Top Tips – The Story of the 100 Miniatures

ArtSurprise vending machine

Art Vending Machine

It seemed a daunting task when I undertook to paint 100 miniatures for a project. However, it is done and it was fun. I stumbled across this project on the internet one day. It said that the miniatures will be distributed to converted cigarette vending machines (see photo) around Europe to be sold at a nominal sum to art lovers and collectors

Buyers will not know what they are getting until they open the box. So the project organizer Juan Petry suitably called it the ArtSurprise box.

In order to participate in the project I had to buy 100 empty boxes the size of cigarette packets at 1€ each. In return I have a chance of receiving 3€ per box that is sold in the machines over a period of one year.

MDF miniature to paint on

Blank MDF Panel

Each work of art had to be an original. Therefore I decided to paint 100 seascapes as this is one of my favourite subjects. Now the question was what to paint on? It had to fit into cigarette packet size boxes. At first I made an attempt at producing something myself but found it to be very time-consuming. As there were weight restrictions as well I decided to buy ready-made wooden panels (see photo) from the organizers which worked out at just 12€ for 100 of them. 

MDF painted white

White Undercoat

Now came the task of painting. The small MDF panels soaked up my acrylic paints quite nicely so an undercoat seemed a good idea (see photo). In order to speed up the process I painted four panels at the same time.



Painted Sky

Painted Sky

Next I painted four sky areas. In most cases the first panel was dry by the time I had finished with the last one. The actual scenery was painted from memory, or after photographs, or ideas I developed from pictures I had seen on the internet.



leaflet for ArtSurprise box

Leaflet Insert

In addition to the original I would be able to put a small leaflet into the box with information about my work and my web address (see photo). I discovered that 50 A4 size sheets printed on both sides and cut in half would give me 100 pages which were just the right size when folded.

It gave me the opportunity to refer to my main line of work.


cigarette packed size box

ArtSurprise Box Unfolded

empty ArtSurprise box

Empty Box

The cardboard boxes I purchased arrived nicely seamed and ready to be folded into shape (see photos).



MDF panel with web address

Back of MDF Panel

On the back of each MDF panel I printed my web address (see photo). On average it took me 20 to 30 minutes to complete a miniature. Taking into consideration that it would also take time to fold the boxes to put the MDF panels in, your possible financial returns may not look so terribly attractive. At two boxes completed per hour your maximum earnings would be 6€ minus 2€ for the panels (see photo).

ArtSurprise box

Finished Box

On the other hand I think of the fun it was to paint those miniatures and the fun the recipients will have when they open the boxes. If I decide to paint another series I already have a number of subjects lined up like 100 trees, or 100 raindrops, or 100 pebbles etc.

If nothing else it will add up to 100 people getting to know me who did not know me before. Perhaps one of them will even go to my website and get in touch with me to enquire about a standard size original.

About Pat Harrison

Painting and drawing have been my passion from early childhood. I have attended numerous exhibitions in England and Germany. Presented with several awards for my paintings I now have one of my works on permanent display at a museum in Greater London with growing sales and commissions.
This entry was posted in All Painting Media, art, Marketing, painting, selling art, tip, tuition and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Top Tips – The Story of the 100 Miniatures

  1. Hi Pat, This sounds like a lot of fun.I bet you did enjoy it.I wish you a lot of success.


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