How to Make a "Stainless Steel" Dinner Knife in Dollhouse Scale

  • 01 of 08

    Make Miniature "Stainless Steel" Knives

    Miniature "stainles steel"knife in 1:12 dollhouse scale. Photo © 2015 Lesley Shepherd

    This miniature 'stainless steel" dinner knife is another easy metalwork project which can be made using needle files, aluminum armature wire, and fine grit sandpaper.

    I made mine based on the knives in my everyday dinner service which have a simple shape ideal for this project. Try to find a photo or an example of a knife to copy so you are getting proportions as close to your scale as possible (this knife is shown in 1:12 scale).

    The following photo instructions will take you through all...MORE the steps in making this miniature knife.

    There are also instructions on this site for making miniature 'Stainless Steel"  kitchen tool handles.


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  • 02 of 08

    Preparing Aluminum Armature Wire To Make a Miniature Knife

    Aluminum armature wire flattened as stock to make miniature knives.
    Hammered armature wire used to make dollhouse "stainless steel" cutlery. Photo © 2015 Lesley Shepherd

    Aluminum armature wire is used by many sculptors and is available from art supply stores or the art section of big box craft stores.  It is a very soft wire which bends and twists easily. To use it for projects which require a stiffer metal, you need to hammer the round wire against a metal surface to flatten it.  Use a flat ended hammer so you keep marking to a miniumum.

    Here the armature wire is used as it can be sanded or brushed with a wire brush to texture it to the look of stainless steel. ...MORE The metal is soft and easy for a beginner to shape and work with sandpaper or small needlefiles.

    Hammer a roughly 6 inch (15cm) length of the wire until it is approximately the correct thickness for your knife handle. Try to hammer the metal so it is uniform, and does not thin and spread out in some areas, while it remains narrower and thinner in others.

    Hammering the metal will stiffen it so it is less flexible, although it is still a comparatively soft metal.

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  • 03 of 08

    Flatten the Surface of the Hammered Aluminum Wire

    Aluminum armature wire flattened and sanded to make stock for dollhouse knives.
    Aluminum armature wire pounded flat and sanded to make material for dollhouse cutlery. Photo © 2015 Lesley Shepherd

    Once your aluminum armature wire has been hammered flat, you will need to use fine aluminum oxide or silicon carbide sandpaper  with a grit of 300 or finer,  to flatten the hammered surface and remove the marks made by hammering the armature wire.  You may still have a few marks (see photo) , but those will be removed in the knife making process.

    Sand the metal in a well ventilated space, and dispose of the metal filings / sandings keeping them away from your other work areas.


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  • 04 of 08

    Marking the Main Parts of Your Miniature Knife

    Flattned armature wire marked to indicate a tang , handle and blade in dollhouse scale.
    Choose a sample knife to copy and mark the tang, handle, and blade. Photo © 2015 Lesley Shepherd

    In the photo on this page you can see the sample cutlery knife I am using as a sample. I've taken the measurements from this knife and transferred them using a fine point pen to a section of my flattened armature wire. Do not cut the knife length free from a section of armature wire, it is easier to work with the knife attached at the handle end to a longer piece of wire.

    My real life example is roughly 8 inches (20cm) long so I have laid out my miniature knife length to be 8/12 or 2/3 of an...MORE inch long.

    On the blade I've used a fine point drawing pen to mark out the handle section and the rough shape of the curve of the blade.

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  • 05 of 08

    Begin Shaping the Sides of the Dollhouse Scale Knife Handle

    Shaping the sides of a dollhouse knife handle from armature wire
    Use a half round file to shape the sides of the miniature knife handle. Photo © 2015 Lesley Shepherd

    Using a small half round file, (or fine sandpaper wrapped around a dowel or toothpick) begin to shape the curves on the sides of the handle, checking the shape against your real example.  Don't sand or file too agressively, use light smooth strokes and tap the handle of your file occasionally to clear the filings from the teeth (or use a brass brush) .  Only file the handle edges for now (the areas marked in black).  Leave the knife blade shaping until after the handle has been shaped.


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  • 06 of 08

    Finish Shaping the Miniature Knife Handle

    Dollhouse knife handle shaped with files and blade end marked.
    Dollhouse knife handle shaped with files, blade end marked for curve. Photo © 2015 Lesley Shepherd

    When you have your knife handle filed to shape, use fine sandpaper to smooth any sharp edges. Try to leave the mark for the bolster/finger guard between the handle and the blade as you will need to refer to it later.

    Check your shape often against the photo or real knife you are trying to copy. Don;t worry about shaping any parts of the base of the knife handle. You want your tiny knife to stay firmly attached to the longer piece of flattened wire.


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  • 07 of 08

    Shape the Sides of the Miniature Knife Blade

    Files are used to shape the sides of the dollhouse knife blade.
    Shaping the sides of the miniature knife blade edge. Photo © 2015 Lesley Shepherd

    With the handle shape finished, begin to use your needle files to shape the sides of the knife blade. Take care not to bend the knife as you shape it. Aluminum wire is very soft. Don't worry about shaping the blade, just shape the sides of the knife at this point. Most cutlery knives have gently rounded ends rather than points.

    Leave the center marking for the bolster/finger guard in place, as this will aid you when you get to the final stage of shaping your knife blade.


    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    How to Finish the Blade of a Dollhouse Miniature Knife.

    Thinning and shaping the blade of a dollhouse knife
    Thinning the knife blade in front of the "tang". Photo © 2015 Lesley Shepherd

    The final steps in finishing the miniature knife, are to shape the blade by thinning it along the cutting edge, and thinning it in front of the bolster or finger guard at the end of the knife handle.

    Work in front of the mark made for the end of the handle, and gently file the knife blade so it is thinner than the handle on both sides of the knife, with a gentle curve taking it down as it narrows.

    When you have the line of the bolster/finger guard in place, carefully file the cutting edge of the...MORE knife to make it thinner than the main blade. Take care not to bend your tiny knife!

    When the blade is shaped to your satisfaction, cut it free of the main flattened wire using end nippers or wire cutters. Carefully shape the end of the handle and rub the knife with fine (600 grit or finer) sandpaper to polish it to "stainless steel " finish. Coarser grit sandpaper can be used on the handle if you wish a 'brushed' finish. Keep your strokes running in the same direction and don't sand too hard or you risk damaging the surface of your knife.  A bit of glass cooktop polish, or silver polish can be used to give the knife blade a smoother finish.


    More Miniature Kitchen Accesories You Can Make:

    Make Dollhouse Scale Kitchen and Baking Tools and Accessories

    Make a Miniature Vintage Vegetable Peeler

    Make Miniature Barbecue Tools

    Make Miniature Ramekins