What you making Grandma? What are you making now? Questions my friends and Grandchildren regularly ask me. How did you do that?  I have been asked by so many  how did you get it so small, and they look so real. Well my aim was always to look at photographs and not to be able to tell if it was miniature or life size. Some ideas work better than others and the results are pleasing, sometimes it doesn't work and you loose enthusiasm. So this blog is for all those who have asked 'how to' and 'how do you do that' and a thank you to all who have left inspiring comments on Hints & Tips For Making Miniatures on Facebook. A big thank you to you all and hope that this blog will help you fill your shelves and cupboards to over flowing! This is the first time I have attempted a blog its a learning curve so if ever I needed your kind words of encouragement and inspiration to carry on, its now!

You will want to know what I use, I will  try to keep things simple and cheap!     But sometimes you only get what you pay for and buying cheap can be a false economy.      As I have learned over the   years experimenting making miniatures  buying on price can cost you     more in  the long run,       both in time and poor results and wishing you'd just not even bothered and throw the whole lot in  the dustbin!  A good desk top publishing programme is essential and a photo editing program, I use Serif Page Plus but I suppose any would do the same job.             Also a scanner and photo  quality  printer, good quality matt  photo  paper  and  some  self  adhesive glossy photo paper, UHU adhesive works best for me, use whatever your happy with and what works best for you.

Making a miniature grocery box.

Basic Steps in Miniature Box Making

Box scanned both sides.

I am going to attempt to show you how I make miniature boxes. I make them all the same way starting on the computer with scanning the original box. I scan on the highest quality setting photographic quality. I try to keep the definition I think that keeps them looking realistic so  get the best scan you can. I flatten the box and scan front and flip it over and scan the back of the box. Once the images are in my program I start to construct the box template. 

Make a box template

Showing box template

Using your desktop publishing programme construct a simple line box. I keep the lines very narrow because i don't want them to show on the finished box. I also put longer fold lines in using a bright colour. This helps when you come to fold the box. The front  and back panel of this box measures 13mm x 9mm, the side panel 13mm x 4mm and the top and bottom flaps 9mm x 4 mm. I add an extra box on to glue the    side of the box to the back.  Pretty straightforward really, the sizing to scale is important also the accuracy of the template ensures a nice finished box.

By adding longer fold lines to your template it makes the folding of even the tiniest box alot easier. 

Cut and Paste Box Panels into Box Template

This is where the photo editing comes in. Each panel of your box is a seperate photograph taken from your scanned box image.

Cut Panels from Scanned Image

Start to cut each panel of the box from the scanned image and paste into your box template. Ensure that all construction lines are covered with the pasted image and that they fit accurately into the appropriate panel. Continue to cut and paste until all the template is complete.

Putting box panels into box template

Finishing Touches to Box

Adding the Finishing Touches

Adding colour blocks to glue tabs

Once all the panels on the template have the relative box panel images in and all are lined up, add bands of colour to the little flaps or tabs that are going to be glued. Why? Well call me picky and fussy but I dont want any white paper to show on the finished miniature box. By taking the extra time to add these bands of colour now is worth it in my opinion. When glueing the box together this ensures that even if your folding has not been 100% accurate white paper wont show .  It works for me.

Getting Ready to Print

Printing out

Your nearly ready to print your box out! I love this bit find it amazing how the printer    prints out . I always print one box out just to make sure its ok its so easy to miss something or not line a panel up properly. Once I am happy with the test print I will print a full sheet . Use a good quality matt photo paper I find poor results in using ordinary paper, only photographic paper gives the clarity and sharpness you need on tiny miniature boxes to keep them looking real.  I don't use gloss photo paper for boxes I have found that the glossy glaze on the paper cracks when you fold and crease it.

Matt Photo Paper

Folding Printed Boxes

Folding and creasing using fold lines

Folding tiny boxes can be fiddly, but this is where those longer fold lines come in helpful. Using the horizontal fold lines fold along these first and crease with the edge of a blunt knife. This gives a nice sharp crisp edge to the box. Then fold and crease the vertical fold lines and you should have the same as in the picture. 

Cutting the Folded Box

What the folded and cut box should look like

I use sharp scissors for cutting the box out you could use a craft knife. I  tend to lose  the glue tabs if i use a craft knife too heavy handed probably so I stick to using scissors. The picture will show more clearly what your box should look like when its all cut out, more so than me waffling on when all you want to do is get it stuck together. Be patient it will be worth it!

Glue the Box

Box with first side glued to back

I use UHU glue any good paper adhesive would be ok, try what your used to using you will know how it works best for you.  Its important to be frugal with the glue only a tiny bit on the tabs is sufficient I find. Using more can lead to a messy box with glue marks on and will detract from the realistic effect you are trying to achieve. Glue the side of the box together first.

Glue the Bottom of the Box

Box with sides and bottom glued

Carefully put some glue on the bottom of the box, I don't bother to put any glue on little triangle pieces i just fold them into the box. You might find it useful to use a modelling tool to fold the tabs over fingers can be a bit big for this job. With glue on both bottom tabs fold the inside tab over and then fold the outside tab over and this is the bottom of the box done.  Check all is in line and nice and straight and clean off any glue that might have leaked out.

Adding Some Stability

Adding kitchen roll to give stabilty

At this stage when you will have an open top box I add a little pad of folded kitchen roll,  tissue or even some folded scraps of paper would work just as well. I find it gives the box a bit of stability and stops it getting squashed in as they are quite delicate. Fold the kitchen roll into a little pad just big enough to fit into the box.  Push the pad of kitchen roll into the box with the help of a modelling tool.

Closing the Box

 The last bit to seal the box closed. Glue all the tabs and fold in the side two tabs fold over the inner tab and the fold over the box lid. Again making sure its all nicely lined up and no glue seeping out. Voila! You've made a miniature grocery box!

The steps to making a box

Tools I use to make boxes