Making Miniature Food for Dollhouses and Barbie’s | Size Matters

Polymer Clay Miniature Food

Oops… the Cupcakes are as Big as the Hamburger!

My 5 year old niece has a birthday coming up. She is crazy about Barbie dolls, so I decided to make some miniature dollhouse food to give to her as a present. But as you can see in today’s photo, I clearly need more practice with scale.

As much as I would love to live in a world where cupcakes were the size of hamburgers, I am sure that Barbie would refuse to eat them for fear of ruining her figure! LOL

Although I very much enjoyed making these little treats, I definitely need to dig out my daughter’s old Barbie collection for reference… instead of just trying to figure out the proper scale in my head.

No worries though… when I do find Willow’s Barbie’s (she never really played with them much.. more of a stuffed animal girl), I will see which of my creations will actually work for Barbie food, and then make the others into jewelry charms.

There are lots more miniature food items I’d like to make for my niece. So with any luck I’ll be able to make them in a proper scale for her dolls to be able to eat.

Hey, it would be fun to use scented polymer clay for these tiny food pieces. My niece is old enough now that she won’t be tempted to eat them, even if they do smell yummy!

I’ve still got a lot to learn about miniature sculpting, but I can already tell it’s going to be tons of fun. And the upside about small, is that if you mess up, you won’t have wasted hardly any polymer clay!

Off to find Barbie and make some play food that will go straight to her hips. She’s getting a little too skinny any ways! Please share your stories about making miniatures. What tricks do you use to get the scale accurate?

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Catalina, 18 June, 2009

    These came out really cute! I, too, love to make miniature food. The best way I have found to make tiny goodies is to use the 1:12 ratio. This may be too small for Barbie but most doll houses are of this size.

    Since, I’m a Graphic Designer, by trade, I’m use to working in many different scales. If you have a program where you can reduce your images or drawings this would make it much easier. You could drawn an object at 100% and then reduce it 1/12. But, for example, if you know a cupcake is usually 3″ in diameter 1/12 the size would make the cupcake .25″ or 1/4″ in diameter. (3 divided by 12 = .25)

    But, I love cupcakes and to have one as big as a hamburger sounds great!

  2. Deborah, 19 June, 2009

    Barbies, I think use the 1:6 scale…so for every 6 inches in real life, you sculpt 1 inch. So a 3 inch tall cupcake would only be a 1/2 inch sculpt. I am just getting started making miniatures and for me, having a doll to reference really helps. But like you said if they don’t work as play food…they’ll make great charms! :-)

  3. Kathay Iskrzycki, 23 January, 2020

    thank you for the information Deborah

  4. Peggy, 26 June, 2009

    Do you know if it is safe to use the toaster oven for food once it has been used to bake polymer clay? I read that any kitchen items used to mold, shape, cut, etc. should not be used to prepare food once they have been used on polymer clay. Thank you for your response as I am new and am anxious to get started. Peggy

  5. Cindy Lietz, 27 June, 2009

    @Catalina and Deborah: Thank you girls! This will help a great deal with getting the size right! Next batch of Barbie food will be in much better scale!

    @Peggy: You can use your toaster oven for food again, but I would clean the inside first because sometimes a residue is left in the oven and can give your food an off flavor. To avoid that hassle I use a separate toaster oven for clay. As far as using other kitchen tools with your polymer clay, I would suggest keeping them for clay use only. It’s way too much of a hassle to clean tools well enough if you are switching between food and clay.

  6. DARINDA BRADEN, 20 September, 2009

    I believe the ratio for the Barbies is 1/12. 1″=12″‘s.At least that’s the scale I use.

  7. Nellie Visscher-Jäkkö, 20 November, 2009

    I am selling cured canes in Finland. I am interested in things you can make with cured canes. I import dollshouse here in Finland. I have started to import these canes because I thought it would be a good idea to make dollshouse food, cakes etc. Now I noticed you can make a lot more. Can you give me any help. Nellie

  8. Michelle, 15 January, 2010

    @Nellie Visscher-Jäkkö: Terve Nellie! Olen Michelle, ja olen englantilainen nainen asun Lapissa. Luin teidän viesti blogilla ja luulin voisin sanoo ‘Hei’ minulta, koska luulen että eivät paljon ihmisiä ovat täällä suomelta. Sori jos minun suomea ei ole oikeassa, mutta tarvitsen harjoitukseni! Toivottavasti se on ymmärrettävä!

