How I started building miniature shops

Hello, I am Patrick, I am French and I live in Thailand. I know it’s a short introduction but I’ll tell you more about me later. First, let me thank Alison for giving me a chance to share my projects in 1/12 with you. I am really fond of all the furniture they create!

In 2012, as I was getting bored at home, I started thinking about what I could do when I had to stay at home because it was too hot outside. Temperatures rarely get below 30 degrees Celsius all year long….. So I spent a lot of time indoor!

I have always liked to work with my hands, so I decided to try and build a miniature French shop in 1/12. It all started with the old postcard below. I liked it at first sight. I liked the balance of the shopfront.

I did a few sketches of the shopfront and started cutting the different parts of the shop window. I started from the windows and added the different elements around. I used Plastwood, also called Forex in France, used by model makers and sign makers. It’s a kind of plastic. Wood is subject to humidity and heat here in Thailand. Plastwood comes in 1, 3 ,5 and 10 mm. I use all thickness depending on what I’m building. As it was my first project, I only used a cutter to cut all the parts. Soon my wrist started to ache cutting 10mm material. After a few hours, I got this….

I built the first floor. It is a traditional French design with corner stones.

After that, I started painting and weathering the shop with acrylic paintings. Plastwood needs to be sanded first and one layer of impression.

And then, I made the roof and the “oeil de boeuf”, the circular window on the roof. The slates are just lines etched in the Plastwood with a sharp tool.

As the sidewall looked a bit empty, I thought of painting an old, weathered commercial for a French “aperitif” Dubonnet J

When the building was ready, I searched on the Internet for information about tailors in the early XXth century. I gathered pictures and tried to reproduce the interior of a French “tailleur”. After looking at Glen Anderson’s creations, I sent him a picture of a “table de drapier”, a tailor’s table. What I got from him was exactly the replica of the one I had found on the Internet. Very nice but pricy, hehe! But often one beautiful piece is enough to give quality to a scene.

I built the shelves and make dozens of fabric bolts, each one a different shade. The street lamp was made by THE IRONWORKS & BLACK COUNTRY MINIATURES. Then it took time to add little details, which is the best part of building a project. It never ends….It took me a while to find the little straw hats for example…

I really enjoyed building this shop and I have used the design of the front shop to build other shops. I slightly modified it.

Now, my technique has improved, I have bought machines, like a table saw and a router that give me more freedom to create. I work faster and my work is more accurate.

Next time, I will tell you about “la chambre de la modiste”, the hatmaker’s room which is under the roof of this shop.

Bye for now!

If you want to know more about my latest projects, check my blog