making a miniature pencil
March 4th, 2014
I want to show you how using a scale ruler will help you make your miniatures even more realistic. Often what gives something away as being miniature is the slightest inconsistency of scale. Getting your miniature as close to the scale representation as you can will make it that much more convincing. To illustrate this point (pardon the pun), I’m going to make a pencil from a toothpick.
A scale ruler is just like any other ruler but it has 12 notches between each inch. These notches represent 1:12 scale miniature inches. I call these “tiny inches”. If something is 4″ in real life, it will be 4 notches on the scale ruler or 4 tiny inches. Using a scale ruler to measure your final miniature will help you determine how close to scale you are. It also helps when you are sourcing materials for your miniatures to determine if the size is appropriate.
For the pencil, when I measure a real pencil, it is about .25″ wide.
A toothpick measures 1 tiny inch wide. To remove the extra width, I gently glide a blade over the section of the toothpick that I’m going to make into a pencil. I keep the toothpick whole because it makes this part easier and safer.
One benefit is that this shaving of extra wood will make it less round and more angular, like a real pencil is! I’m not really whittling, or digging into the wood. I’m just running the blade lightly over the wood, keeping my fingers out of the way by holding the end of the toothpick.
Here you can see that the toothpick is now about 1/2 of a tiny inch. I could keep going but I’m okay with it here.
With the toothpick still whole, I paint the body of the pencil a nice orange-yellow.
Once that is dry, I trim the pencil so that there is about 1 tiny inch for the lead part of the pencil and about 1-2 tiny inches for the eraser part.
I used my blade to carefully sharpen the pencil. This time I am cutting into the wood, creating a pointy end.
I dipped the pointy end into black paint to create the lead.
I dipped the other end in pink to create the eraser.
Next, I simply painted the area between the pencil body and the pink eraser with silver metallic paint. Ta-dah!
In the photo above, the fatter pencil was made from a toothpick that was not shaved down to size. It’s still a great pencil but perhaps it looks more like one of those fat beginner pencils, right?
Here’s a scale ruler for you to use. Just be sure that it prints out at 100% by measuring it up against a regular ruler. The inch measurements should line up.
Laminate it or glue it to sturdy cardboard, or even the back of a regular ruler and keep it handy for when you are creating your Club Little House littles!