All metallic powders --summary
.......powder types ...keeping out of air/lungs
.......application & tools... removing ... misc. info ...books/videos
...misc.websites (samples of various tech's)
...techiques summary (applications, few uses)
Mica powders (Pearl Ex, etc.) in particular
...gen info re mica powders
...techniques for ( all ) metallic powders
......dimensional items (stamped,textured,molded,or sculpted)
.........coverage possibilites
.........using stamps & textures in other ways
...more powder uses
.........faux metal ...inclusions ...layers+mokume gane paint
.............clear mediums to mix powders into (for use as paint, finishes,etc..)
.........masking ...stencils ...edging
...brands of mica powder + suppliers
...interference powders (+cakes,paints)
Real metal powders (also see mica tech's above)
(Microfine glitters + Glass glitters)
Chalk powders (pastels,eye-shadow/blush,sidewalk)..not metallic
Embossing powders
.....heating...adhesives...solid, patches & antiquing
.....resists/masking... as inclusions ...sealing
.... UTEE especially (a clear emb.powder)
Plastic powders (heat-set)

Metallic WAXES (Gilder's ArtPaste, Rub'N Buff, etc.)
Metallic inkpad ink & paints

POWDERS (metal, mica, chalks), METALLIC WAXES
(see also the Stamping page)

All Metallic Powders --summary & misc.

TYPES of colored powders
...real-metal metallics (Houston Arts & maybe still Eberhard Faber "pulvers" and others)
..... these look sharply metallic (not pearly)... look great, but are more expensive than mica-types... these must be used with some caution; don’t let powder fly around in the air to breathe–it’s made of tiny spirals of metal, and will stay in your lungs)
...mica metallics (non-metal) Pearl Ex (& Powdered Pearls & other brands) –these are more pearlized in appearance, made from mica particles
...eyeshadows & blusher . . . artists pastels (chalk pastels, not oil pastels unless with liquid clay) . . .decorating chalks.... kids’ chalks ... graphite powder
...embossing powders (some interesting uses, though will run when heated if not contained)

(mica powders are also used to make pearlescent acrylic paints and inks (see Letters-Inks > Pearlescent and Paints > Metallic for more on those)
....there are also
bottles of liquid re-inker for Pearl Ex Inkpads that may function like pearlescent acrylic inks

...Because the final color of metallic powders can look different depending on the color of clay underneath them, I made little samples of each powder on several colors of clay... for example, on black, white and gold clays
.... then I numbered the back so I knew what color they were. Cathy

There are two issues here
....cleanliness (just keeping the powders from going everywhere... esp. so they won't later be picked up by the clay!)
....healthwise (keeping powders out of the air so they're not breathed in quantity).
metallic powders which are made from mica (Pearl Ex, Powdered Pearls, etc.) are not harmful to the lungs
...but metallic powders made with real metal are somewhat harmful (by Mona Lisa + "pulvers" by Eberhard-Faber/Fimo,etc)
........real metal powders are actually tiny little corkscrews of metal which get stuck in the lungs, whereas mica is not metal and is no worse than any other type "powder" (real-metal powders have been used a long time though for gilding frames, paint, etc.) generally, a dust mask is recommended when using real-metal powders (or just using those powders carefully when doing small projects to keep them out of the air**), but a dust mask is not recommend for mica-based powders.
..........however, for anyone who has a special lung problems (CF, COPD, highly reactive asthma, etc.), or if it just bothers them, or when doing production work, then using a dust mask with any powder might be a good idea though
....btw, it's true that an accumulation of any tiny substances by the lungs over many years are not great for lung health, but think of all the other powders (including things the wind stirs up that may stay forever too) that you'll get in the normal course of things ( a side note, talc isn't all that great either and we used it with abandon before it got mostly phased out and replaced by cornstarch)

