Skilled project: Armistice 1918 in miniature

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03 November 2022
Create a Great War era miniature home typically greeting troops upon return, Armistice Day, 1918.

On that first Armistice Day in 1918, troops began returning home. This little portion of a one room Great War era flat celebrates two definitive images of home, which the troops most often dreamed of having when they returned.


You will need
Materials required
For the dining table 

  • 0.8mm and 1.6mm-thick sheetwood
  • Four turned miniature spindles about 38mm, e.g. Houseworks No. 12019
  • Fine hemp twine
  • Wood stain
  • Satin varnish
  • White glue

For the bed 

  • 3mm square stripwood
  • 1.6mm x 6mm stripwood
  • HO scale 2x6 stripwood
  • 10mm thick sheetfoam
  • Quilt batting
  • Fine white cotton fabric
  • Lightweight cardstock
  • Fine lace (optional)
  • Thin wool felt 

Tools required

  • Knife
  • Steel ruler
  • Small saw and mitre-box
  • Emery board
  • Waxed paper
  • Sanding sponge
  • Make-up brush
  • Grid paper

All materials used in this project are widely available from any good arts and crafts shop.

Dining room table

1 Cut the upper and lower top pieces from the thinner sheetwood. The lower top is 51mm x 89mm with 6mm slashed corners and the upper top is 48mm x 86mm) with 5mm slashed corners. Cut two 3mm x 73mm side skirts, two 3mm x 38mm end skirts and four 3mm x 11mm corner braces from the thicker sheetwood. Sand the lower tip from the spindles, leaving a ball foot. Trim the spindles to 30mm. Back bevel the ends of the braces to 45°, to span a right angle corner diagonally. Sand the upper edge of each top piece rounded on all sides. 


2 Stain the two tops, the skirt pieces, braces, legs, and about 230mm of twine. Let dry. Glue the upper (smaller) top centred on the lower top. Wrap this assembly in waxed paper and weight it until it is dry to prevent warping.

Glue the longer skirts inside the shorter ones, over grid paper, forming a rectangular frame with squared corners. Glue a brace across the inside of each corner. Glue twine along the bottom edge of this frame, meeting at one corner.

4 Glue this skirt frame centred on the underside of the tabletop, twine upwards. Glue a spindle leg into each corner, against the skirt pieces and the top. Let dry completely.


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5 Apply varnish inside the corner braces to further secure the legs and apply a thin coat over the rest of the piece. Let dry. Sand lightly with the sanding sponge and brush away any dust. Repeat for a second and third coat.

Double bed 

1 Cut two 25mm x 54mm head/footboards, ten 3mm x 54mm trim pieces, sixteen 3mm x 19mm trim pieces, five 6mm x 51mm slats, and four 5mm square post caps for the headboard and footboard from the thinner sheetwood. Cut two 51mm and two 38mm posts from the square stripwood and four 79mm slat supports from the HO stripwood. Cut two 54mm end rails, one same-size headboard rail, and two 79mm side rails from the wider stripwood. Sand the upper edges rounded on two long top trim pieces and four post caps. Round their corners. Stain all the wood pieces and about 280mm of twine. Glue the four slat supports together in pairs.

2 Glue the slat supports to the side rails, even with the bottom edge. Place these side rails 51mm apart on grid paper with the slat supports facing each other. Glue a slat onto these supports at each end of the side rails and three more slats equally spaced across the inside. Glue the end rails against the side rails and end slats, making a slat-bottomed box

3. Glue the trim pieces to the front and back of the headboard and footboard, forming panels as shown. Glue the top trim centred on the headboard and footboard. Glue twine along the outside bottom of the headboard, footboard, and side rails. 

4 Lay the footboard on grid paper. Glue a shorter bedpost to each side of the footboard, with the post tops 3mm above the footboard. Glue the remaining bedposts to the headboard in the same way. With the cording facing up, glue the headboard rail between the bedposts, 10mm above the bottom of the posts, against the work surface. Glue the caps centred on the bedposts. Lay the footboard on the work surface. Glue the mattress frame end to the inside of the footboard, centred side-to-side and even with its bottom edge. Glue the mattress frame/footboard assembly to the headboard rail in the same way. Varnish as seen.

5 Cut a 49mm x 81mm foam mattress. Cut a same-size piece of lightweight card stock. Spot glue the foam to the cardstock. Cut a 83mm x 117mm piece of cotton. Centre the foam on the cotton, card side up, and glue 6mm of one long edge onto the card. Glue the same hem to the other long edge of the card. Fold the top with neat corners and glue the edge onto the card. Repeat for the bottom. Cut a 51mm x 83mm piece of cotton. Glue a tiny hem under on all edges. Glue this piece centred over the card, hiding the raw cotton edges. Place the mattress card-side-down on the support slats.

6 Cut two 19mm x 25mm pieces of batting for pillows. Glue or sew cotton around the batting and add lace to the outer ends, if desired. Cut and hem a 76mm x 102mm top sheet. Cut a 70mm x 89mm felt blanket and tuck it in at the foot of the mattress and along the side rails.

Dog, dining chairs, flooring paper, lamp, bible, flowers, and carpet from:
WWI posters from:

Photos by Stephen Lesbirel 

Box Out  (if there is room)
Ruth says…
As we commemorate 100 years since the end of World War I and likely pause at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month to remember the great losses and sacrifices of that war, I like to also remember the happy reunions that occurred when the troops finally came home. They had missed so much and were missed so much over the war years – mostly by family and friends, maybe even a beloved dog. There were certainly times and places that they could never get back, but most returned to relieved loved ones and the happy homes that they had longed for during their time in service. With that in mind, this month I’m making two of the “creature comforts” that we often take for granted: the dining room table where families gathered for dinner each night and a comfortable bed for a quiet, restful, hopefully worry-free night’s sleep.

I wanted these 1/24th scale Edwardian pieces to be in realistic, delicate scale rather than the overly thick table tops and chunky headboards that are so readily available, so I designed my own. These pieces can be made in 1/12th scale by doubling the measurements given.

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