How to Make a Miniature 1/12 Scale Crate

open miniature crate

I love to stage my miniatures and tell short stories and for that I always need little props. One such prop is a shipping crate that is big enough to house a little miniature that I have just finished and want to show off. This 1/12 scale crate is very easy to make and requires only a few tools. I hope you will find this tutorial easy enough to try and make your own crates.

Supply list for crate


I had a lot of styrofoam left overs and rather than sending them to the landfill decided to use them for this project. Start by cutting styrofoam pieces to make a cube measuring 5cmx5cm (ca.1 3/4 x 1 3/4 in). A styrofoam cutter comes in handy here, but since I do not have one cut my pieces using a long blade box cutter.

styrofoam cubes

Once that was done, I made sure that the sides are as even as possible. Depending on the density of the Styrofoam it can be a bit tricky to get straight clean sides.

wooden coffee stirrers

Next wooden coffee stirrers .5cm (1/4 in) thickness were cut to length to cover 5 sides (lid will be separate). Each side took about 8 pieces. Glue them on using regular glue. For the lid I cut a piece of thin plastic to be about 6 x 5 cm long and scored it at 1 cm. Slide the short portion in-between the styrofoam and the wood boards and glue in place. Then place all 8 remaining wooden coffee stirrers on the lid and glue in place as well. You should now be able to lift the lid on on side. Take some more wooden stirrers and cut them in half to make the thinner sides and glue them on top of the existing wooden crate. Then use another regular size coffee stirrer to make the crossbar. Cut a pointed edge on both ends . Glue everything onto you crate.

small crate

Once all the gluing is done it's time to add some color and distress the box. You can use raw umber and a warmer tone of brown and create thin washes by applying them with a brush or even just smearing them on with a makeup sponge. Most people use Acrylics that are watered down, but I am an oil painter and just can't leave my oil paints alone and used those instead to age my crate. Since we want to place items into out crate we need to hollow it out. Use an Exact knife to cut a line all around the parameter of the box leaving about .5 cm as a rim. Carefully scrape out the styrofoam .

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"My Name is Enzie (NC) and I am a multi disciplinary artist based in southern California, USA.

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