Get the look: Winter in miniature

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03 January 2023
Dress, decorate and style your miniature scene or dolls house for winter with this helpful guide.

Above: Mellanie took her miniature inspiration from real Alaskan snow!

Dress your dolls house for winter with these top tips for achieving a seasonal look by Moi Ali

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Winter wonderland

While it’s cold outside, stay warm and cosy indoors and use the short days and long nights of winter to add a seasonal look to your dolls house. Mellanie McCreary of Palmer Alaska, and her husband David, are new to miniatures. She told me, “Winters in Alaska are long, and there are plenty of hours to fill indoors during the extended darkness. So we decided to try our hand at making a doll house together! This is our first one. It is a doll house from a kit - the Lily by Greenleaf. It took us about two months to complete. I am hoping to decorate the interior in a way that suggests long evenings by the woodstove, so I took it outside, in to the snow, to get some photographs for decorating inspiration.”

Like Mellanie, when I think of winter, I think snow! Why not give your dolls house garden a temporary dusting of artificial snow for the winter months, then clear it away next season and replace with troughs of spring flowers? If you want more permanent snow, just glue it in place. However, be mindful that it will attract dust – and the dust will be very visible on the glistening white snow!

Sprinkle fake snow drifts outside your house, as I have done here.

Fake snow is widely available in craft shops and online. This time of year, with Christmas just over, you might even manage to get some for a knock-down price! I bought my artificial snow from Hobbycraft for just a couple of pounds. For extra sparkle, add white or iridescent glitter. The type of artificial snow that can sprinkled is better than the stuff that comes on a roll and looks a bit too much like cotton wool. 

Varying the appearance

Paula Isaacs from Kentucky is an expert at creating seasonal variation. She made two versions of a quarterscale Acorn Cottage kit: one autumnal and another themed for winter. Paula’s works beautifully demonstrates how the same kit can be used to create two or more totally different looks. Acorn Cottage in the fall uses an autumnal colour palette of oranges and russets. By contrast, the winter version features plenty of snow on the ground, porch and roofline. 

The fake snow on this 1/48th scale cottage looks so wintery and picturesque.

Another way to create a winter’s feel is to add a pile of chopped logs at the front door of your dolls house, conjuring up images of a roaring fire within. This is easy to do and it costs nothing to create a log pile for outside your house and a simple log fire for your hearth.

Ready-made extra large log piles from Little Homes of England.
Talking of hearths, you’ll need to warming fire for the full-on winter effect. If your house is electrified, add a light-up fire. The glow of the red bulb creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere in a room, and the cosy interior scene is completed with an armchair, a good book and a cup of tea to help keep chills and the winter blues at bay! If your house is not wired, you can still have a lovely fire in the grate by making my simple log fire. Alternatively, a resin fire can look very effective too.

A resin fire can look surprisingly realistic.

When winter chills arrive, there’s nothing quite like a warm woollen blanket to snuggle down with. Felt is the perfect fabric for making scale woollen blankets, as it’s cheap, comes in a vast range of colours and creates a realistic effect. Simply tuck it round a mini mattress, or arrange a folded piece of felt at the end of a bed for extra warmth on a cold night.

Keeping warm

Or why not get your knitting needles out and create this charming knitted patchwork bed throw using scraps of fine, colourful wool? It’s a great way to bring a bit of colour into a chilly winter bedroom! If knitting is not your thing, create my simple ‘cheats’ patchwork quilt project on page 18. It’s easy to do and takes virtually no sewing skills.

Knit or buy a cheery woollen throw!

The trick to creating a cosy interior is to include plenty of detail that hints at a cold outside. Obviously a fire is a must, but don't forget a mug of something warm, a pet snuggled up on a mat in front of the fire, or a good read in the form of an open book on a fireside chair.

A cup of tea or a mug of hot chocolate is a great winter warmer.

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