I am delighted by all things miniature, and those collectable eraser sets from Japan (a popular brand is CrazErasers) were the inspiration for this mini food set project. Sculpey oven-bake clay is a great material to work with (that particular brand is more workable than other brands, especially for little hands), and they’ve recently added an Eraser Clay to their line. It’s totally neat, and works really well as an eraser after you bake it. With regular Sculpey, or their Eraser Clay, you can make your own colorful toy sets.
In working on a project big or small, it’s important to give it a ‘finishing stroke’ – something that pulls a it together at the end and completes it. Arts and crafts are elevated to ‘design’ with a little polish, clever packaging, or savvy display. Dig around your drawers for any type of little tin, container, or small box; these are perfect for giving a more polished package to your toy set.
Sculpey oven-bake clay, or better yet, Eraser clay! (also oven-bake)
Sculpting tool for details – toothpicks are great, Eraser clay comes with a mini plastic spatula
Any type of container lying around the house – Altoids tin, small gift box, spice container, etc.
Paper, school glue and markers
Time: 20 minutes or a whole afternoon
These miniature sets are so easy and absorbing and great for all ages; little ones can stick with the basics of making their shapes while older children can add more detail and design a fun package to store them in.
Think of a theme for your toy set; then make and bake!
Themes we like include:
Favorite breakfast foods
Things in your back pack
Things in the junk drawer
To store our confectionary set, we used a Trader Joe’s chocolate tin and added our own ‘label’ to the outside. For our breakfast set, we used a plain round tin, but decorated a paper circle inside the lid so that the lid becomes a serving plate when you open it. Have fun!
(Oven-bake clay is available at almost all art or craft stores. Just make sure to check the package for oven temperature, and adjust the baking time for thick or thin pieces. Of course, only adults should use the oven, and make sure to let the pieces cool on the counter a bit before handling.)
Curious Jane, founded by contributor Samantha Razook Murphy, offers project-based after-school programs and summer camps, revolving around creativity in the arts and sciences.