Dollhouse Miniatures… On why I love making, selling + collecting them.

You may have heard of dollhouse miniatures before. Or maybe not? To the wider public miniatures may be written off as simply a children’s hobby, or play-thing… Quite the opposite. Most miniature enthusiasts that I know of are over the age of 40! That’s not to say that there aren’t any wonderful miniature artists/collectors under 40. (I’m only 25! Haw haw 🙂 ) That’s one thing I love about miniatures, miniature obsession knows no bounds!

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Dollhouse miniatures also come in ‘scales’. For example, the most popular scale is 1:12. That is to say, 1 inch in miniature world, equals 12 inches in real life. But recently 1:24, 1:48 & 1:144 have become very popular too. Dollhouse miniatures are usually collected within an open scene, dollhouse, or room-box.

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I have only been interested in (1:12 dollhouse specific) miniatures within the last few years – and already I have 3 houses! One, my first (a road-side find) being a 2nd story Tudor-style house that is slowly becoming Professor Snape’s house. I never imagined from that house onwards, my collection (and obsession) would grow! Something drew me to it, so I had to pick it up! My second house was a spectacular 4 story house, vintage by the looks, a gift from my fiance` for Christmas! My 3rd (and undoubtedly not my last) is a small 2 story cottage-style house, that a friend had picked up for me off an auction website. I’m thinking of turning it into a ‘cottage mouse house’ or Hobbit hole.

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I have always loved tiny things, but I hadn’t stumbled upon Dollhouse miniatures until a few years ago. I now have 2 regular magazines I buy on the subject – my favourites by far – Dolls House World & The Dolls House Magazine. Sometimes when it is on offer I will pick up Dollhouse & Miniature Scene. But let’s be honest – they ain’t cheap, and I have miniatures to make!!!

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I soon discovered a whole underground world of miniatures & people who make & collect them. It’s a global widespread affair! Germany, UK, Italy, France… Even in Western Australia there is a Miniature Association, within it – smaller groups who meet up regularly for crafty nights and a cuppa. I haven’t ventured that far in yet, but I’d love to join a local maker’s group to share & learn within this amazing hobby. And of course make a friend or two!

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Why do I love miniatures? Well, besides the fact that they are MIGHTY cute, they just have this magical, joyful, fun, happy, creative feel about them. At least that’s what I feel like when I am making them! It is an art form, making tiny, realistic items (the thrill of the chase trying to capture the realism!) … it’s calming, but also exciting at the same time! It is an even better feeling when you have people all over the world contacting you to make them specific things for their miniature scenes or dollhouses. What a special privilege, that my tiny piece will sit in their beloved miniature world. A world we miniaturist’s take such pride in, such joy showing off our miniature scenes and houses to friends, family & visitors!

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Another reason I love miniatures is because they use up all my fabrics, card stock, papers, strings + twine, ribbons, lace, buttons, knick-knacks, wood, vintage clothing and notions, plus plastics that would otherwise go in the bin. I have 2 fashion labels and have been sewing over 10 years – so the remnants & scraps are aplenty. In miniatures, nothing goes to waste. In one sense  this hobby does enable my hoarding, but in another, it re-uses, recycles, up-cycles & reduces waste! I love using all these one of a kind off-cuts and scraps, because in turn, they create one of a kind miniatures!

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And finally, creating & collecting miniatures allows me to create tiny, magical, perfect worlds in which I control everything. I can experiment with looks I would never try in my own home, I can step into the world of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings… it’s like I’m having everything I ever wanted, exactly how I wanted it… but in miniature!

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And now I’ve made a business out of it. 🙂 I would love it to take a bigger role in my future. I’m just going to keep working away at it for now. You can find everything above in my store here: www.bettieminiatures.etsy.com

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