How to Build a Miniature Potting Bench

miniature potting bench tutorial
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The past few days were busy making this adorable miniature potting bench. It’s perfect for your fairy and miniature gardens of course, but it might even work well to use as a hutch or counter in a dollhouse setting.

This project was made mostly out of wood dowels and popsicle sticks. I love how the paint job turned out on  this also – I used a mix of watercolors, acrylics, and lots and lots of layers and sanding in between.

It is very easy to make, with the hardest and most time consuming part as usual being the cutting and measuring of pieces.

miniature potting bench

Supplies & Materials Used in This Miniature Garden Furniture Project

Most of the supplies I used can be found easily at craft stores or even hardware stores. You don’t necessarily need to use the popsicle craft sticks for the different parts of the bench, but if you do use a thicker wood you may want to make sure you account for that when measuring and cutting to make sure everything fits together.

miniature potting bench tutorial

How to Make the Miniature 1:12 Scale Potting Bench

Step 1: Cut and Measure Your Pieces

For the wooden dowels, you will likely want a miniature hacksaw or other type of cutting tool to cut the pieces. You can use a chisel and file to sand down if necessary.

Popsicle craft sticks can be cut with a strong pair of scissors, but it can be sometimes frustrating to do so. I usually use heavy duty scissors or wire cutters and then sand/file down the edges to the desired length.

Pieces You’ll Need to Cut:

  • 2 Back Legs – 5″ Tall – 1/4″ Wooden Dowels
  • 2 Front Legs – 3″ Tall – 1/4″ Wooden Dowels
  • 4 – 3.75″ long – 1/4″ Wooden Dowels
  • 4 – 1.5″ long – 1/4″ Wooden Dowels
  • Strips for bottom and top benches {Cut popsicle sticks or wooden dowels to desired widths and lengths}
  • Shelves – 3 Popsicle Sticks – Cut to size desired with & Sand/Smooth Edges

Most of the popsicle sticks for the wooden strips on the top bench measured about 2″ long and then I sanded down to help smooth them out.

Popsicle sticks can be a little finicky, so if you can’t get them all the exact same length it’s best to start a little big and then sand/file down as needed until they are even in size.

Step 2: Build the Base & Legs

To build the bench, I started with making 2 large rectangles, one for the bottom and one for the top.

Next, I added the legs. The front legs measure 3″ tall and the back legs measure at 5″. The back legs also serve as the base for the shelves we add later. I put the legs on the inside edges of the rectangles.

You’ll want to make sure this completely dries and the glue is set before proceeding to the next part.

Step 3: Build the Bottom Bench

The bottom bench portion could be done in a number of different ways, but I decided to cut out individual pieces from the wooden rectangular dowel rods.

Next time I very well may just put notches in thinner popsicle sticks like I did for the top bench portion – that was a much easier and cleaner process!

Step 4: Build the Top Bench

For the top bench, I used varying widths of craft sticks to give it that shabby/repurposed wood look. The edges were notched out so that they would fit around the corners of the legs. There was a lot of trial and error while I tried to figure out the perfect widths and getting them the way I wanted them to look.

I also added some extra supports at this step, because I wanted to make sure that everything would stay lined up and also not fall apart in the process of gluing it all together.

Step 5: Build the Top Shelves

The top shelves are simply 3 jumbo craft sticks cut down to size and then regular popsicle sticks are used to give it a little additional support.

You could do more on the back wall if you wanted, I just liked the simplicity of two boards and a top shelf.

Step 6: Paint

In the video you can hopefully learn a little about my layering process for weathered and rustic finishes for miniature painting. I started with water color to use as a base stain and then went over this with a mix of soft body acrylics and craft acrylics.

After that, I sanded things down and put on an isolation layer of matte gel medium. This will ensure the watercolor from below won’t re-activate, and also will make sure the paint will stick on spots where I went a little too crazy with the glue.

Some brands of wood glue work great for sanding and painting, unfortunately the hardware store was out of my usual go-to brand last week so I ended up using a very fast setting and strong wood glue but not quite as easy to sand/paint glue instead.

The gel matte medium is nice because it adds some brush stroke texture as well and that helps give it that rustic old wood look.

Video Process Tutorial

You can watch the full video overview of how everything is made here:

The video is sped up a bit, but mostly only because I don’t think you really want to watch glue and paint dry! It should give you a good idea of how to make this.

If you enjoy the video and want to make sure you’re updated with all the latest video tutorials, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Last But Not Least: Accessorize That Miniature Garden Bench!

I quickly realized after I built the potting bench I am severely lacking in the miniatures department for teeny tiny garden accessories. I didn’t have much on hand to use to decorate, so we’ll have to change that fast.

It’s pretty lucky that I managed to get some fresh cut flowers {aka weeds} out of my yard before the snow hit last night!

The weeds pictured are a native weed here in Pennsylvania called “Smart Weed” – sadly no, it won’t make you any smarter. It’s called smart weed because it’s HOT and can really “smart” if you eat it or get the plant oils on your hands.

For now, a few pebbles and wooden beads serve as decoration. I want to try making some wooden crates and perhaps a few more things.

One thing I did manage to make quickly was the bird house you see on the lower shelf. The one shown here is made out of paper and then painted, but I think it would actually be a lot easier to do with wood. Paper is tricky to fold sometimes!

I hope you enjoy watching the video on how this bench was made and of course if you make one I definitely want to see it! I love making miniatures and it’s always fun to share the latest projects happening here.

Now, which garden accessories for this miniature potting bench should I make? Hmmm…. 😉

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  1. I love this site I just found looking forward to more info with your emails. I’m just getting started at doll house miniatures so I need all the help I can find. Great info and Thanks Roberta

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