Miniature fish & chips tutorial using polymer clay


Learn how to make your own miniature fish and chips using polymer clay in this step-by-step tutorial by Sadie Brown – the perfect dinnertime addition to your dolls house or miniature scene. Or turn them into a charm!

Forget cooking dinner, we're going for takeaway – miniature style! Celebrate National Fish and Chip Day (4th June) with this easy-to-follow project using polymer clay, a type of modelling clay commonly used in miniature making. It involves quite a few steps but the result is so worth it! Question is – do you like your fish & chips with mushy peas or tomato sauce?

Go on... 'tuck in' to this 'tasty' classic!

DIY miniature fish and chips tutorial

By Sadie Brown

You will need

  • Polymer clay – white, sunflower yellow, apple green, chocolate brown, translucent, cream
  • Pastels – golden ochre, brown, burnt orange, white, red, lemon yellow
  • Sculpey Bake & Bond (or similar)
  • Craft knife
  • Small brushes
  • Map pin or needle
  • Small piece of kitchen foil
  • Roller
  • Gloss varnish
  • Matte varnish
  • Superglue
  • Fine white sand, salt or white decorative florist gravel 
  • Old miniature wicker basket
  • Scissors
  • White fish & chips paper/heavy tissue paper 

Method


To make the fish

A miniature battered fish is at its best when you can see the fish inside and there's a tiny wooden fork in the top just waiting for a 1/12th scale person to take another bite!

1. Starting out with a ball of white polymer clay about 8mm in diameter create the basic shape of your fish. If you're making more than one fish then try and make each one look a bit different. 

2. Mix grated golden ochre pastel with burnt orange and, as with the chips, an extremely small amount of brown to create a colour which represents the rich golden temptation of crispy batter and use a slightly rougher brush than for the chips to coat the fish with the pastel. This allows the brush to add texture to the batter. Don't be afraid of being quite rough with the brush as lumps and bumps in the texture add realism. In addition to this you can use a tiny screwed up piece of kitchen foil to add texture. Brush over any places where the white clay has come through with a bit more of the pastel.

3. Use a map pin or needle to break into the 'batter', revealing the fish underneath. Keep the pieces you break away as these can be added to the final display. 

Top tip! Another fun and realistic effect is to just pull the fish apart with your fingers, giving a really natural impression of the fish inside surrounded by the crispy batter!

4. Make a small hole in the white of the fish with the map pin or needle, just big enough to insert a tiny wooden fork later on! If you'd rather have your fork separate with a piece of fish on the end then put a small hole in one of the pieces put aside in the last step. 

Want to learn how to make a battered sausage and steak pie to complete the set? Find the tutorials in the February 2015 issue of Dolls House & Miniature Scene by subscribing to the digital library. Not only will you get these tutorials, but you'll also get access to more than 10 years' worth of issues – projects-galore! 


To make the chips

Chips are a staple in takeaway food, whether you want to make them go with fish, other takeaway items or just on their own! These are miniature chips with a twist, however – they come served complete with miniature salt! 

1. Roll balls of cream polymer clay (white mixed with just a touch of sunflower yellow) into the shape of potatoes, roughly anywhere up to 9mm in length. Make some larger than others, some rounder, some longer, etc. 

2. Using a craft knife, slice the 'potatoes' into chips. It's a good idea to put the 'potatoes' into the freezer for a few minutes before doing this. This allows the clay to harden a little to allow smooth slicing without compressing the clay and your chips losing their shape. 

3. Grate golden ochre pastel with just a touch of brown and burnt orange and brush over the individual chips. Obviously real chip shop chips wouldn't be evenly coloured so don't be afraid to add deeper shading with a few touches of the three colours here and there! 

4. Set aside some of the chips to use loose i.e. for putting in a dolls had for example, and stick the rest together in a carefully arranged pie – carefully arranged to look as though they've just been hurriedly shovelled into a tray. Use a little Sculpey Bake & Bind to adhere the chips to one another. 


To make the mushy peas

1. Mix equal parts apple green and sunflower yellow polymer clay with a small amount of chocolate brown clay to create the perfect pea green! Make lots of tiny peas, each one between half a millimetre and a millimetre in diameter. 

2. Add grated white pastel to Sculpey Bake & Bond followed by mixing in some of the pea coloured clay to create a thicker paste. Make sure that the colour of the final paste matches the colour of the original clay before mixing with Bake & Bond. 

3. Mix the peas made in step 1 with the paste, making sure not to mix them so well that you can't see them!

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Putting it all together

1. Gather together your fish and chips. Arrange them how you want them, i.e. the chips over the fish or the fish over the chips, etc., and secure with a little Bake & Bond. It's always a good idea to do this on the baking tray you're going to use to bake them in the oven. 

2. Next use a map pin to pile some mushy peas on top!

3. To make the tomato sauce, mix red pastel with a touch of brown pastel. Try dripping one of the loose chips into the sauce – they look really good added to the final miniature or in the doll's hand!

polymer clay fish and chips with tomato sauce


To make the lemon slices

1. Colour a ball of 1.5cm translucent clay with lemon yellow pastel and flatten into a circle about 2cm across.

2. Slice the circle of clay in half. Roll out a thin piece of white polymer clay large enough to place the flat half of the half circle against four times.

Cut one piece to fit against the flat side and then put the two halves back together. Repeat this three more times as pictured. 

3. Roll out a piece of white polymer clay roughly about a couple of millimetres in thickness and long enough to go all the way around the circle. After wrapping it around, mix sunflower yellow polymer clay with a little white to create a bright colour for the outside of the cane and, again, roll out a piece a couple of millimetres thick and long enough to wrap around the circle. 

4. Carefully and taking your time, squash and stretch the circle until it becomes a long tube. Cut into smaller pieces and keep going until you have canes about 3 to 4mm in thickness.

5. After baking, cut the cane into individual slices or pieces of lemon and coat with gloss varnish. 


The finishing touches

After baking your fish, chips and mushy peas coat the mushy peas and tomato sauce using gloss varnish. 

The salt

Use matte varnish for the fish and chips and, using this as an adhesive while it's still wet, sprinkle with either fine white sand or real sea salt. Crush or grind both of these to make the grains super tiny! How tiny the sand or salt appears, it still needs to be smaller before it enters the miniature realm! Alternatively, crushed white florists decorative gravel is also great. 

The fork

Remember the hole made in the fish for the fork? Take a piece of wicker from an old 1/12th scale wicker basket and cut to a length of about 6mm, just the right length for a miniature wooden fork!

Carefully dip one end of the wicker 'fork' into superglue and insert into the hole inside the fish or one of the fish pieces. This is also the time to superglue a piece of lemon on the finished dish as well.

Packaging

Buy takeaway boxes or for a traditional wrapped paper finish, cut a 4cm square of heavy tissue paper (or indeed real fish and chip paper if you have it!) and scrunch up a bit.

Whether you're using the boxes, paper or both, superglue your fish and chips into place and you're all done! 


Enjoyed making these 'tasty' miniature fish and chips? Why not make some miniature strawberry cupcakes for dessert?!