Dollhouse miniatures

A Miniature Ombre Chest

Shopping for resale miniatures on E-Bay can be a great deal. However, more often than not, it is turning out to be disappointing in my experience. The photographs are not usually clear enough to see all of the imperfections on a piece and the descriptions are minimal at best.

Being the optimistic buyer, I go with the, “It’s OK. I can fix anything.” stance. This last order looked great by the photos and the descriptions listing what was in the lot were fine. It was a huge lot of unfinished 1/12 scale furniture. Imagine my surprise when I opened the order to find that all of the pieces were made of balsa wood. If you’ve ever worked with balsa, then you know how lightweight and easily marred it is. You can barely sand balsa without chipping or breaking it.

Balsa really does not do great with stain since it does not have a grain that works well in miniature scale. My only option is to paint it or cover it in some other way. For these two little chests, I went with an ombre paint job. The outside of the chests are white semi-gloss and the drawers are a graduated salmon color.


To get the ombre effect, I painted the bottom drawer a solid acrylic craft color right out of the bottle.The next up got a little bit of white added to the mix and the next row up (the little drawers) got a bit more white to make the lightest color.

The drawer pulls are made from sewing straight pins. I put a little glue onto the pin and then pushed it through the drawer front. After the glue was dry, I used wire nippers to cut the ends off inside the drawers.

As it happens, even balsa wood can be transformed with an ombre paint pattern. The chest-of-drawers came out pretty cute for my miniature little girl’s room in the Victoria’s Farmhouse dollhouse.

4 thoughts on “A Miniature Ombre Chest

  1. I think you met the challenge. I know what you mean about balsa – it is so fragile. These chests look sturdy, substantial, and the color scheme gives them personality that they did not have on their own. (and that just painting them a plain color would certainly not have done). Just wow.

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  2. Perfect Sandra, you nailed it! I love the drawers ! Balsa is sooo difficult to work with! Especially for me as a beginner. I started with miniatures 2 years ago! But you do such a great job!

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    1. Thanks 😊 I’ve been away from minis for a very long time so it is taking me a while to get my mini fingers back into shape. It’s a fun challenge working and trying though, isn’t it?


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