Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Pictures and Lighting: Miniature Addition


Taking pictures of your minis is very important if you like to blog or share your work on social media.  You put all this hard work into building and styling the most perfect miniatures, and if your pictures aren't crip and true, then it feels (at least to myself), that no one can see what I really want to see and feel.

Let us look back, way back, to the original pictures on this blog.  I owned a Blackberry at the time, so I relied on my Canon camera to take photos.  I didn't know about the importance of natural light and everything looked yellow.  Every shot, I thought, I looks like someone peed on the picture!

It look a few years, an iPhone and some inspiration to bring my minis out of the basement and up to a window.  The inspiring Nesha Kay (IG @nesha_kaye) is an amazing photographer, scene setter and 1:6 Barbie/Fashion Royalty artist.  I saw a few of her Instagram posts about putting her room boxes by windows for light, and to capture the outdoors through the room box window.  This was revolutionary stuff for me!

Mini photography can be done well at any budget or location.  I am no expert, but I've always loved photography and maybe my mistakes and discoveries can help you!

Natural Light

Move your house to your brightest window or you sun/shade window.  Turn it, and see how the light cuts through windows and casts shadows.  If the view through your windows stinks, try printing backgrounds.

The drawbacks? Well, it can't be photographed at night.  And your best light often is for maybe an hour a day at that location so be prepared to shoot or move your house around your home.

Artificial Light

Lighting was once really expensive to buy.  I would look at camera stores and cringe.  But with the advent of TikTok and YouTube, cheap and easy LED lighting is available everywhere.

I purchased an entire lighting rig for under $100 on Amazon.  It takes a while to assemble (and put away), its amazing.  Watch for sales, because there's always a similar set available.  What these lights do is allow you to light from the left and right and front/top at the same time, removing shadows or weird tinges to your photos.  You don't even need to have the most amazing phone camera, because the lights make up for it.  Need to shoot at midnight? Rainy dull day? No problem!  My husband jokes it looks like the Sears Portrait Studio in my office when its set up.

An even more simple and cost effective solution is an LED light ring.  You can purchase ones the clip to your cell phone and surround your camera. Or you can purchase a large one that connects to a stand.  My ring can screw into a stand, or unscrew it and I can place it under my chin, on the roof of the house, etc. to cast the right light/shadows no matter how awkward the space is or the time of day.  A good LED light should have 3 light colours, such as warm white, cool white and warm yellow light.  Mine also has 4 levels of brightness for each colour.  It's just 3 simple buttons to press on the ring light, so nothing complicated.  Below is something similar to what I own. It was $35 on Amazon and connects using a USB to a plug.

Combination Lighting

When photographing a dollhouse, you often have deep rooms that make it difficult to get light into.  This is where the ring light comes in handy.  You can have the pleasant natural light come through a window, but by positioning the ring light a little bit away from the house, but in front of the room, and matching the light colour and brightness to your ring light to the natural light, you can fill the space with light.  Your photos won't be dark anymore! 


I would clip magazine images and tape them to books for scenes outside my windows.  But that requires lots of repositioning depending on the angle you are shooting from.  It's very annoying to have a great shot then realize half the window has a book in it. 

You can get great landscape shots from Pixabay (thanks Kristine of Paper Doll Miniatures) and expand them in Word to fill a page.   I often just print on legal size paper at home and tape a few sheets together. I then tape it to a book outside the window and voila! something nice to see.  Some miniature magazines also come with a free background image page you can remove and use too.

There you have it! I hope this helps you all a little bit or at least shows you that there are lighting options out there that will better showcase your hard work and won't break the bank.



Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Mid Century Build

 The Mid Century Build

This one took me a while! A year or two of off and on building.  I feel like the moment it got to be frustrating or I ran out of a material I put it on pause.  But then one day I said enough is enough! This half finished house looks sad on your shelf, so I did all the tedious finishes, purchased all the bits I needed and finished in about 2 weeks (a record!) 

This post has a lot of pictures, so you'll just need to keep scrolling down for more!


The base of the kit is the Greenleaf 2012 Spring Fling contest build.  I bought it long after the contest when it was on sale.  It was a bit small, so I added the bathroom wing.  Then I took the greenhouse and flipped it on its side to create a sunken living room.

The exterior was "bricked" using artist oil paint paper and a square paper punch.  The wood siding came from a model train store.  It was the same wood I used as the kitchen backsplash in my Ikea room box.  

I made a wall sconce because I couldn't find any modern exterior lighting.  It's a piece of aluminum curved and attached to a piece of smoke mirrored plastic.  I fed an LED inside to light it and hid the battery pack in the planter.


