Making Miniature Ceramics
I started creating miniature ceramics when I found it so hard to find little plates and bowls and cups that I used for my polymer clay foods. This prompted me into the world of ceramics! I found a local shop where I started learning all about earthenware clay. I have been blessed to meet some wonderful informative individuals during my research, and I am very grateful to them for sharing their ceramics knowledge with me.
Most of my ceramic pieces use natural clay that has been turned to liquid by adding water. It's now a mud soup and very messy! This liquefied clay is then poured into my molds. This allows me to recreate the same pieces multiple times.
Getting the clay consistency right can be difficult, as every mold is different. Some molds take a thicker mix and can be filled and left alone, while others require a thin consistency so the extra can be poured out. Timing on molds is key! How long to wait before any extra can be poured away can range from literally 1 second on the tiniest cup to 30 minutes on a large piece. The longer it is in the mold, the thicker the piece becomes. I hate when I pour a mold, then forget to go back and pour off the extra on time! That piece will end up in the trashed pile and can't be saved.
Once a mold is poured, timed for pour out, etc..it becomes a waiting game. When will the piece be ready to come out of the mold? It has to be hard enough to remove without squishing it, but not too hard or it will stick to the mold. It's all trial and error until I get used to each mold, but wait, the more a mold is used, the timing changes! Just when you thought you had it figured out lol.
Molds do require a resting period between pours. It can be a little as 30 minutes for small pieces, or hours for larger pieces. This is because the mold is made from a very special plaster that absorbs the water from the clay. This causes a mold to become saturated, and cannot be used again until it has time to dry out. Some of my larger pieces can only be poured 1x per day! Eventually, after continuous use a mold will become unusable forever.
Once a piece has been removed from the mold, it needs to dry a bit more, and then it can be cleaned. I use a combination of wet sponge, a straight edge blade, and a needle tool. Too much water on small pieces will make them dissolve. I can't tell you how many tiny cup handles I have dissolved in my hand! Too much pressure when holding a piece while cleaning and a piece can shatter. Yep, I do this a lot too! After cleaning the green-ware, I carve my mark into the bottom and the piece is set aside to fully dry or cure. A fully dried clay piece has the consistency of dried mud. It's very delicate at this stage. Don't drop it! It will break immediately! Believe me, I know! :)
A fully dried piece can now be fired. I rent kiln space at my local ceramic shop for this. My clay is fired to cone 04 at a temp of approx.1950 degrees F / 1110 C. Now the fired pieces are called bisque. Bisque is hard, matte and pourous. It can be dyed, painted, inked, glittered, etc..All my pieces are available to you in bisque if you prefer. Just contact me thru Etsy to arrange a bisque order.
My bisque pieces can now also be glazed. I glaze using some of my own color creations, as well as Mayco brand colors. Glazing requires multiple coats. I use 4 coats for every piece, with drying time in between. Glaze is not like paint. Think of it as colored liquid clay. Ceramic glaze is always a different color before firing. Usually a lighter chalky shade, but I have brown glaze that turns yellow, and blue glaze that turns white, just to keep it confusing! This makes it hard to know exactly how a finished piece will really look.
Once glazed & dry, the pieces get re-fired, this time to a cone 06 temperature. This causes the glaze to melt onto the bisque creating a beautiful glass finish! Finishes can be glossy or matte depending on the glaze used. Some glazes create textured effects. The best part of ceramics for me is seeing the finished piece come out of the kiln!
Some pieces require a 3rd firing at completely different temperatures. This would be for transferware, china paints, pearls, and metallics. Each of those have their own procedures and intricacies.
I started with 1:12 scale, and over the past few years, have branched out into various sizes includng playscale 1:6 and my newest size for 18 inch dolls! I hope you like them and they inspire you to create your own faux foods and displays!
I can customize any items for you in any color, and offer personalization too! I'm happy to glaze to match your own fabric, wallpaper or paint swatches. I am always willing to glaze pieces to order just for you! I may also have pieces not yet listed, or new pieces to create not yet seen in my shop, especially in the larger doll sizes.
I hope you've enjoyed reading the ceramic process!
Around the web
I love all things small! Everything's better in miniature, isn't it? I am also an avid Dawn doll collector, and create custom dolls and miniature polymer clay creations in my spare time, not that I have too much of that!
Returns & exchanges
- Custom or personalized orders
Frequently asked questions
Each listing contains photos depicting size with a ruler in english and metric. You can also find sizing information in the written description within. If I've missed something, or you are not sure, please contact me. I'm happy to help!
Cash is accepted for pickup orders. Please contact me to arrange a public meeting place and time. Areas of Metro-Detroit pickup include SCS, Clinton Twp, Harrison Twp, Eastpointe, Roseville, & Chesterfield.
Custom and personalized orders
I am not accepting custom ceramic orders at this time.
Standard orders are shipped within 3 business days of cleared payment. Shipping charges include only the actual postage and the cost of mailing supplies. I never charge a handling fee.
Standard orders are usually shipped via USPS First Class in a padded envelope.
USA flat rate $3.45 for almost every in store item.
International orders - most items are charged a flat rate based on 9+oz packaging. Should your order weigh 8oz or less, you WILL be refunded the difference automatically!
Everywhere else $22.75/$13.75
Priority & Express
Both of these shipping methods are available to purchase in my shop. Just add to cart along with your item(s) and your shipping will be upgraded. If you have any shipping questions or want to upgrade after you've already completed a purchase, just contact me.
For Priority upgrade: https://www.etsy.com/listing/171796342/priority-mail-upgrade-small-flate-rate?
For Express upgrade: https://www.etsy.com/listing/184844769/express-mail-shipping-upgrade-from-first?
Tracking my package
Confirmation tracking # is included for USA orders.
Customs form declaration # is provided for all other destinations.
Delivery confirmation w/partial tracking included: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia
Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic(Slovakia), Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, & Turkey.
Detailed records & proof of shipment on all international orders is available. You can track this information by entering the customs declaration number on your order at usps.com
Contacting the store
My name is Shari and I'm happy to help with any questions or concerns! Please contact me through the Etsy system and I'll respond as quickly as I can! Please don't use email, as I don't check that as frequently, and don't want to miss you!