It's not too hard to do this, especially with small projects. Some suggestions:
....go slow and use smaller motions when loading powder onto a brush or other tool, and when applying it to the clay... the faster one moves, the more powder will be thrown up and around
.......go slow especially if if using a big fluffy brush (usually for complete coverage)
....always tamp off excess powder (from any tool)
....pouring out just a little into the cap, or onto a piece of paper, etc., reduces the total amount of powder that will be disturbed
....scoop out rather than pouring out... for example, the plastic caps on Bic Stic Pens have a built-in "clip" that I use a scoop or ladle (it's slightly concave on the underside) to put the powder just where I want it. ...stir up the clay a little bit in the container with a toothpick first to make sure it's loose and there are no clumps (.. you'll still have a very small amount of stray powder, but not much.
....if poured or scooped out onto a sheet of paper, the paper can be slowly folded into a packet for the trip to the trash can
........(also, crease paper before pouring powder onto it so you'll have a funnel for pouring any leftover powder neatly back into the jar )
....some people apply metallic powders by pouring powder into a plastic bag, and working with the piece inside the bag. Randi
.....when rubberstampers don't want stray (embossing) powder going everywhere, they use a fabric softener sheet to wipe down the area they are embossing BEFORE they use the "ink" and powder. (anit-static?) NOT use a DustBuster to clean up very fine powders. I can't say for sure that it was the cause of my bout of bronchitis, but it sure slips through the typical filter & evenly distributes it thru the air...
........for clean-up, you could put a piece of cloth between two sections of hose on a vacuum cleaner to catch the clay (or powders?) ... then flood the room with light for about 30 min, then kill the lights and vacuum up the glow up (do not turn off the vacuum till you point the wand to the ceiling).... lastly seperate the sections with the cloth filter over a large bowl
(see below for using various tools, some of which help keep powders out of the air)

....for applying (especially for "highlighting") press a finger (I use the longest one) into a bit of powder, then tamp it so no clumps are left on finger... then rub the powdered finger over the very top of the textured raw clay ( I go in circles, but any way that works is okay).... Rub lightly at first to let your finger feel how much pressure is needed to cover the top parts while not getting powder into the bottom parts (but rub in fairly well so it will stick and you won't need to use a sealer later). It may be necessary to reload the finger, depending on how much powder was loaded the first time and how much area there is to cover.
.......Linelle feels that Kato clay holds onto mica powders better than Premo
...something made of foam (cosmetic foam wedge, eye shadow foam brush, etc.
...rubber-"brushes" (aka Clay Shapers) or tapered erasers, etc.
...paintbrush (fluffy one for complete coverage, stiffer for applying to small areas precisely... may dampen also, or even use powder in puddle of water; water will dry later)
...tiny disposable glue applicator brushes... foam or bristle or fibers
...cotton swabs (IMO don't work as well because the fibers stick out and allow little bits of powder to come off where not wanted)
...a pounce bag also works for spreading pearlex powder on items. (take a square of cotton fabric, put a pile of powder in the center, pick up the edges to form a little bag with a ball of powder in the center, use a rubber band or ribbon to tie it closed. Then you can powder large areas very nicely, but can result in a lot of airborne powder, especially if not applied firmly and close to the surface…Sarajane (see more in Molds > Releases)
...shaker ....when I get a new bottle of pearl-ex, I do not remove the styrofoam sealer. Instead, I take a toothpick & poke holes in the sealer, effectively turning it into a pearl-ex shaker keep powders under control, they can also be used with clear liquid mediums... sprinkled onto them, mixed into them and used as "paint", possibly even using in a batiking pen (....see much more about those and about application and tools below in More Powder Uses > As " Paint")

...To use before baking on raw clay ......try to work them into the surface of the clay to some extent, with your finger or a paintbrush, etc.; then you won't have to seal unless they will be rubbed a lot by clothing, etc.Using after baking is a little harder . . .
.....mix into sealer such as Future or Varathane.... liquid clays ....watercolor paints .... or thinned glues... acrylic mediums
..........Future may dull the shine a bit, so brush on a bit more powder after Future dries.
.....rub the baked clay with a drop of Diluent-Softener until the clay is tacky... rub Pearlex onto the tacky surface as if the clay were un-baked
. Katherine Dewey
...PearlEx can be applied to cured clay in a couple of different ways.
.....barely dampen the surface with liquid Clay Softener (used to be called Sculpey Diluent) and let the clay sit until it looks dry and then rub the powders on with your fingers or with a brush or eyeshadow applicator. Cure for 10-15 minutes at 275o
........(this will come the closest to the look created by rubbing PearlEx onto raw clay)
....mix a few drops of Diluent with a little PearlEx, paint it onto the beads and cure them
....mix a few drops of Varathane (or other clear glaze) with a little bit of PearlEx, paint it onto the beads and let them dry.
(the second and third methods can be very interesting though, and more precise if you want to paint clearly delineated designs, etc.) Elizabeth

