Create some miniature wartime sweets for a commemorative scene full of sweets eaten in WW2.
If you're looking for a little something special for your World War Two miniature scene, some authentic miniature wartime sweets make the perfect addition. Did you know sweets eaten in WW2 included toffee, liquorice and barley sugar twists?
WW2 sweets were very hard to come by though and were a creative luxury. In an age of marvellous creativity as the homemade sweet came into its own, these miniature wartime sweets really are a super special addition to your WW2 miniature scene.
Miniature wartime sweets
By Sadie Brown
You will need
- Polymer Clay: translucent or frost, white, sunflower yellow, ecru
- Pastels: golden ochre, brown, orange, burnt orange, sunflower yellow, grey, white, green, red
- Craft knife
- Gloss varnish
- Small brushes
- Map pin or needle
- White tissue paper
- Paper glue
- Blitz spirit
Did you know? Apart from a brief four month period during 1949, sweets were rationed for a period lasting more than a decade, meaning that sweets were an uncommon luxury for a large proportion of the childhoods of a whole generation.
1. Mix translucent or frost polymer clay and a tiny bit of sunflower yellow to make a pale yellow.
2. Blend together roughly equal amounts of the following pastels: golden ochre, burnt orange, orange and sunflower yellow.
3. Mix the blended pastels together with the pale yellow clay, adding in a few touches of brown pastel at the end to perfect the toffee colour.
4. Roll out the clay to a thickness of just under 1mm and bake.
Top tip: Putting a bit of talcum powder on your roller before rolling avoids the clay getting stuck and tearing or ending up with holes in it!
5. After baking, break into tiny pieces of toffee. Remember that real toffee, when broken with a toffee hammer, is all kinds of different shapes and sizes, so no piece is too small or too odd.
6. Coat each piece of toffee with gloss varnish.
1. Mix white polymer clay with a touch of sunflower yellow to make a pale yellow.
2. Divide the pale yellow clay into two and colour one half lightly with golden ochre pastel to make a light golden yellow and the other half with golden ochre pastel but much more densely until you have a deep, rich golden yellow.
3. Divide the light golden yellow into two pieces and roll out to a thickness of less than a millimetre. Shape the deeper yellow colour with your fingers, giving it a bumpy and uneven surface.
4. Press the three layers together, one light golden yellow on each side of the deeper yellow and bake.
5. Break into pieces. Break rather than cut as this gives the rough, realistic appearance of the cinder toffee. You need pieces of all different sizes, large, medium and small. Even a few very tiny pieces mixed in don’t go amiss!
6. Use a map pin to make lots of tiny holes in the deeper yellow middle part of each piece of cinder toffee.
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1. Mix translucent or frost polymer clay with orange pastel.
2. Don’t make the colour too dense, as an important part of achieving the realistic appearance of barley sugar twists is their translucence!
3. Roll out two sticks of the mixed clay, each about 1mm in diameter.
4. Twist together into a rope and bake.
5. After baking, slice into individual twists, each about 1.1cm in length.
6. Finish each twist with gloss varnish and hand out to your eager 1/12th scale residents!
Did you know? For a generation of children, trips to the air raid shelter were part of growing up. For some, when they first entered a shelter they would be too young to know what it was for but by the time they walked out into the fresh air for the final time at the end of the war they would know only too well. Some would never have known life without them or the intriguing emergency supplies of barley sugar twists schools were known to store in their air raid shelters.
1. Take a 2mm ball of the translucent/orange pastel mixed clay.
2. Roll to 3mm in length, flatten into the boiled sweet shape and bake.
3. Coat with gloss varnish as with the sticks.
Who would have thought something that looks no more than a piece of wood could be so popular? Not on ration, chewing on a dried liquorice root stick to remove all that leftover taste was something a lot of wartime children enjoyed doing.
1. Take a piece of ecru coloured polymer clay and roll into a tube about 1.5mm in diameter.
2. Blend together roughly one part brown and one part white pastels with about two parts grey pastel.
3. Brush the stick with the mixed pastel.
4. Using a fairly stiff brush, pull it along the stick all the way around to create the rough, bark like texture. As you do this you will find that the stick becomes naturally thinner and a good width for the final root sticks.
5. Break into individual sticks of roughly about 1.2cm in length. Breaking with your fingers rather than cutting with a craft knife gives the liquorice root sticks uneven ends.
6. Using a map pin, ‘shred’ a few of the root stick ends to give the natural, rough finish of the ends of real liquorice root. Curve some of the sticks slightly before baking.
7. To make the cone of sherbet into which dried liquorice root sticks were often dipped, start out by drawing a circle on white tissue paper, measuring 2.5cm in diameter and carefully cutting it out.
8. Fold the circle in half to make a semi-circle.
9. Make sure that the curved edge is at the top, make two folds as shown.
10. Brush the side on the right with paper glue, then fold it to the left, pressing down gently and smoothing it with a tissue to ensure a neat finish and to soak up any glue.
11. Carefully open the cone with a small object like the pointed end of a brush.
12. To make the powdered sherbet itself, mix white pastel with a little yellow.
13. Fill the cone with the powdered sherbet and dip in a liquorice root stick or two.
During World War II, one group of people who never went short of something to tempt the sweet tooth were the soldiers as energy providing boiled sweets were sent as part of their twenty four hour ration. Each ration would include two bags, each containing six boiled sweets!
1. Mix the five different colours needed for the different flavours. Mix translucent or frost polymer clay with white, green, yellow, orange and red pastels.
2. As always, add the pastel a little at a time and make each colour fairly pale and not too dense.
3. Roll a piece of clay for each sweet into a ball about 2mm in diameter. As above, each individual boiled sweet ration contained six sweets so there was always two of one flavour - here I’ve picked lime!
4. Lightly press the top of each ball of clay with the back of a fingernail to flatten a little and make the final shape of the sweet.
5. After baking, finish with gloss varnish.
If you're looking for more WW2 inspiration after learning how to make these gorgeous sweets eaten in WW2, why not meet some colourful characters from the 20th century to celebrate 75 years since VE Day?