Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tutorial: A Georgian Miniature Portrait in 1/12th Scale

 As a lover of tiny things, I've always been fascinated by antique miniature portraits. Back in January, when I posted the love letter vignette above, I used a 1/144th scale cast metal frame to create a miniature portrait in 1/12th scale. But though the metal frame was effective, it didn't capture the delicacy of the full sized frames. After experimenting with some bits of chain in my supplies, I was able to come up with a more historically accurate version. The first few steps of this project are very simple, and will make an effective frame.  The last steps -adding the loop to the top- are MUCH trickier, but really give the miniature an authentic look.
gold chain with oval links (links should be approximately 1/4" long)
gold chain with tiniest links possible
printout of a portrait approximately 1/4" tall (I used an image from a real antique miniature, found through a Google search. Remember that these will be tiny, so portraits with a strong contrast between the figure and background will be most effective.)
double sided tape
tacky glue
super glue
gloss medium (mod podge or similar)

small scissors
wire cutters

 1.Use the wire cutters to separate one link from the larger chain. This will become your frame.
 2.Spread a thin layer of glue (tacky or similar) over the picture, and place the frame on top. The glue should be thin enough that you can still see the portrait. Allow glue to dry.
 3.Fill the frame with gloss medium (mod podge or similar) and allow to dry. This bonds the picture and frame together, and creates a "glass" cover for the picture.
4.When gloss medium is dry, cut away the excess paper from around the frame. You can easily call the project done at this point, but to add a tiny hanging loop, keep reading!
5.This is where the project gets tricky, simply because of the size of the loop you need to make. You will need to cut a piece of chain 1 and 1/2 links long. *
6. To glue the loop onto the frame, arrange both the framed picture and the tiny metal loop on a piece of double sided tape. I stuck the tape to a small box, for ease of handling. Use a toothpick to add a dot of super glue and bond the pieces together. Allow to dry thoroughly before easing the miniature off the tape.


  1. Thank you for that wonderful tutorial! Hugs Hannelore

  2. Hello Eliza,
    What a great tutorial. i cannot wait to try this one out.
    Big hug,

  3. That's a great tutorial, I love making miniature miniatures... and I have the exact same picture on file, such a handsome gentleman!


  4. Brilliant idea Eliza, thanks so much for showing us how.

  5. Hi Eliza,

    Thanks for the super tutorial.

  6. A really neat tutorial. Will definitely give it a try. Thanks.

  7. Very Nice, Thanks for sharing.
    A Big Mini Hug

  8. Un tutorial fantástico, gracias por compartirlo:-)

  9. Eliza, this looks amazing, just like you've shrunk the real stuff!
    Thanks for the great tut!

  10. Qué gran idea! Gracias por compartirla!

  11. Thanks for this Great Tutorial! I am going to have to give this one a try! I had not thought to look at chain links for frames!! You are just Brilliant!!!

  12. This is perfect! I've been looking for a way to add miniature portraits to dolls, either on a choker or around a wrist.This is just what I needed!