REMOVING powders
.....I generally have alcohol or baby wipes handy to wipe off goofs with pearlex, or if I decide I really want two colors. NF
....a tiny bit of Diluent can be used to "erase" if powders or waxes get where you don’t want it . . .(or probably any oil, or liquid clay)
..Bon Ami cleanser... I wet my finger and dipped it into a little pile of the cleanser, and rubbed gently. It was only a matter of seconds that I noticed that the pearlex had been removed from all of the upper surfaces that I had rubbed.... then I dipped an old wet toothbrush in the Bon Ami and went about scrubbing it out of the crevices; that went very quickly too. Elissa

MISC info:

NOTE... once a powder is applied to an area, no other powder will stick on top of it (it acts like a mask)

baking.... since metallic powders do seem to be unburnable (chalk powders are pretty impervious to heat too), it might be a good idea to brush any white clay pieces which might darken during baking with a white metallic powder before curing, then softly brush off excess (you could brush it off after baking if you are not using a convection oven). faun
... I put the Pearl-colored Peal Ex powder on my Santa beards with a brush and baked, then I'll glaze with a satin (non-shiny) finish ....they came out nice and white, and I baked at 275 for an hour. deb jean

I find that SuperSculpey does not take powders quite as well, and can look a little cakey (after awhile), so do tests first…Cheryl

For a way to make a holder for small cutters, see Cutters-Blades--Small & Medium Cutters

MORE INFO on ways to use powders
great page from Powdered Pearls on the many ways to use mica powders (with clay or not)
Jacquard's many lessons using Pearl Ex

ways to use Pearl Ex and tips (from USArtQuest website)
tips sheet from Lemon Tree (many ways to use powders with a medium--gum arabic, etc.)
+ videos:
Mike Buesseler’s video on his metallic techniques: "Metallic" Clays
Tory Hughes has a video on the basics of using metallics : Metallic Surface Techniques

Misc. Websites showing a variety of metallic tech's

Dotty McMillan’s metallic and interference colored powders on black clay pieces ...all parts covered, but often with diff. colors

Claudine's many things with powders... often various colored powders, complete coverage, but often with diff. colors
Jessica A's collaged onlay (with many examples of complete powder covering (often stamped-textured) (in frame for wall)
(click on each "Detail" for closeups)
Tonja's bookmarks... mostly complete, but also colors
Lisa's assemblage pins, mostly metallic powders on various components

Dotty McMillan'suses of powders with textures, stamping, etc. on the "clothing" of her kaleidoscope women

Irene D's powders on textured individual tiles, which are set among non-powdered tiles, for interest (look in Clocks, Wall Pieces, Frames)

Antoinetta’s powdered pendants (2 African)
Flo’s small metallic-effects frames (with transfers) website gone)
purplepapillon (Rachel A's) "crazyquilt" of various simple impressions and powder colors
(not accessible)
Simply Annie's many stamped and powdered items (hobbystage not accessible)
Jenny's textured, powdered cutouts (website gone)
Cheryl's multi-powdered stamped items (some powders painted on with brush?) (website gone)
Cheryl's everything else (website gone)
Dianne C’s abstract, layered, textured powders (gone)
kellie's frame with powder highlighting many patterns (gone)
Matilda's dragonfly body completely covered with Pearl Ex powders (see more on wings in Mixing Media) (website gone)
*LadysMaidJewels' Medieval, Renaissance, etc., reproduction pendants, earrings, etc., made with gold powder and unfaceted jewels . . . . make a clay base (which has texturing, balls, ropes, etc.); cover completely with gold powder; impress whichever jewels you want to use in the base and remove before baking (unless jewels are glass); bake; seal; glue jewels back in (gone) ...ADD my hot glue, leaf, and gems variation

