Dollhouse Decorating

Miniature Decorating Ideas |Articles on decorating dollhouses and the history of this artform


I have had a life-long love affair with dollhouse miniatures, and careers in art education and interior design. I hope to combine these life experiences to help other miniature enthusiasts get more out of this wonderful hobby we enjoy, a hobby that often reaches the level of an art form. Susan Downing

Posted on 13 June, 2015

Dollhouse-Macy's-Shopping-Bags-1:12 Scale

Dollhouse Macy’s Shopping Bags 1:12 Scale

Photographing Miniatures in their best light is critical in selling our wares. We work very hard to make the miniature items we love. Sometimes, not as much care is devoted to presenting them on the Internet.

The Camera
The biggest challenge for many artisans is taking clear, well-lit pictures. Not for me, of course. I benefit from having a husband that was a free-lance photographer in New York. But you don’t need to be so blessed to have great pictures. Patrick uses an inexpensive digital camera for the pictures you see here. And smart phones have a camera that

Deluxe Tabletop Photo Studio

Deluxe Tabletop Photo Studio

produces acceptable photos. What is important is to have a flexible set-up in which to produce quality small-object photographs.

Studio & Lights
As we use a compact digital camera to take the pictures, we were not about to spend big bucks on a proper small-object setup. I bought the Deluxe Table Top Photo Studio for $29.99 online. It’s on sale today online at Colonial Medical for $24.95, regularly $49.95.

To use it, we place a card table near a sunny window, careful not to let direct sunlight hit to object, which minimizes unwanted shadows. A gooseneck reading lamp with a daylight-balanced compact florescent bulb hovers above the “studio,” if supplemental light is needed. Also, if it a cloudy day, it warms up the light, taking some of the blue out of it.

 Aqua Room Accessory Ensemble

Aqua Room Accessory Ensemble

Bigger Objects
My Aqua Accessory Ensemble was too big to use the table-top studio. Incidentally, When cropped tighter, I get so many questions about this picture. Is it a real room? A room in a dollhouse? Neither. Widened-out like this, you can see it’s more like a movie set. I cut two pieces of foam core and taped them at a 90 degree angle, cut in the widow, paint the walls – and repaint them.– then I placed the furniture and accessories where I want. That’s it. There’s plenty room on he open side to move the camera around. A pale yellow wall in the background, far enough away to be out of focus. I got 3 accessory room ensembles out of this same set, Peach color and a Baby Nursery. I want to something with earth tones, so I’m thinking about the dessert Southwest.

Shooting Through Glass? Don’t!
Try to avoid taking pictures through glass because glare is hard to control, and polarizing filters usually aren’t available on inexpensive cameras. They soak up too much light, anyway. Look at the Will Hunt General Store on the left sidebar, under my picture. Making this room box got me hooked on miniatures. To photograph it, Patrick slid the glass off the top and held the camera right down in the scene. Many of the still shots were blurred or out of focus. But we got what we wanted and film’s cheap in digital camera.

Show Scale: A True Story
I mailed a famous-name London department store shopping bag to a lady in Palm Springs The description in Etsy starts “Dollhouse miniature shopping bag, 1:12 scale, measuring 1″ X 1.25″. My shop has dollhouse miniatures all over the place.Yet when the lady received the bag, she was furious. “What is the little piece of worthless paper crap you sent me? You can’t do anything with it!” she emailed, and gave me a bad Etsy review. My lesson: Don’t depend on visitors to your online shop reading the descriptions. Show the sacle on at leasrt some of the pictures on your page: pencils, coins, a finger pinting, anything.

So there it is. I hope this post helps you show your work in the best possible light … and save you some grief.


Posted by Susan Downing

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