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MM16: Tinkering With Toys

w/ Cathy Ellis O'Brien


video sleeve image

$29.95 + S&H

Table of Contents:

Tools and Materials
Rocking Horse
—Preparation and Flocking
—Mane, Tail and Saddle
—Rocker Base
Counter Balance Santa
Pull Toy Lamb

Approx. Running Time: 118 minutes

Thanks To A "Starving" Art Student,
Toys Aren't Just For Kids Anymore!

When Cathy Ellis-O'Brien, was studying art at the California College Of Arts & Crafts, she didn't have much money with which to buy her mother gifts. And so, as an inexpensive alternative to store-bought gifts, Cathy began making bears, clowns, and bunnies for her mother's doll house.

Her mother was so impressed by the gifts, she encouraged Cathy to make more toys, and offered to show them to her friends and owners of miniature shops and see if she could generate a few sales. Two weeks later, Cathy received her first check. That was in the late 1970's. The rest, as they say, is history. Instead of pursuing her career in art, Cathy channeled her energies into making miniatures. Since then her work has made the cover of seven magazines and she's been the subject of numerous articles. "If it wasn't for my mother," says Cathy, "I never would have started." It wasn't until years later that Cathy found out just how true that statement was.

You see, what she didn't know was that her mother had been keeping a secret. And the checks Cathy received for her work during her student days weren't from miniature enthusiasts or miniature shops at all. They were from her mother who had bought every piece Cathy had made.

In "Tinkering With Toys", Volume 16 of the multi-part Master Miniaturists Video Instructional Series, Cathy teaches you many of the techniques she's taught miniaturists around the world, and shows you how to make miniature toys from common items found in local craft and hobby stores... Things like basswood, miniature plastic animals, acrylic paint, and brushes.

This video features four fun and easy projects: A miniature Pinocchio; a Rocking Horse; a Counterbalance Santa; and an adorable Pull Toy Lamb. But along the way, you'll pick up hints you can apply to all your miniature projects. For example, Cathy demonstrates the proper technique for loading glue into syringes that will eliminate air pockets once and for all.

"When I look at things," says Cathy, "I like to see then not only as they are, but what they could be." With that she begins her lesson on how to make a Pinocchio doll from a tiny piece of wood. She shows you how to cut, sand, drill, and glue the pieces, and within minutes, transformation from basswood to Pinocchio begins.

Once the wood pieces are cut, your next step will be to paint them. Here Cathy offers practical tips that will make your job easier, including a neat way to use a razor blade to get rid of excess paint. When the paint is dry, she teaches you how to glue the pieces into a finished tiny Pinocchio.

One of this video's most enjoyable features is Cathy's engaging personality, natural teaching ability, and obvious passion for her craft. Her lessons are peppered with anecdotes and real-world experiences that make you want to reach for your tools and work right alongside her.

Cathy also understands some of the challenges you may encounter while making your miniature toys, and she offers solutions that are often humorous. For instance when painting socks on Pinocchio she says, "Sometimes you paint them unevenly. And as you try to even them out, they keep getting taller and taller. But it's O.K. if he has knee-highs!"

In the second project you'll learn how to make a miniature Rocking Horse using a plastic toy horse you can find in any hobby shop or craft store. Here again, Cathy has a story to share. "I started making miniature toys out of Fimo and wood," she recalls. "It took a long time to learn to carve, to sculpt, and to make a really high quality rocking horse." So Cathy decided there had to be something she could do to create a rocking horse easily and inexpensively. In this lesson, she shows you the techniques she developed as a result... everything from preparation and flocking, to making the mane, tail, saddle, and rocker base.

From there, you're be ready to tackle the video's final projects: The counterbalance Santa, and Pull Toy Lamb.

"I love creating miniature toys," says Cathy. After mastering the techniques she teaches on this video, you'll know how to create even more toys by applying the same techniques and ideas to different materials. And you'll understand what Cathy means when she says, "The possibilities are as endless as the world around us."

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