When you want to be inspired, where do you turn? Do have favorite miniature furniture resources? If you are like me, you open a book! Old fashioned? That may be, but when I open a web browser I more often find distractions than inspirations. Yes, I’ve found a number of great ideas on Pinterest. But the ratio is still 10 distractions for every true gem of a doable idea.
In that light, you will see that eight of my top ten favorite miniature furniture resources are books. Only one is a web site. One is a magazine (the old school version of a web page). What do I mean by “resource”. When it comes to miniature furniture, I mean something that is helpful. Something that gives me ideas, that suggests new techniques to try. Something that teaches me more about my favorite hobby.
I chose only ten, though I have two shelves full of reference books [note: the book images below are affiliate links to Amazon.com]. And two full shelves of magazines. And a googleplex of websites bookmarked. Even so, my article is so long that I had to split it in two! So, starting from the bottom up…
Favorite Miniature Furniture Resources
10 – Making Colonial Furniture
This short book has plans and instructions for 24 simple furniture projects. The furniture items are Colonial “style”, in the 1970s sense of being darkly stained pine of beefy proportions. I find that the diagrams and instruction are very easy to convert to 1:12 scale play toys. The materials are readily available from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.
When smoothed and painted, these furniture pieces work well in country style decorating for hands-on dollhouses. In other words, make this furniture for the children to play with and display your The House of Miniatures™ furniture on a high shelf!
Seriously, though, these plans are great for people who are first delving into making miniature furniture from scratch. I always recommend that people who have built at least a few kits try their hand at scratch building. With a little experience, you will soon be able to turn the plans in a THoM kit into your own, scratch-built miniatures.
9 – The Ferd Sobol Editions
Ferdinand Sobol and his wife have run an artisan miniatures business for over 35 years. They select very elaborate furniture designs to reproduce for their wealthy, collector clients. The web site is a major source of eye candy, but it is not all pretty pictures.
In addition to beautiful furniture, the site features a number of behind the scenes details where we can get tips and see tools and jigs. The Secrets from the Master is an inside look at several projects. The Behind the Workshop Door section has detailed photographs of a number of his builds. It shows the use of tools and jigs that turn me a pale shade of envy.
8 – Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago
Okay, I admit, this is eye candy. I can’t stop staring at these amazing room settings. These displays obviously inspired the folks who invented The House of Miniatures™ furniture kits. Especially their room boxes. This book covers many of the 68 rooms in the collection at the Art Institute.
With many lovely images, this coffee table book contains a history of Thorne’s creations and a biography of their creator. These rooms (and others) have inspired me to do several boxes. I think it likely that reading this cover-to-cover may infect you with the room box bug as a result. As a result, you’ll likely add it to your own favorite miniature furniture resources list.
7 – Reproducing Period Furniture and Accessories in Miniature
Many examples of furnishings, notes on design styles, and patterns. Also, it covers furniture, rugs, materials, and accessories. The needlework patterns are both lovely and authentic to the time periods depicted. Above all the patterns are easy to followed for the average hobbyist or crafter.
6 – American Period Interiors in Miniature
Purely a reference work, this large book is great for identifying period furnishings and recognizing specific craftsmen. The book is broken into time periods and shows some of the best examples of each era. There is a large section on the Victorian era in particular. It features many of the Thorne rooms and references a number of individual furniture pieces. It also features many other excellent miniatures artisans.
Next week I’ll cover my top five. That list includes a magazine. Can you guess which one? Have you used any of these miniature furniture resources?
I’d love to discuss any of these in the comments. Or visit my THoM Facebook page and join the discussion.