Wednesday, 7 August 2013

What's the beef?

As I sometimes do, I devoted an entire afternoon to making one kind of miniature recently. It's one of those things that involves mixing special colours and canes and you really have to give yourself a few hours to have at it in one go! Following on from my food inspiration post, here is what it looks like when I make miniature roast beef from polymer clay.
These are the 2 main colours I use.

I base it loosely on Angie Scarr's advice in Making Miniature Food, however I've adapted the colour combo slightly, and somehow end up using about 9 different colours to get these combinations! I've got to hand it to Angie though, that her suggestion of adding a tiny amount of black was a good call. It worked a treat. Although unlike the book's instructions, I make a LOT more of the cooked meat colour (the brown) than the raw meat colour (the red) as my dolls don't like their beef too raw. Plus the larger the cane gets, the more clay you need to get around its circumference.
As Angie prescribes, I do use the Skinner Technique.
I always think it's never going to work!...

Lovely, lovely shades!
...and lo and behold, it nearly always does!
Here is my cane before I added any 'fat veins' or rolled it slow.

Mmmm, appetizing...
I also use various powdered pastels to coat the exterior of the cane as I like my beef to look well done on the outside. Unfortunately I somehow lost the photo I took of that stage!
And here is my ceramic tile covered in an afternoon's worth of miniature making. I hope the plated meat at the top gives an idea of scale, each plate is under an inch in diameter. Each tiny roll of sliced beef is approx. 1cm long.

As usual, adding the texture to each individual slice took a lot longer than making the actual cane. But unlike many canes I make, such as liquorice or cucumber that can be sliced after cooking, this one has to be sliced while the cane is raw so the texture can be added. That's why you really have to make sure you have a whole afternoon free before you start!
I haven't finished any of the dollhouse miniatures which these beef slices are going to go into. But here are a couple of previous creations to show how I intend to use them.
The vein of fat shows up a lot more in my current batch of beef slices, which for me is an improvement as it was a little too subtle in these for my liking. I'll update the blog when I finally finish making my current beef dinner sets. Those veggies take forever!


  1. Perfect!!!

  2. hi this is way awesome i totally see how you do your meat but how do you make the texture? (can you help me please?.)bye.

    1. There's no magic, quick method unfortunately. I sit with a sharp craft knife blade and make lots of tiny cuts in two directions over and over and over. It took longer than making the actual cane did! I never said making miniatures was glamorous, at least practice makes perfect.