for the calendar to put behind the December picture. This added to realism. For both the calendar and the cards I went with older designs. I glued the calendar to the wall and added a small piece of metal that I cut from a roll of wire to look like a tack. On the shelf I made a tiny red pencil out of a toothpick and paint and sat it right under the calendar that had December 25th circled in the same color. On the bed, I made a book by printing the cover to The Night Before Christmas off my computer scaled down and gluing it around a piece of cut up magazine. Make sure the magazine you use is bound with glue and solid and not staples.
I put at the foot of the bed a Chocolate Labrador figure. This little guy is quite life like and looks so adorable laying in the scene. I actually got him from a toy machine at a Steak ‘n Shake for 50 cents. I got a few other dogs and I love the size and quality. Another reason to always be on the look out for miniatures. As you can see, he is resting on a white carpet that I had my mom crochet for me with a really small hook. It took her no time but it helped add another layer of texture to the room and realism (besides it being a comfy spot for the pooch.) The last detail for this side of the miniature scene was a small bowl with what looks like some dog kibble and a carrot labeled “Reindeer Treats.” I made the kibble from cutting up a small skewer and painting the pieces brown.
For the fireplace, I decorated it with a traditional red stocking. I used felt and some fluff that is used for stuffing pillows. I just glued the together and attached to the mantle. I added on top a mug of milk and a plate of cookies. I got the plate and mug from a group of charms I had found at Michaels and Hobby Lobby. These usually come in a large set which is perfect for miniatures. I made a set of cookies out of clay. I made one peanut butter with a Hershey Kiss cookie which is a staple for my family during the holidays, one sugar cookie that is iced to look like a Christmas wreath with a red bow, and a candy cane which I made from twisting the red and white clay together. I loved making these clay cuties and they made the little home feel more like my real home. I finished out the mantle with a caroler figure I got at the miniature convention, a wooden bell that had some gold flakes one it (I know not why but it was a great find in my house), and a small Christmas tree with blue garland that matches the light blue used on the shelf and side table.
The next scene I worked on was the tiny Christmas tree. I got both of the trees featured in this project from my family’s supply for our Christmas village. You can find them at most stores during the holiday for cheap. I decorated this bigger tree with gold jewelry pieces my mom had got me as ornaments and topped the tree with a light blue bead to carry the light blue all throughout the room. I made a red tree skirt out of the same felt used for the stocking and then added my presents. The bear, which is extremely soft if you cannot tell from the photos, I got at the miniature convention in a pack of three. It amazed me how much better the miniatures I found at the convention as compared to a craft store, so if you ever have a chance to go to one it would be a great opportunity. (Maybe I should make a post about that one day?) (Maybe I should stop having these aside thoughts written into my blog?) (Nahhh.) The present is actually a wooden block which you can find in usually several different sizes in the wood section of big crafting stores. I wrapped this box with leftover wrapping paper and used tiny places of tape to hold this together instead of glue. Just like the larger simulations. I got the wood blocks from another antique store and I got a bunch for $1. It was quite lucky that they spelled out “Joy.”
On the other side of the tree, I had a paper bag of “Christmas Candies” which I picked up at that miniature convention for pennies, and a wood horse on wheels. I actually got this item at a church garage sale for 25 cents. It was initially and ornament which is why it has a hole in it, but I still love it. Finally, I added a white bone with a green bow that is hidden from view from the pup. It cannot be enjoyed until Christmas morning.
The final items added to the interior of this design were some golden details on the wall. I added a few gold buttons I got in a jar of cool buttons and a little plaque that reads “I Love You” for another personal touch. I also added a string of Christmas lights that I bought at Hobby Lobby and cut to fit the house. I would recommend trying to buy one of these before the Christmas season because they sell out really quickly when December rolls around. I really love how the lights hang off of the wall. I always try to include something in my designs that dangles because I love the movement.
To decorate the outside and the frame of the miniature room, I added a wooden golden star on top that I painted gold which made the whole house have a Christmas tree look. I also used a Christmas stamp I had and put a white snowman on the back. I thought that was so clever and loved the mix media style it produced.
There it is. My first holiday/season miniature. I I am honestly in love with this little guy and I can confess that I have left it out longer than just the holiday season. I loved getting to make something more realist but still put myself into it by making a few special pieces or adding a few odd details. I hope you enjoyed this little summary and maybe it will inspire you to get out and create. Even if you want to make something Christmas in December, July or honestly whenever.