    Hyvää Uutta Vuotta! Michelle

  9. Cindy Lietz, 20 November, 2009

    Hi Nellie – It’s great to hear from you all the way over in Finland! In regards to your question about polymer canes, use the search box to find many, many free articles about making your own cane designs.

    If you are brand new to working with Polymer Clay and want to get up to speed fast with everything you need to know to make your own canes, then have a look at my Polymer Clay Beginners Course (39 videos). The link by my name will take you to a reference page where I’ve posted feedback from students who have already taken the course.

  10. Michelle, 15 January, 2010

    Oops! Somehow I thought that would go direct to Nellie! Well, I wouldn’t want to be seen as being lingually rude to others that do not understand a spot of Finnish, I know how irritating that can be… here is the translation! :D

    Hello Nellie, I am Michelle and I am an english woman living in Lapland. I read your message on the blog and thought I would say ‘Hi’ from me, because I think there are not many people that are here from Finland. Sorry if my Finnish is not correct, but I need the practice! I hope it is understandable!

    Happy New Year! Michelle

  11. Michelle, 15 January, 2010

    Well, I guess if nothing else Cindy, the text might be picked up on by the ‘internet crawling bots’ and also by a few more Finns perhaps… drawing them to the site! :D

  12. Nellie Visscher-Jäkkö, 15 January, 2010

    Hei Michelle,

    Thanks for your note. Your Finnish is wonderful better than mine. I am from the Netherlands and have been living in Finland for the last 40 years. Started with the dollshouse business 2 years ago. Prefer to write English, but if you want you can send and practise your Finnish. Understand it very well. Busy with making from polymer clay dollshouse food which is very relaxing for me. Nellie
    By the way how did you come in Lapland?

  13. Sarah Young, 09 March, 2010

    Hi Cindy. I’m really loving your blog though, I can’t be a member. Or at least its hard for me to do so since I’m located outside USA and am not using dollars as currency.

    I’ve come across your article which talked about making polymer beads on a budget and loved your tip on using eye shadows as substitute for PearlEx.

    I’ve also read in about using vegetable oil as a means of thinning clay and I thought it might be a cheaper alternative to clay softeners and TLS. I’m into making cupcake pendants and I’ve tried both TLS and vegetable oil in liquidizing the frost of my cupcakes. Of course they’re different in texture since those made out of TLS end up with a matte finish while those made using vegetable oil has a glossy finish. My question is whether you think this (vegetable oil) would work and I’m really hoping you could give me some advice or thoughts regarding this matter. Thanks.

    Sarah from The Philippines

  14. Phaedrakat, 09 March, 2010

    @Sarah Young: Hi Sarah, I’ve heard of using mineral oil or baby oil, but not vegetable oil. It seems like it might work, but it sounds like you’ve already tried it for your “frosting.” So I don’t understand your question — you’re asking if it will work, but you said you already used it to liquidize clay. Are you wanting to use it for something else?

    If vegetable oil has been mentioned by someone who has tried it here at the website, you can find it by doing a search. Use the box on the upper left side, and type in ‘vegetable oil’ or ‘clay thinners’, etc. and you’ll get a list of articles. Make sure you check the comments under the articles, too, as they sometimes have even more tips than the original post!

    Some other clay thinners I’ve read about are glycerin & even vaseline, although I haven’t tried them. Here’s an article on Fimo Mix Quick but it has lots of other “alternate” suggestions for softening clay. Maybe one of them will help you with what you’re looking for.

    Here’s another article about miniature food. It has links to some of the other miniature food articles, in case you missed them.

    Good luck, Sarah! Sorry I was not more help. Leave another comment if you still need help.

