About Island Cabana
If you could, would you take your family for a walk along a tropical island beach? We live on that island, on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, where we make tropical theme miniature crafts to bring you here, any cold, rainy day you like.
We know the heart-sink of stepping over a floor full of unloved toys. Kids do love to collect things. Why not channel them away from unimaginative, cold-hard plastic and encourage their instinct to gather natural objects and play with them? And it needn't be expensive. Our craft kits fire the imagination.
Then there’s the problem of too much screen time - yours too! It’s great for kids to have play dates, and couples to have date nights, but where are our family play nights?.
Our tiny playhouses and accessories blend today's fine IT graphics with analogue indoor and outdoor play and craft. They have educational benefits, like improving concentration, three dimensional thinking, fine motor control, manual dexterity and task co-operation. But mostly? They’re just fun. We follow sustainable principles and let nature tell the story. We forage, beachcomb, sew and craft small items in wood and mosaics. And we love to show you the tropical plants and wildlife inspiring our crafts. We've created a miniature world to warm winters around the world. Just add imagination! See a sample!
Who are we?
I’m Clare Hayler, and I live with my uber-talented husband, Maurice on tiny tropical Magnetic Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. It’s full of creative people. We love living and working together in paradise, injecting joy into Island Cabana.
Our island creations
We live in the dry tropics, so there is a dry “winter” when nature can be harvested and preserved. (Unlike the wet tropics where it rains all year round). We began to build our theme of crafting unique tropical miniature playhouse/ dollhouses and accessories three years ago. And we use natural materials - seashells, driftwood, seedpods and so on - in creating our products.
It’s not all about beach combing and bushwalks and sewing and woodworking. A lot of time is spent designing and producing the original graphics that underpin our work. Our first craft series was our Dollhouse-in-a-Shoebox Series, where great graphics transform your throw-away box into a treasured island playhouse. Then we developed our flat-pack tent series, made from cotton and wood.
And, we craft in the international children’s scale (1:16-18), so the completed craft is compatible with all the stuff kids already have: superheroes, Sylvanian Families, Le Toy Van, Lundby, etc. You can craft and play the same day.
There’s a wonderful lack of formality in the tropics- including a lack of walls! But a playhouse needs some sense of enclosure, so we craft our tents with a flexible footprint. You can set one up as a compact single-room tabletop in your apartment. Or open it right up to add additional rooms for expansive outdoor play. All possible with exactly the same tent.
I love to create exquisite miniature accessories from the island, and you’ll always find something new and exciting in our shop on Etsy. But I also want you to think from the ground up - literally.
Wherever you live in the world, you’ll find something quirky to furnish your playhouse with and make it your own. Think washed beach glass jewels or the nuts and twigs that can build a fairy house. Squashed and rusted bottle tops (Sterilized,of course,) decorate our safari tents as barrels, totems, on mirrors and pirate-inspired décor.
Be inspired by the lifestyle photos we create for you in our listings. Bring your children outside to fossick, collect, recycle bits and pieces. Enjoy!
You don’t have to wait until your next annual holiday to play in the tropics with your kids. Visit Island Cabana!
Find us online or in person at the Magnetic Island Community Markets.