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Adding Sparkle and Shine to Miniatures With Glitter

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100 grit German glass glitter and micro fine plastic glitter on miniature Easter eggs.

Gold and clear 100 grit German glass glitter and squares of micro fine plastic glitter on miniature Easter eggs.

Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Finding the Right Scale of Sparkle:

Glitter brings instant sparkle and light to tiny displays, but it is difficult to find "in scale". Most inexpensive craft glitters are cut from plastic films. The standard squares of glitter can resemble large pieces of cardboard when glued to a miniature. If you want to use glitter, the best effects for miniatures will come from finely ground mica powders like Jaquard Pearl Ex Pigments which are finely ground metallic mica's that can be used as paint or attached with glue as an ultra fine glitter. "Micro Fine" Glitter from stamp suppliers has very tiny squares suitable for 1:12 and 1:24 scale projects.

Glitters for Particular Period Effects:

Before the 1930's glitter effects were created either with crushed glass, "diamantine", or from fine flakes of mica. These antique glitters are still available. German Glass Glitter is generally made from colored glass backed with fine silver layers, but is also available clear. The silver backed types will tarnish over time, helping to create a period effect on miniature fabrics and accessories. German Glass glitters are sized by their crushed glass particles. #100 and #90 are suitable for dolls house miniature scales. They must be handled wearing gloves, as the glass shards can cut through skin. They are not suitable for use by children.

Tips for Using Glitters on Miniatures:

Choosing a Type of Glitter - For projects where you want a glittered effect in a thin, even coating, use modern micro glitters from a stamp supplier or fine cut polyester glitters (0.015mm - .2mm) - sometimes sold as cosmetic glitters, as they are safe for temporary tattoos and facepaints. Choose either transparent or opaque colors depending on your backdrop. If you want the shine of glitter but don't need to see the particle breaks, use a mica pigment or mica pigment paint. Glimmer effect spray paints are also available from stamp suppliers. "Glimmer Mist" is a water based glitter spray which adheres to fabric, paper, metals and acrylic. It contains both a mica pigment and ultra fine glitter particles. If you want the irregular, "chunky" effect of antique glass glitters, use fine grit glass glitter (#100 or #90) choosing metallic or clear glass types (metallic glass glitters are silver backed and will tarnish, adding to the antique effect). Glitters are also available in fine sprays which can be used on paper or painted wood.

Use the Correct Backing Color - A dark colored backing can create a different glittered effect than a clear backing. Glues which dry white will give a deeper effect to translucent and pearl glitters on dark backgrounds. Experiments with glues and inks or paints to get the effect you want.

Use Appropriate Tools and Glue - Glitter can be applied directly to most glues. You can use a fine glue tip to make very fine lines, or use a glue stamp pad with stamps for fine glue lines to glitter. Glitter also adheres well to double sided tapes and sticky films. Use washable fabric glues to apply glitter to fabric.

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