new tutorial : miniature farm house plate rack

doll house with tiny dishes in a green wood plate rack on the wall. The house is made from cardboard and has a rustic feel.

A farmhouse plate rack for her perfectly mismatched heirloom china. It’s easy and quick to make and it might be the sweetest thing in the world. A new miss thistle society project is a perfect way to celebrate the 6th anniversary of the sewing pattern.

There has been major progress and one big set back in miss thistle’s cardboard house. The blue and white combination for the stamped walls was fine. I just didn’t love it. When I tried to paint over it the stamp pad ink ran and smudged and bled through. Relentlessly.

What finally fixed it was a wash of orangey/brownish paint that neutralized the weird blue and made a perfect variegated background for re-stamping with a more teal blue. The result feels just right. I can feel many generations of thistle women in this little room.

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Let’s make the plate rack. It’s super easy and you could use the same technique to make all sorts of tiny shelves. And it’s quick, less than an hour except for drying time.

tools and materials

Please read through all the instructions before beginning

  • scissors
  • paintbrushes
  • wax paper
  • popsicle sticks  – *find them here
  • wood coffee stirrer
  • optional – miniature clothespins – so cute – *find them here
  • wood glue
  • fine sand paper
  • light weight cardboard
  • paint

1. You need 9 popsicle sticks, 1 coffee stir stick, a piece of light cardboard and – optional- 1 mini clothespin.  Use scissors (that are not your favorite scissors) to trim the popsicle sticks. Measure carefully and make the cuts as straight as possible. Also use caution- the ends you trim will go flying. Note– if your sticks break your scissors are too dull.

2. Cut 7 sticks to 3 and 3/8th inches and 2 sticks to 2 and 1/4 inch.

3. Cut one piece of cardboard to 3 and 1/2 inches X 2 and 1/4 inches

4. Trim one corner on each of the short pieces to round it. Lightly sand the edges of all the cut pieces.

5. Place wax paper on your work surface and paint wood glue onto the top half inch of the cardboard.

6. Press one of the longer pieces into the glue – centering it on the cardboard along the top edge.

7. Paint another half inch of glue below the first stick and add another – pressing it firmly against the first stick. Repeat with another stick so you have 3 sticks glued down..

8. Apply a strip of glue right under the third stick.

9. Press the edge of the fourth stick into the glue – perpendicular to the other sticks. Hold it for a minute or two to let the glue set a little. This will be your top shelf.

10. Apply a half inch of glue and press the next stick flat below it – pressing it firmly against the edge.

11. Apply another half inch of glue and another stick laid flat. Apply a thin strip of glue under it.

12. Press the edge of your last long stick into the glue, perpendicular to the flat stick to create the bottom shelf. Hold it in place for a minute or two to set the glue. Let this dry completely.

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The shelf in progress held at an angle showing the two shelves

Your dried piece should look like this.


13. Before adding the sides check the fit. Popsicle sticks vary a little in width and your rack may be a little shorter than 2 and 1/4. Hold it against the side to check, The bottom should match the bottom shelf.  I needed to trim off about an 16th of an inch on my sides.

14. Apply glue to the edges on one side – including the edges of the shelves.

15. Press your side into the glue and hold in place for a minute or two while the glue sets a little.

16. Add the other side and let this dry completely.


17. If you have a little extra cardboard at the bottom trim it off.

18. Place your coffee stirrer across- about 1/4 inch above the top shelf and trim it to fit. Glue it in place.

19. Optional – separate a mini clothespin and apply glue to the flat side.

20. Glue to the bottom of the side edge with the thicker end down. Repeat on the other side. Let your plate rack dry and you’re ready for paint!

Apply a couple thin coats of acrylic craft paint- finished!


I hope you make tiny plate racks!


  1. I’m 74 years old and you make me want to play with dolls again!!

  2. I love this little room and all the things you have made for Miss Thistle!

  3. Stephanie S.

    Thank you for sharing. So pretty and love the green color.

  4. MaryElizabeth Calais

    Love it all Ann :):):)
    I’ll be 80 in several months and still sewing toys for my youngest Grans. I bought the Miss Thistle pattern a few years back and finally able to start making the house and all the accoutrements for the house.
    Remember me? from Squam Lake…. making mushrooms and I brought you a New Orleans Praline treat 🙂
    My mushroom is hanging on an ole stick lamp on/off key.
    I LOVE everything you make Ann. Keep up the fun work. MaryElizabeth (Liz)

  5. what can I say? except: this is so cute it actually hurts.
    Miss Thistle is a lucky lady, living in this perfect little house.
    Thanks, Anne, for giving us more inspiration to LIVE BIG in the tiny.
    xo, lb

  6. Love, love, love this!! Thank you for all your work that you have so generously put into a video for showing others how to make this! That miniature clothespin is the cutest final touch! Makes me want to start creating miniatures, since they are so popular! And they absolutely make my heart sing! ~Ellen

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