Awhile ago I posted about lovely little 18th century miniature portraits, and what a nice addition to one’s costume they can be.
Well here’s how to make them!
What You’ll Need:
- Clear Cabochons 30 x 40 mm – get them on Etsy
- Cabochon settings 30 x 40 mm – also on Etsy
- A picture of your handsome gent or lovely lady
- Aleene’s Paper Glaze glue – available at craft stores or online
- Mod Podge– also available at craft stores or online
1. First, you’ll need your picture. I scaled the pictures to just a little bigger than 40 x 30 mm, in my image editing software, then printed them out on photo paper.
|Why hello Mr.’s Jefferson an Hamilton…
The prints should be as high quality as possible. If you are using regular paper, you want to seal the image by painting on some Mod Podge and allowing it to dry (clear) before continuing. This just makes sure the inks don’t run.
2. Next, trace around the clear cabochon, on your picture, and cut it out. You’ll want to cut a little bit inside the line you traced.
|Oo, Jefferson, you sexy beast..
|Sorry George, I’ll save you for later…
3. Now dab a little bit of Aleene’s Paper Glaze onto the front of the image, and press the cabochon on top, making sure the glue is spread over the whole image, and that there are no bubbles. Wipe away any excess with a paper towel.
To prevent bubbles between the image and your cabochon, put a book or something heavy, like this handy hard drive, on top, while the glue sets.
|Hard drives. They come in handy.
4. When it’s dry, dab a tiny bit of Mod Podge in the center of the setting, and press your cabochon into it. Again, weight it while it dries.
|A small amount of Mod Podge in the setting.
And that’s it! You can wear these on a ribbon, a chain, or pin them to your costume. I made a bow with a pin on the back, for Queen Bess. For Jefferson and Hamilton I thought I’d clip the rings off the cabochon settings and turn them into bracelets, to wear on each wrist. That’s my nerdy Historical LOL.
Things NOT to do:
Don’t use any ol’ glue. I first tried E6000, and while the photo prints did okay, young Queen Elizabeth got eaten by the glue and I had to pry her up and replace her with Armada Queen E. Aleene’s Paper Glaze is by far the best glue for the job.
When I first started making miniatures back in 2008, to sell at Renaissance Faires, I poured liquid acrylic over the top of the images. I had the misconception that the domed, clear cabochons would magnify the images in a way I wouldn’t like, so I went through all the trouble of mixing the goop with the catalyst, and pouring, and breathing fumes, and wigging out about bubbles, and it was just so stupid.
DON’T DO THIS. (well, you can if you want, but I don’t recommend it)
The clear cabs look great. They hardly magnify at all, have a very professional appearance, are *so* much easier to use, and are more durable. Save yourself the fits of rage and get the clear cabs. Really.
|Young Elizabeth didn’t survive…
Something Else to Try…
There are these cool 30 x 40 mm “Epoxy Dome Stickers,” that you can just peel and stick over the top of your image. I’ve ordered some but haven’t made any miniatures from them yet, but I can’t think of anything easier than that – peel n’ stick. Save yourself the glue and the hard drive!