Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Scale: What Works for You

I belong to several FaceBook miniature groups, but one is especially interesting and informative, Miniatures Tutorials and DIY. Hardly a week goes by without a member asking about scale. This week was a particularly hard project, a tiny pull toy with what appeared to be an elephant figurine that might have been larger than what a 1:12 toy might be.  The artist was wanting to create a pull toy with the elephant on a 3/4 inch long piece of wood. I hope I gave her a good answer about scale by explaining that  scale is often relevant and asked if the piece would look out of place in the spot where she wanted to use it and finished by saying that if the piece works for her, then it was okay even if it was out of scale. I also advised that she could look up real pull toys to get sizes so that she would have an idea as how proportional her toy would be.  I didn't get any feedback from the artist, so I hope I didn't offend her. 

Thus this post on scale.

Scale can be deceiving, especially if you are an artist who insists on having every thing perfect. I often go about the house measuring items to see what their exact size it and then using a conversion chart to help me decide if the item is close to scale. Ordering from online sources can be tricky because a vender will describe an item as a specific scale, and when it arrives, you wonder if it dreally is scale. Here, let me demonstrate.

I ordered these pieces from an Etsy store and when they arrived, I was so excited, but the tea kettle seemed larger than    1:12 scale, so I took out my corresponding items to do a comparison.

While I didn't actually measure these, I lined up the pieces side to side with both sets and discovered that basically the tea kettle is pretty much in line with other two pieces. It seemed comparable the real life kettle. I'm satisfied with it.

On the counter top they seem to work. I love the cooktop that Jodi at My Miniature Madness designed and 3-D printed--if only I had such a cooktop in my real kitchen. Love the 6 burners, especially for a miniature kitchen because the pots aren't crowded together. 

The coffee mug (ordered 4 from Factory Direct Crafts) is just too large, but it was advertised as 1:12 scale. So the lesson here is to not just trust the scale, but look at the numerical size dimensions.

I have stand mixers in each of my farmhouse kitchens. I love them because they add that touch realism. This is the first one that I bought that actually is labeled "Kitchen Aide."

The red mixer was my first purchase from an Etsy vender that I purchased years ago. Now there are dozens of venders with products that vary in price from the very expensive, detailed mixers to more generic ones. The blue one was only $4., but is authentic enough and workmanship is good. They are all consistent in size.

I compared the Dutch ovens, too and the green one is a bit larger than other two. The pin one is a more detailed reproduction of what might be the Le Crueste Dutch oven. I probably ordered the red splatter Dutch oven from that came in a full set of pots and pans and it certainly is the smallest of the 3, but in the Pink Farmhouse, it fits. You can barely see it in the background on the cooktop.

And the stainless tea kettle certainly is larger than other two, still each one works in its setting, which is the important factor: does it work where you want to use it?

Perhaps a key factor is that each set ordered from a variety of sources are all 1:12. Side by side each pair works in its setting. 

Of course, you won't know until your order.

On vender/builder/artist whom we all love can be trusted to get things right, Julie Warren. I love these bowls and they were actually larger than I thought they would be which is great because sometimes these little things are so tiny that the detail is lost. 

The ginger jar, however, seems a little small in comparison, but it will be used elsewhere.

This set of bowls came from FactoryDirect Crafts, another favorite vender.

Jodi sent this lovely towel set with the cooktop as a Thank You gift. I love that it is handmade and is a sincere customer appreciation gift. I know that she probably 3-D printed the pump bottle, too. Thank You, Jodi. The set will be perfect in the Manchester kitchen.

Now the real test to see how these items will fit in the kitchen cupboard. On the left, Bits and Pieces by Julie fit perfectly. On the right, I ordered the "glass" bowls and drinking glasses from 
Factory Direct Crafts. The glasses seem to be more juice glass size than water glass size. The dinner plates are large, but I think in scale. I ordered them from Thai Miniatures for another project. Ten came in the set.

I have decided that scale really is relevant, but if you want to run the numbers and do the math, here are some links that might help: 

Mini Doll Kits

Good Calculators:


Metric Conversions: (too many ads)


Rapid Tables


All said and done, scale really is relevant, just as pots and pans, bowels, kettles, and glasses all come in various sizes and styles in real life, so it is the mini world. Sometimes you will get it wrong and hopefully you can make it work. In the end, unless you are selling your items or entering them in competitions, it is what you prefer, what you like, what looks good to you that matters.

Thanks for joining me today. 


  1. I've learned to be really careful with Factory Direct Craft when a 1/12 scale cat was the size of a small child....I also see a lot of chairs that don't quite reach the table. You are right about accessories in that they can fudged a bit, and if you you like it, keep it.

  2. Great experimenting with scale, Ann! It is so true that in "1/12th scale" there is so much variance. Just have to try different scales in different settings and find what works for your eye!

  3. I agree, scale is really important in creating convincing miniature scenes. I had not thought about context as a factor, however. Thank you for explaining the topic so well and illustrating it with photos of perfect items from your collection.

  4. I'm the one with the elephant. I'm sorry that you thought I was offended, that was not the case at all I'm in so many groups that I get so many notifications that sometimes I miss them or i might have been at work when I saw your comment and was unable to respond back and then forgot to respond later. Bring new at this I welcome all advice and direction I receive. I wanted to apologie to you and make sure you knew I do appreciate you.


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