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Decorate Dollhouse Items With Nail Tattoos, Decals and Rub Ons

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Designs from a floral fingernail tattoo booklet by Dover shown with a quarter coin for scale

Fingernail tattoos or decals from a Dover Publishing Booklet featuring floral tattoos, shown with a dollhouse plate and a quarter coin for scale.

Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

If you have a plain set of dollhouse kitchenware, printable miniature kitchenware, or other items that you want to turn into a set, one easy way to match the pieces is to give them the same set of decorative embellishments using inexpensive fingernail 'tattoos', rub ons, nail decals or stickers. There are several different sources of these types of small design sets, the one shown in the photo on this page is part of the floral collection from Dover Publications Compare Prices, who also have Pictorial Archive Books used by many miniaturists. The fingernail tattoos from Dover, sold in toystores and bookshops, are simple water slide decals that come in a booklet with ten different designs based on a theme , flowers, princess, general or Christmas, featuring 8 small designs and two slightly larger versions of the same image. Economically priced at around $2 to $5, these booklets, designed for children, offer a lot of opportunities for decorating plates, furniture, cupboards, lampshades and other small dollhouse miniatures.

Fingernail tattoos, stickers, decals and rub ons are also available from dollar stores or beauty shops, the range of nail tattoos often works well as small scale decals, especially for kitchen miniatures in dolls house scales of 1:12 or 1:6. Almost all the ranges of available decals and rub ons have two sizes of similar designs in simple color combinations which can easily be transferred to a range of materials.

The range of designs is wide across the various nail art suppliers, with everything from woven patterns to seasonal icons. These work well for many miniature applications on smooth materials. As the decals and rub ons are designed to be coated with nail varnish, they can be coated with an acrylic finish (acrylic floor polish) or nail varnish to make a durable surface on a miniature.

If you prefer to make your own designs, printable ink jet decal sheets will also work, as will nail art decal sheets.

All designs should be coated with a water resistant coating or clear nail polish to protect the design once it is applied. Designs can be used in some surprising ways, miniature floral designs used on dollhouse dishes can also be applied to miniature tiles and tile sheets to make matching kitchen backsplashes or tea trays. Experiment and see how easy it is to change the look of basic materials using these decals and thin stickers.

Nail art canes of polymer clay can be applied to many miniatures in a similar fashion.

Note: The dollhouse plate shown in the photo was made using instructions from this tutorial for Making Dollhouse Dessert Plates From Polymer Clay

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