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Miniature Art Materials, Suppliers and Books

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Miniature Art Materials

Materials: If you would like to learn to paint miniatures or find out more about them , or if you are already a miniaturist, you might find this section of interest. We are trying to provide as comprehensive a list as possible of sources for miniature art. If you have a favorite brand or favorite supplier of materials for miniaturists we would like to hear about it. Miniature art is not an expensive occupation as the amounts of everything used (except time) are so small. Always use the best quality you can afford.

Surfaces: Early miniatures were painted on vellum sometimes stuck to the backs of playing cards, but by the middle 1700s the favorite surface was ivory. Although there are still stocks of old ivory (piano key etc.) around, most modern miniature painters use a range of surfaces, many of them man-made. Some popular surfaces include:

Fine hot-pressed paper: (Some miniaturists recommend at least 140 pounds weight). Watercolor board is paper adhered to a rigid backing. Available in a 100% rag from Crescent and available from any good art supplier.

Ivorine: Similar to celluloid this provides a very smooth fine surface on which the paint sits. It is slightly translucent and can produce a most beautiful luminous effect when transparent paints are used. You can also paint on it using gouache, acrylic or oils. Supplied by R.J.Wood, T.N. Lawrence & Son, Ltd. and Mini Art Supply

Polymin: Similar to Ivorine, but usually thinner. This can be useful if you want to trace a design through from the back. Supplied by Polymers Plus and Mini Art Supply

Ivorex: a smooth white card, available from good art shops.

Lumitex: double sided or on backing card. Available in the UK from Wrights of Norfolk. Outside the UK available from C.B. Turner

Vellum: made of goatskin or calfskin Suppliers include: William Cowley, Polymers Plus, Cornelissens, and Mini Art Supply.

Wood: Prepared wood panels in maple or natural fibre can be bought from Art Boardsand T.N. Lawrence & Son, Ltd.

Gesso panels: Hand-crafted art panels made from a traditional gesso recipe specially formulated from crushed marble, rabbit skin glue and high quality titanium pigments. Several thick coats of this gesso are applied to a dimensionally-stable ¼" premium hardboard. Excellent for use with oils, egg temperas, and acrylics. Boards can be custom made to specific sizes. Purchase them from or Claybord is a similar surface with a baked-on application of clay. (Varieties of claybord can be purchased from most art supply stores)

Tagua: This is palm ivory made from the tagua nut, also called Corozo and vegetable ivory. It looks and behaves very like mammal ivory. Details can be found at:

Miniatures may also be painted on to fabrics, such as velvet or silk, or painted or even enameled on to copper.

Paints Miniatures may be painted with watercolors, gouaches, alkyds, acrylics, oils,or even pastels. Very popular is the enormous range of paints made by Winsor & Newton. Always check the color fastness and permanence of all materials before using them.

Miniature engravers may get supplies from T.N. Lawrence & Son, Ltd.

Brushes have of course to have extremely fine points but at the same time be capable of holding a good deal of paint. Those of us using watercolor commonly use sable brushes made by Winsor and Newton, series 7, series 12, or series 16. Sizes go down to as small as 000. Ken Bromley Art Supplies can send small sable brushes by mail order, as can Rosemary and Co. Chromacolour make an excellent series of nylon brushes, as do Trip the Daisey. Art Discount sell Winsor & Newton miniature brushes by mail order in the UK. In the US, Mini Art Supply supplies various brushes suitable for miniaturists. For lifting off paint from a non-absorbent surface the nylon Daler size 00000 made by Dalon is invaluable. Even the best nylon brushes bend at the tip after a certain amount of use, so aim to buy natural bristle brushes if at all possible - they are worth the extra cost.

Frames: The generally accepted maximum size for a miniature in the UK is 4.6 inches x 6 inches including mount and frame. The Royal Miniature Society does not accept mounts wider than 0.75 inches. Frames are usually custom made with very fine moldings. Oval, circular, rectangular or square gold or brass plated frames with convex glass are also very popular. Framing is more varied within the USA but always be sure to follow the show's guidelines - it's better to be too small vs. too large!

Magnifiers: All but the very youngest will require some help with seeing the very fine details of a true miniature. Magnification aids include "anglepoise" lenses, sometimes fitted with lamps, hand held magnifiers, desk magnifiers, lenses incorporated in headbands and lenses fitted on to spectacles. In the UK any good optician will have a range of magnifiers. Other suppliers include Polymers Plus and Big Eye.

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Miniature Art Suppliers


Leith Road, Forth [next to the Bridge Hotel], Tasmania
Hours: Sundays 10am-4pm or by appointment
Forth Art Studio/Gallery, 51 George Street, Forth, Tasmania
Tel: 6428 2675 or 0419 282673
Framing and art supplies


Lennox Trading Co.Ltd., Number 2 Bedford Park Corner, Turnham Green Terrace, London W4 1LS
Tel: 020 8995 2872; Fax: 020 8995 2873; Email:"
General artists' supplies

11 Grange Mills, Weir Road, London SW2 0NE, UK
Acrylic paints and brushes

105 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3RY, UK
Tel: +44 207 636 1045; fax: +44 207 636 3655
Fine arts materials of all descriptions

Bespoke Picture Framing Gallery
22A South Street, Wellington, Somerset TA21 8NS
+44 1823 660990

59 New Hall Lane, Bolton BL1 5LW, UK

208 Portland Road, Hove BN3 5QT, UK
Tel +44 1273 260260; Fax +44 1273 260270, email:

18 High Street,Epsom, Surrey KT19 8AH
Tel: +44 1372 741 811l; Fax: +44 1372 745653 Email:

124-126 The Cut, London SE1 8LN, UK
A permanent exhibition of contemporary miniatures for sale.

