Make a Miniature Beach Shop and Pier Scene in a Teacup

  • 01 of 11

    Make a Beach Scene in a Teacup With Free Printables

    A 1:48 scale miniature beach scene with a beach shop and pier, all set into a teacup and saucer.
    A quarter scale miniature beach scene with shop and pier set into a teacup and saucer. The shop can be decorated for a range of uses, and there is also a beach to fill with activity. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    This quarter scale beach scene can be made and dressed up a number of ways. You can use the shop front as a beach store or a cafe, and set the pier and beach with small scenes using quarter scale miniatures. The basic scene as shown here is made using free printables . See the next page of these instructions for links to the printables.  There are ten more steps in this slide show tutorial.

    To make the miniature beach scene in a teacup you will need a teacup and saucer (preferably plain, or with a scene related to the beach, or a central design which will be hidden), lightweight card or photo paper, a bit of dry arrangement florist's foam or air dry clay, acrylic paints, and fine sand or pebbles for the miniature beach. You will also need PVA glue, and blue tack (photo tack) or florist's clay or florist's stickum, or silicone glue to assemble the scene. If you wish, the scene can be set with goods arranged inside the teacup for a view through the door and window.

    There are a number of projects on the miniatures site suitable for quarter scale nautical settings like this beach scene.

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  • 02 of 11

    Fit The Beach Shop Backdrop Into Your Chosen Teacup

    Fitting a template for a quarter scale pier side shop into a teacup.
    The circular template of light card is fitted into the teacup as a backdrop, and a section of floral foam is cut to be shaped into a stone wall to support the pier. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    To make this project easier to build, I've set up two pages of free printable parts to help you assemble the scene as shown. I printed my pages on photo weight paper, but you can print on regular printer paper and glue the pages to lightweight card as a backing if you wish. The printable parts can also be used as templates for custom parts you build or paint on card or craft wood. 

    To begin making the beach scene, test fit a backdrop into your chosen teacup. You can use the one from the printable sheets, or make one custom fitted to your cup. The backdrop should fit into the teacup roughly 1/2 inch (1.25cm) from the front edge of the cup as shown in the photo on this page. In front of this backdrop, you will fit a stone base. I cut mine from a slice of dry floral arrangement foam so it would fit below the line where the pier joins the backdrop on the template. A polymer clay blade is the easiest way to slice dry floral arrangement foam or insulation foam board for miniatures. Either type of foam will work for the base of the pier. You will need to bevel the back edge of the foam so it will fit snugly inside your teacup in front of the cardboard backdrop. The top of the foam should fit along the pier line on the backdrop. 

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  • 03 of 11

    Position the Door and Window On Your Teacup Beach Shop Front

    Placing a shop window and a door in a teacup beach front shop scene.
    The door, awning, and shelf are test fitted on a backdrop to draw in the size for the window and door openings. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    To position the miniature door and window in your teacup shop front, first set your door so it is close to one side of the backdrop template that fits in your teacup. Assemble the shelf and awning by folding and gluing the shelf tabs, and bending the awning so the top of the awning forms a glue tab to hold the awning against the backdrop. Position them on your backdrop so the shelf lines up roughly with the bottom of the window on the door, and the awning fits onto the backdrop in a line above the shelf. Sketch a rough outline of your window on the backdrop as shown in the photo on this page.

    Make sure the edges of your windows are square and true, and cut the window openings with a sharp craft knife.

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  • 04 of 11

    Add a Siding or Stucco Finish To a Teacup Shop Front

    Strips of paper glued to a beach shop front which will be set into a teacup for a miniature scene.
    Strips of paper siding are glued to the shop frontage for a quarter scale beach scene in a teacup. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    To finish your miniature beach shop front, you can cut narrow strips of siding and glue them across your frontage, or you can use Light Molding Paste Artist's Medium or fine sand to Make a Miniature Stucco Finish. You could also lay strips up and down on the front to make a traditional west coast board and batten siding finish. Keep the edges of your window opening, and the area behind your door free of siding.

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  • 05 of 11

    Fit a Scene or Photo Behind Your Beach Shop Windows

    Test fitting a magazine advertisement as a backdrop for a quarter scale beach shop.
    A section of recycled plastic packaging is glued to the back of the shop front to make windows, and a suitable interior view is fashioned by testing advertisement photos behind the shop windows. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    The easiest way to finish the windows of your beach scene is to glue a scrap of recycled plastic packaging behind the door and window, then look for a photo or a magazine advertisement which suits the shop. If you wish, you can make a second card backdrop to fit further into the teacup, and set small shelves on the backdrop to hold items for your miniature store. One or two small shelves are enough to create an interesting scene inside the teacup, which can be viewed through the windows of the shop.

    Once you have the scene glued in place behind the windows, trim the window plastic and the photo or ad away from the backing template. Cut strips of paper trim and fit them around the window, mitering the corners if possible as shown. If you are using a shelf below the window, you will not need to add trim here.

    Glue the window trim and the door to the shop front. If you wish, glue a bead onto the door as a handle.

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  • 06 of 11

    Make Awning Rods From Pins For Your Shop Window Awning

    Pins glued to a paper awning to mimic the effect of awning rods in 1:48 scale.
    Dressmakers pins or insect pins painted black on the ends and glued to the back of the printable paper awning give the effect of awning rods in 1:48 scale. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    To add to the finish of your little shop in a teacup, paint the tops of four dressmakers pins or insect pins with black acrylic or enamel paint. When the paint is thoroughly dry, glue the pins along the fold lines on the back of the awning so the tops of the pins line up with the crease and serve as awning rods when viewed from the front.

