Making Polymer Clay Miniature Food for Barbie – Lessons Learned

Polymer Clay Miniature Food

Scale, Translucent, Texture and Shading:

Let me start by saying I don’t have a lot of experience as a miniature dollhouse artist. Most of you know that my primary focus is on making polymer clay beads and jewelry. But when my niece’s 5th birthday came up, I thought it would be fun to try my hand at crafting some miniature food for her Barbie’s.

I mean… I work with polymer clay everyday. Surely I’d be able to make some play food! Right? Easier said than done. It was harder than I expected, but still really fun! In today’s post, I’ll share with you some lessons learned.

Scale is Important: My most recent attempt at making miniature food ended up being cute, but out of proportion. The cupcakes were as big as the hamburger. And the jumbo cut fries must have come from one enormous potato! My mistake here, was making each of the play food items separately without comparing them to each other, or to an actual Barbie doll!

Translucent is Important: For the miniature food to look realistic, you need to mix in a lot of translucent with your colored clay, especially with fruits and vegetables. But even with bread, it is important. Without translucent, the dough looks flat and chalky.

Texture is Important: Crinkled and flattened out tinfoil is great for adding texture to a loaf of bread and to french fries. Coarse sandpaper works well too. Then, you can use a variety of finish coatings to make the pieces look as realistic as possible. For example, meat, lettuce and tomatoes should have a high gloss glaze. But the top of a bun looks better with a dusty coating of chalk.

Shaded Coloring is Important: I didn’t have the chalk pastels that other miniaturists use for dusting on color, so I tried some charcoal pencils. It looked good in the oven but came off after handling. So I added some alcohol ink like I did to the Anjou Pear Beads, and that worked quite nicely in a pinch. Would still like to get some chalk pastels since I love the look that is created with them.

Those were just a few lessons learned when making this play food. I love experimenting with different ideas and can see myself dabbling much more into the art of dollhouse miniatures and mini food. Looking forward to giving the food to my Niece. Hope she likes them!

Do you have an interest in learning how to make miniature food as charms and beads (or even radish earrings)? If so, what deigns would you like me to focus on?

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Jocelyn, 29 June, 2009

    @ Cindy

    Did my time with the nieces and made all the goodies for the 18 inch American Girl doll series. We made Native American Indian food, Colonial food, Mexican food, turn of the century food, etc., etc.

    It was amazing to see how quickly they mastered both the scale and the “search the house and grounds to find anything that worked” philosophy. To finish the details, just used acrylic paint after the clay was baked, then added a layer of Future/Pledge Floor Wax to keep it in place. I think they liked the final dipping process the best….lots of ooooohs and ahhhhs.

    It was so much fun, and sure made those hot summer days go by quickly.

  2. Cindy Lietz, 29 June, 2009

    Great idea Jocelyn, making food for the American Girl dolls! Bet your nieces loved making them with you. What a good Auntie you are!

  3. Jocelyn, 01 July, 2009

    Some would say “control freak,” LOL! I was raised by two grandmothers and a mother who believed in busy hands. They never screamed or fought when that clay was on the table. Whatever works.

  4. Freda, 03 July, 2009

    I’m not very interested in making mini food. I’m working on mini teapots since I am a tea-totaler.

  5. Cindy Lietz, 06 July, 2009

    @Jocelyn: Amen sister!

    @Freda: Maybe you want to make a mini tea biscuit to go with your tea pots? Or a little faux fruit perhaps? :-)

  6. Geneviève Dolosor, 09 September, 2009

    Hello Cindy!

    Thank you very much for your nice comment on “Parole de pâte” about my hamburger. Attractive idea to make chips!

    Jancydol (Geneviève Dolosor)

  7. Cindy Lietz, 10 September, 2009

    My pleasure Geneviève! I love how the Internet brings us all closer together like this.

  8. Diana, 14 September, 2009

    I’d love to see the mini teapots, etc. as well.
    But in food items I’d love to see tutorials on candy,popsicles,pies and cookies.
    I’m also trying to find info on making small 1-2 inch children’s storybook characters and such.
    Thanks again for a great site!

  9. Cindy Lietz, 02 October, 2009

    You’re welcome Diana! Thanks for the input. That is very helpful!

  10. Cindy Lietz, 05 May, 2010


    Polymer Clay Projects

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Miniature Doll Food and Accessories), 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.

  11. Betty, 06 May, 2010

    Thanks so much Cindy on the shading idea using chalk pastels! I have tried many ways to shade my miniature food, but to no avail. So glad I found your website, VERY HELPFUL!!!

  12. Cindy Lietz, 06 May, 2010

    You are VERY WELCOME! It’s great to have you here Betty.

  13. Laurie M, 08 April, 2014

    Cindy – I am really enjoying my re-newed found love of making beads and miniatures from polymer clay thanks to you :)

  14. Carol Brown, 23 January, 2019

    I only wanted some tips on making Barbie food. WHERE ARE THE LESSONS?

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