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Page history last edited by Linda McD 3 years, 10 months ago

Trash to treasure miniatures from organic materials (coming from nature e.g. wood, feathers, nuts, seeds)- how to change trash to minis for dollhouses, roomboxes and dioramas - T2T


also see trash_minis


minimodernista shell art   


Pictures in this page are about Thumbnail size (100x80)
Fairy Tea Time
we made a twig chair!
tiny eggDSC_2449
 front door I house
feeding the birdies at the fairy mansion phantom chairs 007
Miniature bouquet of real dried flowers Three little, two little, one little acorn sister --
shelving I made giant . fireplace
 Vintage cigar box fairy house

acorn caps

  • bowls, planters, hanging baskets, table baskets, hanging light fixtures, sinks or basins, dishes, fruit and veggie bowls
  • knitting basket, pin cushion, egg basket, fairy basket, fairy bassinet, street light tops in a nature scene, fence topper. bird bath
  • look for the smallest caps that still have a bit of the stem on it. See that flat surface on the stem...well, paint a tiny face on the space, attach a tad of lace or fabric to make a scarf, crown, headdress or hat. Then, decorate the "skirt" or cup part of the cap, like a robe, gown or some kind of garment and all of a sudden you have acorn people! Some look like Duchesses, Kings, Princesses or babies.
  • in smaller rustic/woodland fantasy scenes they make great roofs on 144th scale fairy and gnome houses, a chimney cover in 1/4" scale, hats for fairies and stool tops for gnomes, many uses in fairy houses and scenes.
  • bird house - Glue a cap to the acorn. Drill a hole for the opening and then drill a small hole under the first hole for a perch.
  •  lids for containers or trash cans, bathroom/kitchen sink, baby bath tub, ceiling light shades, stool seats, reflecting ponds, mushroom caps, hats, cymbals and drums for a marching band of gnomes, dish planters, umbrellas, sailboat or coracle for a fairy, roofing (either used whole or cut into large chunks and glued down), a door to a burrow or hole, squirrel frisbees or a satellite dish, several hung from twigs for wind chimes/mobile, wheels for ??, stepping stones for a garden, hung as a bird feeder, base for a BBQ, 2 for a serving dish and cover, stacked to make support columns for anything you want, glue in a staggered pattern to form a simple flight of stairs (would make nice spiral staircases?) , chimney caps, roof for a circular tower, use 2 with a short piece of tubing in between for a covered bird/squirrel feeder, add a handle to make a fry pan, paint like a roulette wheel for a critter casino, add a cardboard circle with a clock face, glue in 2 card stock shelves (1 on the bottom and the other half-way up) for a small curio display, turn one into a shadow box for tiny treasures or a photo, cut one in half and glue the half to a full cap to form a pocket and use as a planter or mail holder
  • lids for unpainted beads
  • cream pies (bumpy part up in tin)
  • take the nut out of the acorn cap,  cut it in half and drill a small hole in it and you have a swallows' nest.
  • wheels on a fairy wagon or baby carriage
  • immature acorns are mishappen and make perfect gourds when painted with greens, yellows and/or orange. Bake them in the oven first to kill any micro thing growing in or on them.
  • Acorns, Nuts and Pinecones - Pinterest album by Julie Harnisch


bamboo BBQ skewers




coffee/tea grounds

  • can be used to deodorize mold or cigarette smells.
  • mixed with glue and applied to plant post as soil. Coffee mixed with tea grounds gives a colour variation.
  • don't forget the tea bags - can be used as fabric!
  • brewed tea or coffee can be used to dye fabric (softens harsh colours, or produce an aged effect)
  • look at the specialty teas - some can be used as potpourri.



  • depending on how the cork is painted it can be a cake, pie, brownies, etc...
  • makes a great blue cheese also because of the perforated texture.
  • also crumbled, can be used as rubble in landscaping projects
  • chocolate chip cookies made from thin cork board and a marker. Use a hole punch to cut 1/4" round pieces from the cork board, then add little dots here and there with the marker for the chips.


egg shells


grass clippings

  • that green mass of pulverized grass bits that lives underneath your lawnmower makes a wonderful emerald green dye and if you have recently mowed down a lot of dandelion heads, you will get lime green. It's semi-permanent AND it's free!


