Christchurch carpenter turning everyday items into miniature replicas

A carpenter has turned his hobby making miniature replicas of everyday items into a business in his adopted city of Christchurch.

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Mike Beer’s hobby has turned into a business as he builds small-scale replicas. Source: Seven Sharp

Mike Beer is a "scratch builder" - a term used for "taking a bunch of materials and then using them to create something that pre-exists".

His collection includes miniatures of a pack of Marlboro cigarettes, a rubbish bin, a power pole, and the tiniest 'longest drink in town'.

Beer's miniatures are reaching further than just Instagram, however.

"He can really kind of create the textures and the smallest details like stickers or locks or rust," Fiksate Gallery director Jen Ingram said.

"We sold rubbish and rubbish bins and a toilet that was completely disgusting, but it's the magic."

Beer initially started out making miniatures of VHS tapes for the American market, but now the Birmingham native wants to make art for his adopted city.

"I just felt like, 'Hey, even though we've been through some hardships'. What's spawned from that is - it's incredible, really," he said.

He's since begun creating signs belonging to pre-quake businesses - and the public response was immediate.

"You can relate to those things because we all have our own memories. Got some funny stories, some of them are quite sad stories."

Beer is now working with writer Reuben Wood on a book on the buildings lost over many decades.