Miniature Shelf Fillers for Dolls House or Shop

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25 September 2013
imports_HAC_main-pic-1-_56106.jpg Miniature Shelf Fillers for Dolls House or Shop
Moi Ali shares a fantastic trick to help you create enough stock to fill your shelves and your storeroom and all at minimal cost. ...
Miniature Shelf Fillers for Dolls House or Shop Images
Often the most expensive part of our hobby is not purchasing a miniature building, but filling it with realistic, scaled content. Every time I visit a dolls’ house fair I’m tempted into buying bits and bobs for my two shops. The range is fantastic – all manner of authentic-looking products from all eras can be readily found – and although items may be priced at just a pound or two, the cost of stocking out an entire shop with a window full of goodies and groaning shelf-loads of tins and jars, can easily run to well in excess of three figures! If you need 20 identical tins, or 30 matching cartons… make your own! It’s quick, easy and very satisfying – and you’ll save a fortune. Make a few extra and do a swap-shop with your friends or fellow dolls’ house club members!

In this project I’ll show you how to make basic stock items. You can adapt the techniques shown here to create your own favourites, whether Victorian and Edwardian goodies or modern supermarket packets and tins. Create tins of paint for your ironmonger’s or tins of beans for your grocery store; the technique is exactly the same.

You will need:

• Pencil
• Ruler
• Small paintbrush
• Scissors
• A small saw and a small mitre box (optional)
• Glue – both PVA and glue sticks work well
• Your choice of emulsion or acrylic paint. Black is a good choice for lids, as is dark grey and silver. If you prefer, use self-adhesive aluminium tape. If you bought a roll of it for my zinc roof project (May 2013 issue), use up a few of your off-cuts in this project.
• Square, rectangular and round dowling in various sizes, depending on the products you are making.
• Packaging labels

   You may be wondering where you can source suitable packaging labels. There are a number of options:

1. At dolls’ house fairs and online you can buy scaled-down labels specially printed for this purpose.
2. You can source labels online and print off your own supply. Try putting the words ‘dolls house miniature printables packaging’ into a search engine. Bear in mind that some images you find may not be used commercially, though that should not be a problem so long as you are not making packaging to sell for profit. You may have to do a little resizing to create 1/12th scale (or 1/24th scale) versions. You will need a decent colour printer to run off supplies. Alternatively you can save your labels to a memory stick and take them to be run off at a print shop.
3. You can scan your own full-size packages and resize them on your computer. Again you’ll need access to colour printing (see above).

Coleman’s Mustard tins

• Cut blocks of rectangular dowling to a suitable size.
• Paint the dowling yellow to match the mustard labels.

• Cut out your labels. I printed out suitably scaled packaging, sourced online, using a colour printer.
• When your paint is dry, glue the labels to the front of the ‘tins’ (they will go on a shelf, so the backs will not be seen.
• Paint the lids black or silver. As an alternative you could use self-adhesive aluminium tape.
• If you wish, glue pyramids of stock together to create impressive shop displays.

Paint tins

My paint tins were made in the same way, but I used larger, round dowling. By substituting red paint for yellow, and paint can labels for mustard labels, a hoard of very realistic tins can be made in an hour or so. They look terrific in my ironmonger’s shop and cost just pennies!

  Use small off-cuts of wood to make steps to display your stock on. This can create an impressive and very professional-looking display.


Print some of your images at a larger size and use them as posters and other shop displays. Glue them onto brown cardboard boxes or small wooden crates to create stock boxes. Or why not create an old enamel advertising sign? I used card (the back of an old notebook), which I covered in aluminium tape. I then glued an advert on top. Result!

This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.

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