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  • 07 of 11

    Finish the Rock Base For the End of the Miniature Pier

    Faux rock base made from floral foam set beneath a pier and shop in a miniature teacup scene.
    A rock base made from a slice of floral foam is glued beneath the pier at the front of a printable miniature shop backdrop which fits into a teacup scene. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    To make a faux rock base for your miniature pier from florist's foam, press rough rock shape outlines into the foam using a pencil, or the end of a paintbrush. Paint a dark brown or grey acrylic paint over all the foam, and allow it to dry. Using the dry brush technique brush on two or three 'mud' colors to mimic the effect of wet rocks. If you wish, you can use acrylic mediums mixed with purple or orange paint to make tiny star fish to cling to your rocks. Add these once your rock effect is dry. Green or green/brown paint mixed with gloss acrylic medium will give the effect of wet weed clinging to the rocks.

    For more detailed information see the Instructions for Creating Faux Stone Walls From Foam.

    Glue the awning to your shop front, and glue the shelf across the base of the window if you wish to use it to display items for your shop. You can cut and assemble small brackets for below the window using the printable bracket templates.

    When the shelf and the awning are securely glued to the shop front, fold down the tab on the pier printable, and test fit it against the shop front, then cover it with the rock wall. Test to make sure all these parts will fit neatly into your teacup.

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  • 08 of 11

    Make the Pilings For the Miniature Pier

    Tightly rolled coils of paper shaped for use as pilings on a miniature pier.
    Paper pier sections are cut to size, wrapped tightly around a skewer, then dry brushed with paint on the top and sides, and fitted into holes punched in the card base for a miniature pier. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    To prepare your miniature pier, use an awl, or a standard hole punch if you have one to punch small holes on the marked spots on the pier printable.

    Cut out the pier sections to the heights you need to fit on top of your pier at the end closest to the shop front. Cut out two full length pier sections.

    Roll the pier sections tightly around a skewer, wire, or darning needle to make tight paper rolls. Test fit the rolls into the holes you cut in your pier, and adjust the size of the rolls, then glue the roll edge and set them aside to dry.

    When the glue has dried, use the dry brush technique to brush a bit of grey or brown paint over the top of your piers and down the sides.

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  • 09 of 11

    Test Fit the Shop Front and Pier Into Your Teacup

    Fitting a paper shop front and pier into a teacup and saucer for a miniature beach scene.
    With the cup handle resting on the saucer, photo tack or florist's stickum is set in a narrow roll behind the shop front, and the assembly is pressed gently into the teacup. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    Glue the tab of the pier to the shop front along the attachment line just below the door. Allow to dry.

    Set the teacup so the handle rests against the saucer. Roll a narrow "worm" of photo tack gum, or florist's stickum or florist's clay and apply it to the back of the shop front, just inside from the outer edge. You should be able to press the shop front squarely into the teacup for a test fitting.

    Check that the position of the piers will be within the saucer. If everything looks correct, glue the rock wall base below the pier.

    When I make these little teacup scenes I am usually giving them as gifts, so I use glues and materials which can be removed so the teacup is unharmed. If you prefer, you can assemble the scene more permanently using silicone glues to set the backdrop into the teacup, and using two part epoxy putty to hold the teacup and saucer together.

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  • 10 of 11

    Make A Beach Base In The Saucer Of A Teacup Scene

    Begining a beach landscape for a miniature pier scene in a teacup.
    Sand is glued to a layer of card, then acrylic paint mixed with acrylic glaze is brushed over some sections of it to give the effect of waves and water. More sand and other details will be added once the main scene is completed. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    To cover any design in the base of your teacup, you can use a scrap of sandpaper, or card covered with a layer of glued sand and paint for water. I glued fine sand to card, and when it was dry, I brushed on several layers of clear gloss acrylic medium mixed with a small amount of blue green acrylic paint. Artist's liquid acrylics are transparent, or you can tint the artist's medium with tube watercolor paint. Glass paints like Pebeo Vitrea 160 will also work. If you wish, you can make tide pools using the technique for water features from sheet plastic.

    As I am not sure where I will need a full beach, I have used a scrap of card, and I will add a cover of loose sand to the scene once I have my pilings in place.

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  • 11 of 11

    Finish the Assembly of a Beach Shop and Pier in a Teacup

    The teacup pier shop is placed into the saucer with the handle resting on one side.
    Arranging the teacup with the shop and pier onto the beach in the teacup saucer using photo tack, or florist's clay / stickum. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    To finish the assembly of your beach scene set your teacup onto the saucer, with the handle resting on one side. Stick the teacup to the saucer, permanently with epoxy or silicon glue, or temporarily with blue tack or florist's stickum tape or clay.

    Set your completed shop front and the pier into the teacup, using removable blue tack or florist's stickum, or permanent silicone glue. Glue short piling sections on top of the pier end closest to the shop as shown.

    Slip the longer piling sections through the holes at the end of the pier and fix them to the saucer with glue or blue tack. Shake the cup and saucer gently to make sure everything is secure. If you wish, you can run a narrow section of cord around the edge of the shop front, gluing it to the card, rather than the teacup.

    Gently spoon extra sand or pebbles into the saucer if you wish to finish your landscaping. If this is a permanent scene, you can pour a matte acrylic medium into the saucer to hold the sand in place. Pour small amounts over your sand and allow it to set before you pour the next layer or you will wash it away where you don't want it to go! Thin pours of acrylic floor wax may achieve the same effect, but they will have a shiny finish wherever the polish sticks up above the sand. Practise the floor polish / acrylic medium method in a disposable plastic container before you try it in your final scene! Make sure you let the layers dry between pours / coats.

    When your scene is finished, add items to the shelf of your shop  tiny ice cream cones, or miniature sail boats and paper kites would all work well. Add a sign above your door or to the top of the teacup.

    Have Fun!