nuts and seeds and naturals

  • bowl of mixed nuts -sesame seeds for almonds, mustard seeds for filberts, whole allspice for walnuts, apple seeds for brazil nuts.
  • mustard seeds - glue together in a clump, insert a bit of wire in the top for a stem, and paint.
  • black poppy seeds = raisins in a cake, or caviar
  • cumin seeds - paint green for pickles(small gherkins)
  • green pepper seeds = potato chips
  • use dried grape stem/vine pieces for bases of shrubs or small trees.
  • pecans can be painted to resemble watermelon
  • filberts = pumpkins, birdhouses
  • alyssum seeds: mini sesame seeds or almonds
  • beet seeds: roses
  • broccoli and cauliflower seeds: mini grapes.  (Dye with food color.)
  • cabbage seeds: cranberries or blueberries. Cabbage seeds also make great little rosettes
  • candytuft: nuts
  • moonflower: acorn squash
  • onion:  coal or black rocks
  • petunia: pork-n-beans
  • sesame seeds: mini pumpkin seeds
  • snap-dragon: black beans
  • sweet pea seeds as black walnuts in the husk
  • Crush nuts such as pecans or peanuts to simulate gravel, glue the resulting powdered nuts into place with a spray adhesive. Seal. Since they will break up into various sizes and are textured organically they often provide excellent results. 
  • a packet of pickling spices is a good way to search for "things that look like something," as are Christmas simmering potpourri mixes, and sachet packets that rattle - lavender seeds look like okra pods. Experiment by dropping various seeds and pods in little puddles of different paint colors. Sometimes it all depends on what they look like after painting that determines what they are. 
  • In QS, coriander seeds work for coconuts. Painted green they duplicate the shiny ones still on trees; painted dark brown and perhaps roughed up a bit, the hairy kind, or glue and dark brown flocking works well, too. Try whole peppercorns to make coconuts or seeds off a bottle brush tree. Poppy seeds make black grapes. Pulka pods work as pumpkins. Caraway seeds work for dried chilies. Fennel seeds make bananas.  And lastly, dried snapdragon seed pods make great skulls, and Queen Anne's Lace seeds can become mice and hedgehogs. Wrinkled peppercorn seeds also make good brussel sprouts.




  • ground cover
  • shingles for fairy house. Pine tree branches make realistic looking palm tree trunks


sand or gravel


seashells (conches)


stir sticks

  • these wooden sticks can be found in Starbucks, and in the $store. They make wonderful flooring, wainscotting, and fences. Can be used for benches, picnic tables.
  • round sticks can be used for  curtain rods/polesou could snip the M off them and use to make a small scale paddle fan. Or how about glue green,red, and yellow sequence on the paddle end and putting it into the ground on the side of a curb as a traffic light.
  • McDonald's stir sticks
    • cut them at the M and make little scissors out of them.
    • snip the M off them and use to make a small scale paddle fan. Or glue green,red, and yellow sequence on the paddle end and putting it into the ground on the side of a curb as a traffic light.
    • jewelry  - cut off the "M", leaving a tiny bit of plastic on the bottom of the "M". and coat it with very thin glue (watered down) and then dip in any color of ultrafine glitter. (Or Rubber Stamp embossing powder.) Tap off the excess and poke out the holes. Could  then be used as a brooch or fancy scarf pin for a Barbie doll? Probably would be too big for 1:12 scale doll..
    •  use the flat paddle for:

- a hand mirror: Note: The "back side" of the mirror is the part with the ridge on the top. The "front side" is the flat side. Cut the paddle a bit shorter. Then cut the stem of the stir stick shorter too so the whole thing is only about 1" long. Sand the end to round it off (can use emory board if it's new) and sand the cut off portion of the paddle to make it smoother. Then paint it silver... or leave it white and  paint flowers on the back-side of the mirror. Or, use a toothpick and tacky glue to swirl a little design on the back side... when dry, paint that silver or gold, so it will have a raised look. Paint both sides the same color. Then use that silver paper and cut to fit onto the front side of the mirror frame, with just a bit of the edge of the frame protruding beyond the mirror, and glue it in place. Glue a piece of thread all around the "mirror's" edge.

  • - Hair or bath brush: The paddle portion for a Hair brush would need to be cut shorter; but it's ok as-is for a bath brush. Cut handle shorter. paint color of your choice and glue a section of approx 1/16" thick foam on the right side. Or use anything that has a "brush" look to it... perhaps a piece of velcro -- anything that looks good. Foam actually looks better than you'd think it would.

- cruising down the river: use plastic bananna split dish for a canoe... and two stir sticks for paddles.. painted appropriately. Lovely for Gibson girl era love birds... or perhaps an American Indian doll.



  • umbrellas
  • men's canes
  • fences
  • post for ring toss games.
  • dolls and toy soldiers
  • Keep the carved ends of the ornate ones intact and shape the remaining section or rather part of it to make a lovely carving knife.
  • Cut off just the carved bit for a great handle for a mini spinning top. With just a little of the non carved section you have a great handle for any number of things such as masks, baby rattles etc.
  • Take off part of the carved end and smooth off the remaining portion, sand down part of the lower stick and then flatten the end bit on 2 opposite sides. Paint this section in a stainless steel colour to make a screwdriver.
  • For the double pointed type round off one end and you have a great tool for turning seams and stuffing with mini sewing and knitting.


wood dowels

  • ice cream cones - get a wooden dowel the same size as a pencil and put in a pencil sharpener and grind it down until it is cone shaped
  • BBQ skewers can be cut in half lengthwise to make picture frames, used "as is" for embossing foam, turning corners on clothing, legs for chairs


wood crates

  • start with the wooden crates that Clementine oranges come in at Christmas. Cover with appropriate wallpaper samples and make a farmer's market, a bake shop, a library or garden room or tool shed -- remember, you are creating a "bird's eye view" of a scene.
  • wood pierced fans make stairs and tables



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