Miniaturists often have at least one unfinished project hanging around and many of us have quite a few. So what do we do to get these projects finished and on display? Or maybe not finished but at least out of our hair?
The first thing to do is figure out whether you really want to finish the project or not. Gasp! I know . . . How dare I suggest that? Let’s be honest here – miniatures are a hobby and they are supposed to be fun. If you have a project that’s been sitting for several years, you probably don’t like it anymore or you have moved on to something else that’s more exciting. Don’t feel guilty about this! If you are truly sick of a piece, send it on its way to someone who will appreciate it more. But first:
Finishing the Pieces You Want to Keep
- Picking One to Start With: Many organizational books will tell you to make a list of the projects you want to finish and that you should methodically go through the list and check off each item as you do it. This is boring! That makes doing miniatures feel like work. I say, close your eyes and think of a color, any color. Got one? Now go into your stash and look for a project that uses that color. That’s the one you should finish. Or name all your projects, put them on slips of paper and draw the slips from a hat. Or be spontaneous – just start working on the one that grabs you the most.
- What is the Project Missing: Most of the time we don’t finish a project because we are missing something we need – extra wallpaper, a small bit of fabric, the perfect table. Figure out what you are missing and make a list in a notebook. Then you will have the list handy the next time you are at a miniature show or store.
- What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us: Sometimes we get to a place where we don’t know what to do next or we are afraid of doing it wrong. If you feel this way, ask for help. Even if you don’t have a store near you or aren’t part of a miniature club, there are lots of sources online for help.
- Give Yourself a Fun Deadline: I know I just said doing miniatures shouldn’t feel like work. That’s why it should be a fun deadline – an exhibit at a local show, your club’s monthly meeting, a display at your local library. I know two sister miniaturists who live several states apart but they give each other “homework” in between their visits to see each other. They work on the same project and then they have someone to motivate them if they get stuck.
- Getting Inspiration: Look through old miniatures magazines and attend miniature shows to get inspired. Post to an online miniatures group and ask them what they would do. I’ve seen people ask for suggestions for naming a store and the things people come up with amaze me!
- Display Them Unfinished: If you don’t know about a project, display it in your house unfinished. Don’t hide it. It’s possible seeing it every day will give you inspiration to finish it. I saw a miniature store at a show that was finished on the exterior and the interior had plastic tarps and stepladders with signs saying “Excuse Our Mess. We are Remodeling”.
Giving Away Projects You Don’t Want
Once you know which projects you aren’t going to finish, you can send them off to someone who will finish and appreciate them.
- Garage Sales & Flea Markets: If you don’t care about getting back the money you put in, these are great ways to unload your miniatures. You may even inspire a future miniaturist!
- Donate to a Local Show: Many of the smaller regional shows have “White Elephant” sales with half finished projects. Some even have volunteers who will finish the project and then it can be sold or raffled off to benefit the show. You can usually take a tax deduction for the donation.
- Donate to NAME: Every year, NAME has a Garage Sale at their National Convention. Volunteers will assemble kits or sell projects in progress to miniature enthusiasts. You can take a tax deduction for this donation.
- Arrange a Swap: Find other miniaturists who have projects and see if you can set up a swap where you all bring your projects and swap them for others. That way if you’ve put some money into a project, you could get another project worth about the same amount.
- Sell Your Project Online: At eBay, Craig’s List, and other online sites you can sell your project to another miniaturist. This will usually get you more money than a garage sale because you can target your audience.
Sometimes it can be hard to get rid of a project if we’ve put money into it … but think of that as money you spent on entertainment – like going to the movies or to an amusement park. You had fun while you were working on the project and if you are done with it, it’s time to let it go. It’s even more exciting to hand it off to someone who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to own it or finish it! As Elsa would say, “Let It Go!”