Frequently Asked Questions

6 min read

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Hey guys!

Thought I'd make a FAQ since I've received the same questions over and over again. If there's anything else you'd like to know, comment here and I'll add it. :)

What materials do you use?
I use polymer clay and TLS (translucent liquid sculpey). I don't have a preferred brand, but I mostly end up using Sculpey III and Premo.

How do you color your clay?

I use soft chalk pastels to shade my clay. Any large, solid colors in the clay are just different colors of clay.

What paints do you use?
When I use paints (mostly for the faces on some of the charms), I use regular acrylic paint applied AFTER the item is baked. I then seal it with glaze to keep the paint from fading off.

I want to start working with clay! What materials do I need?
I have a basics guide here for those who are curious as to what you need.

How do you make your charms/miniatures shiny?
I use Triple Thick brand glaze. You can use any glaze you prefer, though. I do find, however, that the Sculpey brand of glaze tends to get dirtier quicker than the Triple Thick.

How long have you been working with clay?
I have been working with clay since March 2012.

Why miniature food?
I first became interested in miniature food when I bought several boxes of Re-ment from SuperCon 4 years ago from a vendor who was getting rid of their collection. From there I'd look online at Re-ment sets and eventually saw people making their own miniature foods - how cool is that? So on a whim I picked up a starter pack of clay and tools, and I have yet to set them down.

Where do you get your bottles/plates/utensils/stemware?
I buy all of my supplies online. Miniature bottles and jewelry findings are bought off eBay. Any miniature items are bought from an online wholesale distributor. I am working on adding miniature accessories (mostly stemware and utensils) to my Etsy shop. I can also try and find you a specific item if you note me.

Do you have an online store?
I do!

Why are your items so expensive? I see them other places for a lot less!
My items are priced to cover my time spent working on them, as well as to cover material costs. They are quality, handmade artisan items that are one of a kind.

How do I commission you?
Please read my commission guidelines here.

How long does it take you to finish your pieces?
This really depends on the complexity of the piece. Some can take under a 20 minutes, others can take several hours over the course of a few days.

What type of metal do you use for your jewelry?
All of my jewelry is made of nickle free silver plated metal. It won't leave weird green marks on your skin. All of my earring hooks/post earring backings are made from hypoallergenic surgical steel and shouldn't aggravate sensitive skin. I can purchase gold/sterling silver backings upon request. I can also turn earrings into clip-ons.

Do you negotiate on prices at all?
No, I do not negotiate prices. Making these pieces is my full time job and I need to be able to cover my costs, as well as try to make enough to help pay my own expenses.

What does your workspace look like/where do you work?
I work from home. I even have pictures of my workspace.

Do you only work in 1:12 scale?
No, I do not. I also create foods in 1:24 and 1:48 scale. I'm also branching out into 1:6 and higher scales as well.

What do you do with miniature foods?
Miniature foods are used to decorate dollhouses or miniature scenes. Some people who collect miniatures will buy them as well.

Do you make tutorials?
I have a few tutorials in my gallery.
I am no longer making any new tutorials since I'm working on a small booklet of them.

Why won't you tell me how you made a certain item?
For the majority of pieces in my gallery, I will either point you to a tutorial I used or tell you exactly how something has been made. Since I make a living from doing this, some techniques are trade secrets of mine, or they will be covered in an upcoming tutorial booklet.

How do you make your drinks?

Drinks are made by tinting resin. I use acrylic or watercolor paints to color the resin.

What brand of resin do you use?
I use the Castin' Craft brand of resin. It requires measurements of 50/50, which I find a lot easier to use than resins that require drops of harder to milliliters of resin base.

Where do you buy Resin?
Most craft stores will carry the brand I use. also has them as well.

How do you get the bubbles out of your resin?
I'm lucky that they clear themselves. I let the resin sit and the bubbles migrate out on their own. I've heard that you can use a hair drier to get rid of them as well.

Do you pour your resin in layers?
For tiny amounts (like in 1:12 cups), I pour it all in one go. For items like my ponds, I usually do 1-4 layers of resin per piece.