First stop....the bathroom!  This was the first interior space I finished.  It was so tedious to cut the acrylic and fit the shower.  But don't get me started on how I made it extra hard to get your hand/tweezers inside the shower to style it!

I used 3D printed minis from the Shapeways stores of  Marion Russek and Paper Doll Miniatures.  
For the shower I used acrylic sheets and trimmed them with fine plastic channel from the model railway store. From the same store I also purchased the brick/tile paper for the walls.

The vanity was handmade.  After I constructed the frame I covered all the wood with a pretty veneer.  Another "what was I thinking" project.  The counter top was a piece of sample tile which I didn't even need to trim.

I also ended up making the wall sconces using very thin veneer and brass rod.  The LED lights inside are wired through the wall and into the kitchen.

FUN FACT! Thin acrylic mirror sheets don't like clear instant grip glues.  It can distort the mirror.  Which I discovered after it was up!  Nothing too noticeable, but next time I'll use tacky glue.

The Living Space

This is the combo kitchen, living and sleeping area.  The living room couch in the sunken area is the bed.

The one major issue that presented itself after the fact was the flooring.  I used the Houseworks strip flooring sheets where the wood veneer is glued to a paper sheet.  After a year of it being down, the glue from the paper to the veneer wood floor started to separate in spots  so I have gaps and bouncy spots.  Thank fully you can sort of jam glue in there, but I have been really disappointed with Houseworks.  I would separate the floor from the paper and glue it direct to the house next time.

The Kitchen

I really wanted to challenge myself with this kitchen.  And I did!  The backsplash was an aluminum sheet (they scratch really easy!).  To it, I mounted my floating shelves made of balsa and then veneered.  I didn't want to see the LED lights underneath, so I added a piece of frosted acrylic plastic.

The cabinets were the same story!  Build from simple wood frames, I veneered them and left spaces for the ELF appliance kits I made.  The island is made from the Houseworks island kit, again veneered.  But this veneer was trickier as I had to glue, veneer and trim into the recessed panels on the cabinets.  I used so many knife blades!

The Living Area

Area? Transition Space? The dining area would be stool on the kitchen island.  Or maybe a TV tray while on the couch? You would have to be creative.

I used a lot pieces in my collection to decorate the space.  I stitched (petite point) the rug from a Janet Granger kit and the bar cabinet was a Jane Harrop kit.

The Bedroom

Its the bedroom where you don't sleep past 6am because there aren't any drapes.  Sorry!  I was not that ambitious.  The bed does lift up to conceal the battery/switch for the globe light.  I made two bed tops, one is beige linen and the other beige corduroy. 

I stitched all the pillows and didn't want to make any after that for a long time!  The rug was hand made from Tremeers Treasures If you can, check out this husband and wife duos work.  They're a sweet elderly couple that love making minis and produce beautiful items.

There you have it friends! A miniature project that was actually completed on time....and by that I mean, completed in under 5 years.  


Thursday, March 02, 2023

Well Hello Again!

 Well Hello Again!

I have to admit that some significant time has passed since I last blogged about my miniatures.  It was a mix of things that kept me busy like the pandemic, life and moving.  My goal is to blog more and eventually redo everything in to a proper website.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves!  I post mostly to Instagram these days, so feel free to follow me there @kitty_and_kat_miniatures

Since this is a bit of a catch up, I'll just show you some items from about the last 6 months.


I had the berry pots in my stash for a very long time.  But I hadn't located a strawberry kit that looked accurate enough to inspire me.  Then about a year ago I stumbled upon Moonflower Mini Garden on Etsy.  The flower kits are amazing.  The have such fine detail, include everything you need and have step by step colour photos. 

Mini Modern

When I'm feeling inspired I often love to pull out my modern minis made by Pepper Micheson of MitchyMoo Miniatures. Its a bit like Where's Waldo in these images, there are so many of her pieces!  But lets try! The red sofa, blue floor lamp, coffee table, armoire, Ikea poang chair...and there may be more but just not in these shots.

After waiting and watching their website, I ordered myself a mini lava lamp from Shepherd Miniatures.  It lights up and is such a delight!

Random Bits of Fun

I am in love with this beautiful orchid from Martha Mclean Miniatures (orchid by Pat Richard and glass by Ray Storey).  The dinner setting was vintage and purchased on Ebay (no artist listed).

I really do have a soft spot for The Golden Girls.  1980's Miami vibe miniature are so much fun.  I made the couch from a vintage kit.  My first attempt at bending and shaping bamboo strips went better then expected.  The charcuterie came from MarshmellowHugs on Etsy and the tiki glasses are from Stewart Dollhouse Creations.

I have so much more to share!  Recall my Mid Century Build? Well that was finally finished and it looks amazing.  I will post about that gem really soon.