57b South Street, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland KY16 9QR
Tel: +44 1334 472985; e-mail
Miniature paintings by Wendy Sabine and others

The complete postal service for miniaturists
The Towngate Art Group
14-15 Benson road, Nuffield Ind. Estate,
Poole, Dorset BH17 0GB
01202 679182 weekdays; 665495 Saturdays

PO Box 372, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 6WZ, UK
Tel: (01535) 600090 Fax: (01535) 214114

Idstone, Wilts, SN6 8LL, UK

97 Caldecote Street, Newport Pagnell, Bucks MK16 0DB, UK.

6 Gablehurst Court, Long Lane, Bradwell, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. NR31 7DS.

They sell their products through art shops around the world. For addresses visit their website.


8220 Brucar Ct., Gaithersburg, MD 20877-1101, USA
Tel: +1 301-977-2190
American distributors of miniature materials

612 Degraw Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217
Tel: +1 718 237-2592; Toll free: 800 - 546-7985; Fax : +1 718 237-0142
Prepared wooden boards in maple or natural fiber
See their website for list of US retailers

Howard & Daniel Corp, 165 Spring Valley RD, Athens, GA 30605
Tel: +1 706-227-2921; FAX: +1 706-227-1142


Ottostr. 4, D-84503 Altoetting, Germany
Tel: +49-8671-6258; Fax: +49-8671-5484


144 Milner Ave, Roosevelt Park, PO Box 49, Greymont 2035, South Africa
Tel: 0027 011 888 9120

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Recommended Miniature Art Books

This list represents suggestions for those wanting to learn more about contemporary miniature art (c.1970+). Books are hardback unless noted. A more comprehensive listing including historical miniatures may be found here: Miniature Art Resources

EXQUISITE MINIATURES by Wes Siegrist, published by Wes Siegrist, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9821278-0-3 (88 pages)
Available from
[Essays, historical quotes, personal insights/biographies from the artists, step by step demos, Siegrist miniature paintings]

HOW TO PAINT MINIATURES by Robert Hughes and Elizabeth Johnson, Quintet Publishing 1994, ISBN 1-85076-518-9 (@82 pages)
[History, materials, step by step demos by 8 miniaturists]

THE MAGIC OF MINIATURES by Jo Clay, Mendip Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0-905903-29-3 (78 pages)
[History, personal insights/biographies from the artists, miniature art by 34 miniaturists]

MINIATURE ART OF AUSTRALIA Past And Present (160 pages)
Available via fax # 0061 03 6431 6419 or via Joan Kelly
[History, personal insights/biographies from the artists, historical paintings, information on miniature art societies, miniature art by @75 miniaturists]

MINIATURE PAINTING - A COMPLETE GUIDE TO TECHNIQUES, MEDIUMS AND SURFACES by Joan Cornish Willies, Watson-Guptill Publications 1995, ISBN 0823029794. (144 pages paperback)
[History, how to, materials discussion, step by step demos, Joan Cornish Willies miniature paintings]

MODERN MASTERS OF MINIATURE ART IN AMERICA by Wes Siegrist, published by Wes Siegrist, 2010, ISBN 978-0-9821278-3-4 (268 pages)
Available online for free via Google Books or see
[Contains comprehensive research, historical quotes, personal insights/biographies from over 53 contemporary miniaturists, historical paintings & sculpture, information on miniature art societies, miniature art by @75 miniaturists, photos of artists in their studios]

PAINTING MINIATURES by Elizabeth Davys Wood, A & C Black, 1989 available from R.J. Wood (128 pages)
[How to, materials discussion, step by step demos, Elizabeth Davys Wood miniature paintings]

PORTRAIT MINIATURES by Bill Mundy, published by Bill Mundy, 2005, ISBN 0-9 550017-0-6
Available from
[historical quotes, personal insights, Bill Mundy miniature paintings]

PORTRAIT MINIATURES - VOLUME II by Bill Mundy, published by Bill Mundy, 2006, ISBN 0-9 550017-1-4
Available from
[historical quotes, personal insights, step by step demos, Bill Mundy miniature paintings]

PORTRAIT MINIATURES ORIENTAL by Bill Mundy, published by Bill Mundy, 2008, ISBN 0-9 550017-3-0
Available from
[Bill Mundy miniature paintings]

THE TECHNIQUES OF PAINTING MINIATURES by Sue Burton, B.T. Batsford, 1995, ISBN 0-7134-7459-9 (144 pages)
[History, how to, materials discussion, step by step demos, personal insights from the artists, miniature art by 28 miniaturists]

THE WORLD OF NATURE IN MINIATURE by Wes Siegrist, published by Wes Siegrist, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9821278-1-0 (54 pages)
Available from
[Essays, step by step demos, Siegrist miniature paintings]

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This website,, was established May 1996 by Caroline Hayes. As of June 2012, it is maintained by Wes Siegrist. Images on this website were used by permission by Caroline Hayes and/or Wes Siegrist.