As mentioned previously, these labels are pretty complex to create mainly due to the fact we have to make them small enough to be used as dolls house miniatures, but having said that, they are a whole lot of fun. I originally had the idea to create these miniature labels after I designed the Apothecary range of dolls house miniature medical labels. That range was a best seller right from the start as people could finally add a decent apothecary to their dolls house with real, high quality purpose designed glass jars, flasks and bottles AND have authentic period labels to go on them!
Well, we expanded that range to over 400 labels in the end producing them in pretty much every scale from 1:48th up to life-size (Halloween parties used the real big ones!). After I had got pretty fed up creating the nice (but plain) chemists labels I decided it was time for a challenge. I needed something that no one else had done, something that would once again push the boundaries of what people expect in 1:12th scale dolls house miniatures.
Well, I am into herbs and have a huge collection in my garden (woefully neglected due to my dolls house duties!) and the idea was born. I would do a herb range. Right away I decided I did not just want to write things like “Sage” and “Thyme” on a white label and say “da daaa” my new range of herb labels. I’d leave that for the unambitious competitors!
At this point for whatever reason my daughter happened by and asked a me a question, one which lit all the bulbs in my house with that “enlightened moment”. “What plant is it you can use to get rid of the pain if you are stung by stinging nettles?”, she asked. There it was, the idea, do a range of herbs with their old traditional uses – both magical and medical.
So there began the journey that led to this beautiful and unique range of dolls house miniature magic labels.
Enough talk. A quick note that if you click an image you should be taken to a larger version!
Right from the startI decided to make the labels look old. There are 3 techniques I could use to achieve this;
Colour – a 100 years ago or so full colour printing was not used (things were hand coloured), so I need to restrict the design to one or two colours. I opted for brown and shades thereof.
Fonts – Although I used a bit of artistic licence with fonts in general I stuck to old fashioned serif based fonts that had the look and feel of days gone by.
Weathering – Adding faults, blemishes, stains, rips and general wear and tear effects. Coupled with good colours and fonts weathering can really make the difference to whether the labels work or they don’t.
Above you can see a series of six images of the St Johns Wort label showing the various definable stages involved in making each label.
Picture 1 shows the basic label I have designed. It is elongated to fit on our bottles and jars and I have added shadow around the whole border and label edge to give the label some definition.
In Picture 2 I have added lines to divide the label in 3 areas; the top for the title and herb picture, the middle for the herb property and the bottom for the “branding”. I have also dropped the branding in place – Magik Faerie (both spelt the old english way) based in Dartmoor (as dartmoor has a long history of druids and magic) and finally the “what-we-sell” tag – Herbs, Potions and Magical Ingredients. This allows me to expand this range of labels quite considerably!
Fonts used for this are Bernard Condensed Agency FB and Jellyka Estrya Handwriting.
Picture 3 shows the addition of the herb title and the herb properties. The properties were researched on the internet (google is your friend!) and it took combining information from over 20 sources to produce a central list with generally agreed upon properties. Fonts used are shown below. Teutonic Number 4 for the title (even the font name sounds old!) and Old-style HPLHS for the Properties.
Picture 4 shows me dropping in the image of St Johns Wort into the middle section. The image as shown below is created from a general image of the plant (1 – below), which is then has the background cutout (2 – below), then with the use of the clone tool multiple additional leaves and flowers added. Once the image is cleaned up and looking smart the hue and saturation of the image is modified to remove all colour and give it the pale brown look so it fits with the label (3 – below).
Picture 5 in the series of 6 shows weathering being added. I use various brushes to achieve these effects including a coffee cup ring (top left of the picture going through the J and W of the title), 3 or 4 different liquid spill brushes and a couple of cross hatch brushes to allow large scale ageing. (see image below for examples of brushes used)
The label is now essentially finished at picture 5. In this instance however I decided to further weather the image by making some of the text look like it worn away resulting in a rather battered looking label! Picture 6 at the top of the page shows the final label including the text fading. Below you will find the sequence of how we weather the text.
In Step 1 we start by typing the text we want in a standard font (arial) and laying it out how we want to be in the final version. Step two the brand name and location font are changed to our selected font (Bernard Condensed Agency FB). Step 3 we change the Herbs and Potions line to the correct font (Jellyka Estrya Handwriting). Step 4 sees us changing the colour to match the label. Finally using the eraser tool on various transparency settings in step 5, rub off the parts of the text we want to weather.
Once we drag this text block onto the label the background shows through giving the completed weathered look.
So, there you have it. A quick overview of how the Dolls House Miniature Herb and Magic Labels are created.
Any questions please ask away!