Techniques summary
for mica or real-metal powders:

application & coverage (...summary)

complete coverage
highlighting (upper areas of texture or 3-D surfaces only)
crevices (lower areas of texture or 3-D suraces only) ...
this effect is called "antiquing" if using brown acrylic paint instead of powder)
highlighting + crevices (one powder used for crevices then a second powder used for upper areas, or sanding-back techniques, or stamping with one powder then highlighting with another, etc.)

stamping with powder
stamping textured after powdering

random application or patterns

......OR combine those techniques in various ways

Powders can also be added after baking after being mixed into any liquid medium or finish, as a paint or for highlighting, etc.
--can also mix with liquid clays to make dimensional effects on beads or other surfaces (clay or not?)... like lampwork or other
--mix into liquid clays (opaque or translucent), then apply to contrasting colored clay, etc., and manipulate for a surface technique resembling wood grain or other patterns
--mix with clear encaustic wax, then paint the mixture onto the clay with a hot stylus -- it seems to work very well, but naturally has to be sealed afterward. Alan V.

few other uses (...summary)

--use as onlays
...... cut shapes from sheets of powdered clay, then use as onlays onto other clay, or powder after cutting
--mix into translucent clay or add between the layers, for mokume gane
--use as a metallic-colored mold release (complete coverage, transfers from mold to molded clay)

MICA powders
(Pearl-Ex & others)

NOTE: .many of the techniques in this sub-category also apply to real-metal or other kinds of powders

General Info

"Mica powders" are made from mica particles instead of from real metal particles, so they are more pearly in appearance than sharply metallic like the real metal powders
.....some brands have an added binder which is adhesive but water-soluble

Mica powders can be plain mica (colorless), or "colored" mica
...colored micas could be ordinary colors, or metallic colors, or iridescent colors--which are caused by interference (... the Pearl Ex colors referred to as "interference colors" are iridescent colors which are formulated to show only 2 colors when viewed from different angles--rather than a rainbow of colors)

Most mica powders are fine powders, but some are coarser powders, and some are mixtures of flakes and powders, etc.
(see details below)
(for info on mica tiles & mica flakes, see Mica)

These are most often applied *before* baking to either the entire surface with a soft brush, or to the upper surface only (with a finger or something similar = "highlighting") if using textured or stamped clay.
....see many more techniques above in Techniques Summary

These powder colors can be mixed together to create new powder colors. . .
......I love metallic gold, and red together....sort of a sunset color.
......I've used the verdigris embossing powder, and the Pearl-X yellow-green, but wouldn't have thought to mix them together. Dotty
...Pearl Ex can also be mixed with embossing powders-- using a small lidded jar, simply mix Pearl Ex into a fine embossing powder.... Shake well before each application. .....When possible, heat embossing powders from the bottom.
(see for details)

To improve the intensity of the powder colours, some technical specifications of powdered pearl colours suggested the addition of minute amounts of black pigment powder to any mica based coloured powder (the proportion should be only 100 to 1 but the results are obvious).
...I've tried it using the black Pearlex and 'Ivory Black' artist's pigment powder, and the results were similar. Alan V.

It seems like cheating to use metallic powders on top of metallic clays, but they're SO pretty..... I'm using the antique colors, and bronze, aztec gold, and copper. They really SHINE.

Using Silver PearlEx alone (on raw clay, or baked clay rubbed with Diluent till tacky), tends to be a bit dull, but adding a touch of the Brilliant Gold to the Silver really brings out a silvery sheen.. I used this on my knight's armor and it gave me the shine I wanted...made it gleam like sterling. . Katherine Dewey

My favorite Pearl Ex powders are Super Bronze which I use as a bright gold, Super Copper, and the Red/Blue Duo (interference color) which, on black clay, is a lucious deep metallic blue.

....I love the Blue Smoke on copper clay. Trina

NOTE: once a powder is applied to a raw area of clay, no other powder will stick on top of it since it acts as a resist (and of course, no raw clay will stick there either) ...could be intentionally used as a resist in some way?