  15. Sarah Young, 10 March, 2010

    I’m sorry for the misunderstanding but what I meant was if it would be any good. I just thought it would be better to ask since you guys obviously have years of experience. =) Thanks for the info on baby oil. I think I’ll try that on my next cupcake. =) I’ll be sure to check out on the link you posted since I’ve already tried searching for vegetable oil here in beadsandbeading. =)

    Thanks! =) -Sarah

  16. Phaedrakat, 10 March, 2010

    No problem, Sarah! I haven’t made the miniature foods, so I just wanted to be sure about what you were asking. I know you ‘miniaturists’ use TLS and/or thin down regular polymer clay to make frostings & sauces for foods; I just wasn’t sure if I was missing something or not.

    Feel free to ask anything you want. If you can’t find something here at the website, just ask. I like to try to help, if I can, as do other members. But Cindy is the really experienced one. She usually answers questions, unless someone else has answered it first (she’s a lot busier these days!) So don’t worry about misunderstandings. Helping each other & learning is what Cindy’s website is here for!

    (If you haven’t done so already, you might want to get her newsletter. You get 3 free videos, as well as weekly color recipes, which are awesome! Click on the “Polymer Clay Newsletter” link at the top of the page to join her guestlist and get the freebies.)

  17. Cindy Lietz, 05 May, 2010


    Polymer Clay Projects

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Making Miniature Food for Dollhouses), have just been added in another post. They were submitted by Catalina. The link by my name will take you to where you can see them, along with a bit of a write up about her other pics.

    BTW: Thanks to everyone above, who took the time to comment. Your feedback, support and fun conversations are always such a wonderful part of my day. Although I don’t get a chance to address each of your comments individually, please know that I do read them all. ~Cindy

  18. Mary Hattenschweiler, 13 July, 2010

    I am a Ginny doll collector and there are a lot of us out there. I make dioramas with my vintage dolls and am looking for food items that would work with that size doll-8inch. Are you making and selling? Thanks, Mary

  19. Phaedrakat, 16 July, 2010

    @Mary Hattenschweiler: Hi Mary, I do not make miniature food, but I left a comment about your request on Friday’s tutorial page so people will see it. I told them “where you are” so watch this spot to see who answers.

    While waiting, what kinds of food are you looking for specifically? Desserts, Appetizers, Full meals, or ? That can help someone who makes food but doesn’t have a current inventory, they would make it “to order”! Have fun—I think what you’re doing sounds quite fun (almost as much as polymer clay, but not quite. Clay’s the best, of course…LOL!) :~D

  20. phuong Light, 14 April, 2014

    what is the best way to make ceramic tile for my doll house, of course from polymer clay. what king of paint I use to glaze the tile after baking to mimique ceramic or porcelain tile.Please help. I truly appreciate your tutorial video .Thank you very very much.


  21. Cindy Lietz, 15 April, 2014

    Hi Phong, I have a Faux Ceramic Tutorial that would teach you what you need to know. If you want to check that out, here is the intro video:

    Faux Stoneware Polymer Clay Tutorial

  22. Kathay Iskrzycki, 22 January, 2020

    I am making little tiny cupcakes for a dollhouse project, and was wondering how long to bake them? Each cupcake is about the size of a green pea? Also can I re-bake the bottoms again, after putting something on the top? Thank you for all your help you’re the greatest!

  23. Cindy Lietz, 22 January, 2020

    Hi Kathay, I bake my all my items (even the very thin or super tiny) pieces for 45-60 mins. This will make them really strong. When you have something that you would like to bake more than once (which you can do) then you can bake for shorter the first time. For the cupcake example, I would bake the bottom first for about 20 mins. then add stuff on top and bake for another full hour. You can bake as many times as you like, but the last one has to be the full time,

  24. Kathay Iskrzycki, 22 January, 2020

    Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart I’m disabled and I have a hard time doing things cuz most of the time I’m laying down on my side going to turn away but I do my clay it’s the only thing that keeps me awake and going on and on and on love you God bless and thank you for your great advice.

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