09 December 2021
Learn how to make elaborate miniature Tudor brick chimney stacks in the 1/12th scale for your dolls house or miniature scene in this tutorial by Ann…
During the Tudor period, houses were more frequently built on two floors, the open halls being boarded over, as well as being partitioned into more rooms. Brick came into use, and this ideal material made chimneys possible, even in houses built of wood.
Chimneys remained a symbol of prestige and affluence for some time – what better way to show off your wealth than to have a large brick chimney stack atop your house? Anyone who could afford to have several wanted everyone to know about it, which made these chimneys a dominant feature of Tudor houses.
The chimneys were built good and tall to carry any sparks high up and away from the highly inflammable wooden tiles or thatched roofs. They were also made entirely of brick – venting caps to control downdrafts, otherwise known as chimney pots weren't invented until later.
DIY miniature Tudor chimney stacks tutorial
Here's how to make a stack of four patterned Tudor chimneys, in the style of those found at Hampton Court Palace...
You will need
- 4 plastic, card or wood tubes
- Embroidery canvas
- Various braids
- Sharp scissors
- Circles of wood, wheels, buttons, etc.
- 4 plastic chessmen
- Acrylic paints
- Tooth pick
Top tip! The plastic tubes came from the local supermarket – they're the insides of till rolls and stand about 2½ inches high. If you ask nicely, your local mini-market may save them for you! However, narrow cardboard tubes or wooden dowel is also fine. Choose a height and diameter that suits the size of your house.
1. Cover the tube (1) in embroidery canvas (2) and leave to dry. Wrap braid around in various designs (3), using plenty of PVA or tacky glue. When dry and solid, clip neatly back to the tube with sharp scissors (4).
2. Decorate each of the four tubes with a different Tudoresque design in braid. Miniature rick-rack is particularly effective.
3. Glue a selection of buttons, wooden circles, discs etc., to the bottom of each tube. Cut the base from four cheap plastic chessmen, invert and glue to the top.
4. The tops and bottoms should be the same on each chimney, with just the patterned centres diverse.
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5. Paint the inside of any white/cream chess pieces black. Cover the chimney pots with a grey undercoat.
Did you know...? The grey paint works as a primer and also doubles up to resemble the mortar between the bricks on the finished piece.
6. Mix a nice brick colour in undiluted acrylic paint. Working a small section at a time, brick the chimneys by painting, then marking out the brick shapes with a tooth pick to reveal the grey mortar coloured paint beneath. When they're all complete, vary the colours of the paint with darker tones, and dry-brush black to the tops to resemble soot. An optional coat of matt acrylic varnish will protect your work.
7. Assemble the four chimney pots onto your brick chimney stack. These can be in a row as the first photo above, or in a symmetrical square as in the second photo. This depends entirely on the shape of the stack and roof of your dolls house.
This is a photo of the real things at Hampton Court Palace to which the miniature replicas bear a striking resemblance, don't you think?
Top tip! Some good sources of cheap chess sets are eBay, charity shops and car boot sales. If you're really lucky you may find a set with castles/rooks, just the right size, that have excellent castellations to add to the top of your chimneys.
Did this tutorial sweep you away to the exciting world of miniatures? Continue to explore the Tudor era in miniature by learning about Tudor life.