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Miniature Template Downloads

Left and right: Queen Anne Secretary; Center: Block and Shell Secretary

Make your own one-twelfth (1:12) fine-scale miniature using a template designed by Elena Smith. Our collection features the largest public display of fine-scale miniatures in the world. Fine-scale miniatures are proportionate to their full-scale, or life-size, counterparts. This means that locks, keys, food, and even the woodgrain on floor boards is proportional despite its small size; fine-scale miniatures tend to be functional, as well. For example, a miniature key will actually turn a miniature lock, and a miniature lamp will actually turn on. The most common category of fine-scale miniatures is 1:12 scale, in which one inch in miniature equals twelve inches, or a foot, in real life.

One of the templates is for a block and shell secretary, inspired by American miniaturist Paul A. Runyon’s masterpiece, which you can read more about here. The other is inspired by a secretary with 19 secret compartments designed by English miniaturist Frank Early.

Whatever the grade level and subject matter you teach, these downloadable templates can bolster your lesson. There are 3 difficulty levels: a basic trifold (excellent for grades K-2), a closed secretary with four walls (recommended for grades 3-5), and a cabinet with closable doors (recommended for grades 6-12).

Some ideas for lessons include:

  • Fine-motor folding
  • Fine-motor coloring in the lines
  • Furniture vocabulary (such as hinge, drawer, cabinet, compartment, secretary, dovetail, joinery)
  • Understanding three-dimensional structures, shapes vs. forms, 2D shapes vs. 3D shapes
  • An art history lesson focused on furniture styles in different historical periods
  • An art or design lesson focused on product design
  • A science lesson exploring the kinds of wood and chemicals used in furniture making and their environmental impact
  • A math lesson focusing on dimensional proportions from fine-scale to full-scale, such as length, depth, width, area and volume
  • A math lesson exploring geometric features of the miniatures
  • An industrial technology, computer aided design (CAD), or woodworking activity that explores how furniture is made
  • A social studies lesson discussing the history of property ownership
  • An economics lesson exploring resource availability in manufacturing in the past vs. present
  • A social studies activity comparing and contrasting security methods in the past with those of the present, i.e. lock and key, analog and digital

Ready to make a masterpiece? Download a PDF below! Please note, only fold on dotted lines. The straight lines are only design elements to color in. There are three options, labeled by difficulty and recommended grade level.

Simple Secretary, recommended for grades K-2.

Intermediate Secretary, recommended for grades 3-5.

Complex Secretary, recommended for grades 6-12.

Elena Smith (she/her) is an artist and designer based in Kansas City, a 2024 BFA graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute in Product Design and Entrepreneurship, and a summer 2023 intern at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. See more of Elena’s work here. 

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