Miniatures and dollhouses. Discovering the origins of the unconditional love for the tiny and small
Updated: Jun 23
There are sports, books, art, and music. Some spend their free time gardening or dedicating themselves to an oriental discipline. Traveling, maybe.
And then, in a multi-equipped workshop built in the garage, or simply on a free side of the dining table, here we come, the worshippers of miniatures and dollhouses.
But who are we, actually?
Simply put, we are a little army of artisans and collectors who get ecstatic in front of a tiny object in a 1:12 scale, which would not even be noteworthy in its real proportions.
Although our behaviors may seem strange and sometimes, the hours and money that we invest in our hobby a little excessive, we never fail to arouse a deep admiration in anyone who discovers us bearers of this curious passion.
Whaat? Do you collect those little objects for dollhouses? Do you really make them by yourself? You are an absolute artist!
Every. Single. Time.
Job interviews are not a safe place either. It happens all the time that recruiters scan absentmindedly through my hardy earned degrees and masters, to focus only and exclusively on my side business.
But how do you make them so tiny? Look at these cookies! So you made a children's book out of your minis? You absolutely impressed me!
Well, I thought my 10-year experience in the communication industry would do the trick but, hey, who am I to disagree.
Why do we love miniatures and, specifically, dollhouses?
Science says that we are somehow drawn to all things 'small' because they can't hurt us but at the same time force us to act with care. In addition, they allow us a wide margin of control and ultimately give to our brains an appealing richness of intricate details in a very limited space.
Anyway, whatever the biological or psychological reason, I do love this little miniature world. And it would be an absolute understatement to call it just a hobby. It is so much more than a divertissement, for so many people.
1. A challenge to yourself
"I had always wanted to have a dollhouse, but I only started building miniatures when some collectible issues and magazines were published in Spain," says Coro from Les Miniatures de Maman (@lesminiaturesdemaman). "I find great pleasure in doing miniatures. Every project is a challenge that allows me to improve my skills, to create more realistic effects, and to capture the charm of the moment. It's, for me, the best way to show how much I care to the people I've made it for."
In fact, reproducing a fruit or a piece of furniture on a scale that is often not bigger than your finger is, by all means, a challenge like no others.
2. A childhood memory
Partly because of the spontaneous link with dollhouses, and partly because these hyper-detailed collectibles remind us of toys, the world of miniatures often acts as a bridge with the best memories of our childhood.
"I've always been interested in miniature worlds and I've always been creative. One day my cousin inspired me to take a look at my old Lundby dollhouse, it was just like I left it 40 years ago! I wanted to try making my own miniatures and made some cinnamon rolls, cookies and so, the story goes on," says Stina Holmbom (@stinah.miniatures), recalling her first steps into this fascinating world.
"I built my first dollhouse when I was 11 years old, and I've been in love with miniatures ever since," adds Cate Rossio(@mushroom.miniatures). "I especially like to build themed dollhouses - I have a winter house and a Pokémon house."
Sometimes, miniatures remind us not only of happy memories but of the precious moments we shared with our loved ones. "My dad built my first dollhouse when I was five (I'm now 66.) He was a cabinet maker and I loved being out in his workshop with him, making things at an early age. The smell of sawdust is perfume to me!" shares wit us Jackie Brown, member of the World of Dollhouses and Miniatures Facebook Group. "My mother was a seamstress and dressed all my dolls and also did crafts. I guess it's in my blood."
3. A getaway from everyday life
A cozy little place where to seek comfort when the outside world becomes a little too overwhelming. Yes, miniatures are also this.
"I find miniatures to be very therapeutic. Every time I come back from a long and stressful day at school, looking at my miniatures has always helped me relax. I also enjoy recreating my favorite scenes from movies and happy moments in my life with miniatures, which is why I started my account on Instagram. Combining my favorite hobbies together, photography and miniature collecting, allowed me to share the beauty of miniatures with everyone," says the creator behind Miniature Wonderland (@ishi8ra).
4. A tiny reproduction of large scale passions
"I can create and make to my heart's content, and create all kinds of little scenes. It also fulfills my childhood dream of being an interior designer," admits Hannah Alderman, member of the World of Dollhouse and Miniatures Facebook Group. "I'm currently working on a realistic house, which is proving to be a really fun challenge, but I'm loving every step!"
Miniatures and scale models give you the unique opportunity to unleash your creativity in ways you would never be able to do in the real world. Constraints like money, space or time, get a completely different dimension in the miniature world, thus allowing you to become the owner of a medieval castle, sew pompous gala dresses or arrange your own library with hidden passages and secret rooms. As well as to live in a different country and, perhaps, even in a different era.
"Since a child, I have loved dolls houses and miniatures. The reason for this is because you can create a miniature world any way you like. I love painting and decorating miniatures to fit in with my french themed dolls house and I love to see others enjoy it too," tells us the creator behind Miniature French World (@miniature_french_world).
Whatever the reason that brought you into the magical world of miniatures, please continue to create and support beauty. And whatever your curiosity about our 'why' is, I hope this brief excursus among the creators of so many magical worlds has given you the answers.
Maybe, convincing you to become soon one of us!