How do you get your resin so clear?
I don't really do anything special to it. I follow the directions on the package and go from there. You can't rush resin work, and if you do your results will show that. Go slowly and make sure your measurements are exact.

Are the fish/turtles/frogs/etc in your ponds real?
No, they are not. I hand craft each one from polymer clay.
© 2012 - 2021 PepperTreeArt
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karceadopts's avatar
Where can you purchase dollhouses/what brands best suit your miniatures? theyre so dang cute abd detailed but I don't know where to get a detailed dollhouse that would suit them
PepperTreeArt's avatar
Ah, sorry, I don't really do the dollhouse stuff much anymore. :( I would check eBay though - they have some decent stuff on there!
Thefriendlywolf's avatar
This was an interesting read - Thank you :)
heartofthewarrior13's avatar
Oh that's good for the jewelry not having nickel. My sister is allergic to nickel and saw your stuff and wanted to know if they were nickel free jewelry
Danae3223's avatar
The "soft chalk pastels", are they solid? Like the kind of chalk you get from a Hobby Lobby for example? I don't really understand what you mean by 'soft'.
PepperTreeArt's avatar
They're just chalk pastels. They come in packs of different colors and they're not quite the same as regular chalk. They're easier to pick up color from using a brush.
Danae3223's avatar
Ah, okay! The "soft" just kinda threw me a little bit, thank you for the clarification! 
dlambeaut's avatar
All right! Envirotex; just what I suposed.
Thank you very much; I'm planning to finish a pond model, so this is very useful :)
PepperTreeArt's avatar
No problem! I prefer Envirotex over Castin' Craft. It seems like it has a little more wiggle room for not getting the measurements exactly 50/50. Plus it seems like it dries faster, too.
dlambeaut's avatar
Note it, thank you!
Kitoria's avatar
Hey, I absolutely love your miniatures...!!! Just curious though, what did you do as your job before you started being a full-time miniature sculptor? 
PepperTreeArt's avatar
Thanks! I worked as an office clerk before this. Standard 9-5 boring desk job. I'm so glad I can do what I want for a living now instead of something just to get by. :)
Kitoria's avatar
Oh wow, that's awesome! xD Now you can do something you're really passionate about. It's good that you're doing what you want instead of something just to get by.
Zulema's avatar
I wanna take a crack of doing something simular to your tin reef/pond creations would that be okay?
PepperTreeArt's avatar
Sure, that's fine, as long as you don't take a tin and copy it exactly.
Zulema's avatar
Of course not. Thanks
raptorkil's avatar
polymer clay DAMN IT! I was hoping it was edible ;n;
INVISIG0TH's avatar
what kind of camera did you use to take the picture of the "tiniest breakfast" on a penny?
PepperTreeArt's avatar
I used a Nikon Coolpix P510. Took a bit of time to actually get it to want to focus on the food, but in the end it worked. :)
Hey I have a question .w. I'm sorry if this counts as a trade secret or something but-
How would I make icing sugar... or flour on minatures...? Just white powered stuff... 
Should I just use soft pastels or-?
PepperTreeArt's avatar
There are a few ways to do it that I know of. You can scrape pastels on your item before you bake it and then hope it sticks. You can use a stiff brush and dab white paint on it after it's cooked. I bake the item, then cover it in TLS. Then I scrape corn starch over it and bake it. Once it's dried, I spray a layer of sealant on it to make sure the corn starch sticks.
Thanks ^^ I managed to do it just by putting pastel into a small bowl and dipping it in!

Ai-yoku's avatar
I know you talked a bit about why you like to make miniature food items, but just curious, from where do you draw your passion for doing so? I know it must be a tedious process, and i'm very impressed, but i'm also very curious about your reasons to make such an investment! :) 
PepperTreeArt's avatar
I want to become well known for it, like PetitPlat or Shay Aaron are well known for their miniature foods in the miniature community. I really, really want to apply for and become an IGMA Artisan because that's when you know you've made it. I've never really been remotely successful at anything before either, so I think I've got a shot here with this.
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