Miniature - a fascinating concept that piques most people's interest perhaps because it conjures memories of childhood and playing with smaller versions of life size items? In the dictionary, the meaning of this word is simply, "a representation or image of something on a small or reduced scale".
There are numerous "miniature" worlds out there, from doll houses to model railways; collectible figurines of popular fictional characters; and war game miniatures such as Dungeons & Dragons. In all of these worlds different scales are used to determine the finished size of the piece whether it's a diorama/room box, railway scene, full doll house, piece of furniture; accessory, figurine, etc.
I'm only going to mention the doll house world and the scales most usually used are:
1:12th - standard scale of most modern doll houses
1:24th - this is half the size of 1:12th and more popular in America but becoming so here
1:48th - a quarter of the size of 1:12th and quite popular as finished pieces take up a lot less room than their 1:12th scale counterparts
1:144th - yes, there is a scale for a doll house that would fit into a doll house!
These are the four most used scales in the doll house world. However, there are other scales and I will only mention one other which is 1:6th or Barbie doll scale. This scale is often referred to as "play scale" and is used for most Barbie size dolls including Blythe, Monster High and any other doll around 11 inches high (approximately 30 cms).
I work predominantly in 1:12th scale which means that if something is 1 foot (12 inches) in the real world it is shrunk down to 1 inch. Yes, the old Imperial measurement of inches rather than metric millimeters is used and hasn't changed, however most miniaturists will convert inches into millimeters as this is a much easier method of measuring things.
It's a wonderful hobby to get into as you work with so many different materials from fabrics to wood to paper to cardboard to metal and so many more. Using so many different materials means using, and learning, different skills and crafts. It is never boring and is always rewarding.
If you are looking for a hobby that is simply, wonderfully magical then get into Miniatures!
And if you live in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia then there is an organisation called VAME - the Victorian Association of Miniature Enthusiasts - www.vame.org.au - who run workshops each month where you can learn these skills and begin to work and craft in the Magical World of Miniatures! Otherwise, do an online search for local Miniature groups/Clubs or Associations and contact them to find out more about what they offer and how to get involved.
You won't regret beginning this wonderful hobby!
Some tiny things I have made: from knitting a teeny dress & bootees for a doll only 15mm high to completing a tiny nursery scene inside a ceramic baby shoe! I've loved making all these things and hope you enjoy seeing some of my creations!