Techniques for Making a Range of Miniatures from Polymer Clay

These techniques and tips are designed to show a beginner the range of ways to blend, shape, texture and finish polymer clay for miniatures and dollhouse food. Try any of the beginner projects to practice a technique and add it to you repertoire for making miniatures. Before you begin, if you are a complete beginner, read Beginners Tips For Working with Polymer Clay and Choosing a Brand of Polymer Clay

  • 01 of 09

    Blend Custom Colors of Polymer Clay

    Secondary color blends of polymer clay colors. © 2008 Lesley Shepherd

    This gallery of basic polymer clay blends shows how to blend commonly used colors for miniatures from basic primary clay colors. Instead of keeping vast quantities of seldom used colors, learn to blend your own whenever you need them for a project. These blends are based on using black, white, transparent, red, blue, yellow (or turquoise, (cyan), magenta, and yellow) in order to blend any color and make your own basic shades, tints, and hues.

  • 02 of 09

    Make Custom Clay Cutters

    Polymer clay 'dough' is cut into cookie shapes using custom shaped Halloween cookie cutters in dolls house scale. © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    You can easily make your own shape cutters for polymer clay miniatures. These can be used to make decorations, clay blends, tiles or small baked goods such as miniature cookies. The miniature cutters found in these instructions are all made from recycled heavy tinfoil (aluminum foil) plates with waste polymer clay handles. Start with simple shapes first, and work your way up to more complicated bends.

    • Make Custom Polymer Clay Cutters
    • Make Miniature Halloween Cookie Cutters
    • Make Miniature Hanukkah Cookies From Polymer Clay
  • 03 of 09

    Learn Basic Polymer Clay Caning Techniques

    Sections of lemon clay are divided with white pith, then the wheel is wrapped in pith and peel.
    Thin layers of pith colored clay are set in between the cut lemon sections, then the sections are coated with a thin layer of pith and a layer of lemon peel to start the production of a dolls house scale lemon cane. © 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Caning is a technique used to take a design smaller and smaller for miniatures. Canes are used for fruit and vegetable slices including oranges, lemon, grapefruit, strawberry, onion, peppers, tomatoes, eggs, and mushrooms. You begin with a design large enough to work in the details, then roll the polymer clay thinner and thinner with a regular motion to reduce the size of the design. Caning techniques work best with firm brands of polymer clay.

    Here are some basic canes which are useful practice for a beginner

  • 04 of 09

    Make Simple Molds for Polymer Clay

    Dolls house scale muffins made from a mold of small electrical marettes.
    These dollhouse scale muffins and cupcakes as well as cup cake papers have been shaped in a mold made from small electrical marettes. © 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Polymer clay can be pressed into and baked in simple molds made from two part silicon mold putty to make a range of custom shapes. Here are some projects which use simple molds as a base.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Make Custom Texturing Tools for Polymer Clay

    teapot and cookies clay
    Distinctively textured and shaped cookies in dollhouse scale. © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

    For some polymer clay projects, you can make your own tools from beads, stamps or other items you have on hand. Here are some projects which use texturing tools you can make from clay, beads or found items.

  • 06 of 09

    Texturing Techniques for Realistic Finishes

    polymer clay toast
    Plain white bread, toast, toast with honey, bread with chocolate sprinkles, bread with jam, and undecorated raw bread slice made from polymer clay in dolls house scale. © 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Texture is added to bread, cakes, and other miniature food items before the clay is fully cured. You can make your own tools for texturing or use small items you have on hand like toothpicks or pins. Here are tutorials that introduce a beginner to creating realistic textured finishes on polymer clay.

  • 07 of 09

    Use Chalks or Artist's Pastels To Color Crusts and Add "Flour"

    clay panettone
    An eye shadow applicator is used to add a thin layer of deep brown pastel to finish the crust of a dolls house scale panettone made from polymer clay. © 2011 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Outer finishes on miniature baked goods aren't made using polymer clay, but are most often achieved with artist's pastels or colored chalks. 

  • 08 of 09

    Roll Very Thin Strands of Polymer Clay For Miniatures

    spaghetti polymer
    Samples of cooked and raw pasta noodles and spaghetti as well as meatballs in 1:12 dollhouse scale. © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    Sometimes particular techniques are needed to make items small enough to be realistic in miniature. Very thin layers or rolls of polymer clay are needed for the following projects. Each project shows a method of achieving the thin layers.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Make Miniature Boxes and Containers From Polymer Clay

    polymer doll house chocolate
    A dolls house scale 'chocolate' heart shaped box made from polymer clay over a metal former. © 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Simple box making techniques can be used for a range of miniatures, from food to containers. Both these projects use similar techniques that can be adapted for all kinds of projects