TinyPinc Miniatures: Crafting ‘kawaii’ miniature desserts as accessories

Sweet treats are made of these. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
Sweet treats are made of these. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — In the world of desserts, life is always sweeter. That is why Ling Hooi Yin who is a miniature artist loves to craft incredibly realistic desserts like cupcakes, macarons, ice cream and even the iconic ang ku kueh.

These scaled-down and incredibly kawaii (Japanese for cute) foods make perfect mementos that you can wear all the time. Food is always fashionable so pick up pineapple tarts ear studs, an ondeh-ondeh bracelet or red bean ais potong as a pendant from Ling’s homegrown venture, TinyPinc Miniatures.

Ling Hooi Yin enjoys making miniature art of desserts and sweets (left). The ang ku kueh series is a bestseller among Tiny Pinc’s customers (right).
Ling Hooi Yin enjoys making miniature art of desserts and sweets (left). The ang ku kueh series is a bestseller among Tiny Pinc’s customers (right).

The 24-year-old multimedia designer started making miniature food after she watched YouTube videos on how to make cute stuff with polymer clay.

Have some desserts...or, rather, miniature art.
Have some desserts...or, rather, miniature art.

“It can be turned into different things and I started to gain interest in miniature food because they are cute. With miniature food you can capture the details.” Learning through trial and error, she painstakingly puts minute details into the thumb-shaped eats. They look so convincingly real you can’t help but wonder how she does it!

Now you can have your favourite cake in the form of jewellery.
Now you can have your favourite cake in the form of jewellery.

This hobby of hers started when she was in college, back in 2010. Coming from an art background, she has been tinkering with arts and crafts from a tender age. Sewing, gardening, beading and origami were some of the artsy stuff she dabbled in since young. She credits her grandmother for inspiring her crafting skills. Since food is one of her interests, she decided to craft them.

When she first started to experiment with polymer clay, it was hard to get in Malaysia. “It took me a lot of effort to find it and I had to look for where to buy the clay. Nowadays, art shops in Malaysia sell them.”

Wear your favourite snacks on your ears or around your neck (left). The ang ku kueh bracelet is super adorable! (right).
Wear your favourite snacks on your ears or around your neck (left). The ang ku kueh bracelet is super adorable! (right).

Her first miniature dessert was a cupcake. The process of making the miniature cupcake from polymer clay consists of shaping the clay, cutting it into a round shape, stacking it by colour, shading, and texturing. For the icing, you just need to add more colours. After that, pop it into an oven for half an hour at 100 degrees Celcius then gloss it. It’s really like baking a real cake!

Her brand TinyPinc Miniatures is available at a pop-up in Publika called Hello Lokal, along the Art Row. “I chose the name TinyPinc because tiny means small and pinc is a play on the word pink. It is not my favourite colour but it is a cute colour,” said Ling.

Using polymer clay to make miniature food is very similar to baking (left). The process of making miniature art is not easy but fun to do (right).
Using polymer clay to make miniature food is very similar to baking (left). The process of making miniature art is not easy but fun to do (right).

In 2015, she decided to pursue her hobby on a full-time basis, taking in orders. Most of her miniature works are desserts and sweet stuff. She also does figurines of popular cartoon characters as well as custom work. Custom designs are usually requested by her international customers. She has her own website, Etsy store and social media to promote her adorable creations.

Now, she is concentrating on creating more Malaysian food as part of her miniature polymer clay collection so you will find putu piring or kaya butter toast as ear studs or even a plate of char kway teow.

Would you like a macaron or biscuit ring?
Would you like a macaron or biscuit ring?

She also conducts workshops, teaching people how to make their own miniature food. “I started organising workshops since 2011, 2012 as a favour for a friend. At first I didn’t like teaching because I didn’t have enough experience yet but now I’m okay with it,” said Ling.

She has workshops at Hello Lokal twice or three times a month. Her most popular creation is the ang ku kueh which looks exactly like the real thing! It sells very well online too.

Have a tea party with these cute miniature food (left). If you are a fan of cakes, you would love this (right).
Have a tea party with these cute miniature food (left). If you are a fan of cakes, you would love this (right).

Pricing for TinyPinc Miniatures range from RM20 to RM120. International customers pay US$15 (RM60) to US$50 (RM196). Her workshops are usually an hour-long or three-hours-long and the fees range from RM40 to RM150.

Find out more about TinyPinc Miniatures at www.tinypincshop.com and www.tinypinc.etsy.com.

You can also follow her on www.facebook.com/tinypinc and www.instagram.com/hooiyin

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