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This article is about an older version of DF.
If you give your jewellers 185 types of cut gem and let them go crazy, this can happen.

Decorations are fancy embellishments of your goods that, while unnecessary, greatly adds to their value for trade and other purposes by adding another material to the base item. Decorating with a material already present in the object, whether as its base or as an earlier decoration, is not possible. You can, however, place a large number of decorations on a single item–the only limit is the number of materials you have available. Most decorations have quality levels: a base value of 10☼, multiplied by its material multiplier and quality multiplier, separate from the item itself. When an item is decorated, it is shown with double angle brackets - for example, a (no quality) decorated +steel battle axe+ becomes a «+steel battle axe+». Decoration quality is shown outside the double angle-brackets, the item quality remains within them with the item. So if you have *«+steel battle axe+»*, you have a +steel battle axe+ with *decorations* on it. When an item has more than one decoration the quality level of the best one is shown.

There are a number of caveats to these embellishments. Weapon decorations do not affect combat multipliers, even if your maul "menaces with spikes of steel." Adding decorations to an item does not increase its weight; this may be a bug. Decorations on "grey" items (with brackets) that were gained in battle, stolen from or traded with a caravan, certify the product as "home-made" (brown), and make it count for your exports.

You cannot pick a specific object for a dwarf to decorate; their pathing will cause them to use the closest suitable object (yes, that will always be a barrel). With the addition of linked stockpiles, it is possible to set up a stockpile that will lend its contents to beautification; this sounds easy and nifty but isn't; it's a pain to set up and keep track of. In the past, locking all the desired content up, including the workshop and misbehaving dwarf, was the way to go. This still works.

The different civilizations have different tastes when it comes to decorations and consequently may offer (or ask for) more or less than the item value shown on the item information screen. Elves dislike spikes and will not adorn their own items with them, and will also refuse to offer anything for the decoration. On the other hand, they will estimate a decoration depicting a tree at twice its normal value, because elves like trees so much. These modifiers only affect the value of the decorations themselves, not of the base item. They also only affect values when trading with visiting Merchants, the fortress-internal value ratings are unaffected by such preferences. Most of the modifiers are regulated by entries in the entity_default Raw file.

Types of decoration[edit]

Bone, Hoof, Ivory or tooth, Pearl, Shell,
At a craftsdwarf's workshop, objects can be decorated with bone, hoof, ivory or tooth, pearl, and shell. Requires bone carving. You cannot choose what kind of object to decorate. Decorating with bone uses up a whole stack of bones. Bug:2011
At a jeweler's workshop, objects can be encrusted with cut gems (including cut glass or cut stones). You may specify whether to decorate furniture, finished goods or ammo. Requires gem setting.
Metal studs
At a metalsmith's forge, objects can be studded with various metals. Requires metalcrafting, but does not require fuel. The type of metal is chosen by the player, but the type of object is not.
At a clothier's shop, cloth images (plant fiber, silk and yarn) can be sewn onto cloth and leather items, notably including leather armor, bags, ropes and cloth and leather crafts. Requires clothesmaking.
At a leather works, leather images can be sewn onto cloth and leather items, with the same options and restrictions as the sewing of cloth images. Requires leatherworking.

Note on cloth and leather decorations: Only one image can be sewn onto an item. You cannot sew leather images onto items which already bear a cloth image and vice versa, and you cannot sew multiple images made of different leather or cloth types onto the same item.

Decoration Furniture Crafts Clothing Armor Weapons Ammo
Bone, Hoof, Ivory or tooth, Pearl, Shell Y Y Y Y Y Y
Gem Y Y Y N N Y
Metal studs Y Y Y Y Y Y
Cloth Y (bags) Y(1) Y Y (leather) N N
Leather Y (bags) Y(1) Y Y (leather) N N

(1) only finished goods made from cloth and leather are acceptable. These are ropes, quivers, waterskins, backpacks and cloth and leather crafts.


  • Decorating with bone, horn or hoof uses up the entire remaining stack instead of just one item.Bug:2011
  • Dwarves will decorate worn clothing and other abandoned junk that was left in the workshop, linked stockpiles, or in close proximity to the workshop.