Techniques for powders
NOTE: .many of the techniques in this sub-category also apply to real-metal or other kinds of powders

Dimensional items

Dimensional clay items which have been textured or stamped or molded or sculpted can have powders applied to them in various ways, for different effects.

COVERAGE possibilities:

complete coverage
Totally cover your clay with powder using a soft brush... keep stroking until the powder is even and firmly applied... blow or bush off any excess
.....can cover flat sheets of clay, or dimensional ones (textured or stamped raw clay, or 3-D sculpted or molded clay pieces)
Helaine's complete coverage of impressed clay bookmarks
...Linelle's thick square beads, completely covered with Perfect Pearls (each with hole in center)

..purplepapillon's complete coverage of diff. color powders on individually textured sections of pins
...PolymerClayExpress' lesson on completely covering with various colors of mica powders (her "scrap" just happens to be striped) ...dragon figure
...Kris Richard's lesson on covering a papier mache mask
.......she prepares the mask with a coat of white glue... textures long strips of clay and applies to mask (rolling down onto surface to avoid air bubbles)... brushes on various colors of Pearl Ex (or metallic-pearly paints) for complete coverage
...stacked layers (flat, stamped, and/or molded) for pendants from my class, mostly complete coverage?
(website gone) ..add again

highlighting and/or backgrounds
...if powders are applied to the upper surfaces of texured or molded clay items, they wil just bring out the dimensionality
...if powders are applied to the upper surfaces of single-stamped clay items or any other stampings which leave a lot of the clay flat, they will appear as the "background" color on those flat areas (the image will be recessed and remain the color of clay used) ... more on stamping-texturing below
.....basic technique: dip your fingertip or a foam brush into powder & blot excess powder off (don't want clumps)
........then stroke across or in circles over the top parts of the texture only... begin stroking very lightly till your finger "learns" how hard to press, but do work it in well
(powder in the wrong place can be removed somewhat with a q-tip and alcohol)
Sarajane's examples of highlighted (+ some completely covered) textured clay (buttons & barrettes) .....
Kathy W's examples of textured black clay highlighted with various colors of metallic powder

my highlighted Balinese filigree covered bottle (red clay with gold powder, and purple coils with gold)

To get a kind of ghost-like effect, you can also try stamping raw clay, then powdering the raised areas with an interference powder ....then cover piece with parchment, and flatten the image down

crevices only (this effect is called "antiquing" if using brown acrylic paint instead of powder)
Completely cover with powder, then sand the powder off the upper areas after baking (steel wool), and buff
......or remove before baking by wiping off the excess powder on the raw clay with alcohol or Diluent?
......or a small brush can be used to apply the powder only in the crevices
.you can also tint liquid clay (or another clear finish?) with powders, and use that as a sort of antiquing... dabbing it all over a piece, into the recesses, and then wiping off the excess and baking it. Dotty

complete coverage, sanded back (metallic crevices)
....nenuphar's Egyptian images, rubberstamped into black clay, then completely powdered with copper, baked and powder sanded from upper areas (or maybe removed before baking)....or....painted after baking with copper powder in liquid clay (or Future, etc.?), baked again then sanded . .. (this sheet then placed on background clay which was textured and mostly covered with copper powder)?? (gone)

upper+ lower
...2 powder color powder can be used for the crevices, then a second color powder used for the upper areas
...powder color completely covering... then antiqued
....Jody B "antiqued" her gold Pearl-Ex-covered surface with burnt umber acrylic paint, then glazed
to get multi-colors in the crevices another way, texture a Skinner blend sheet, then highlight with metallic powder
...Jan's intaglio made by stamping over multi-colored clay then highlighting the upper surfaces with Pearl Ex (which is translucent) (gone)
(...various combinations of techniques can work for getting upper and lower color, including backfilling with clay)

random application or patterns
....sprinkle one or more powders on a sheet of paper, waxed paper, or velvet... leave as is, or shake or tilt the paper around, or draw tools through the powders, until you have colors/patterns you like ... then press or roll clay on powders
can further manipulate the powders on the raw clay with brushes, credit card edge, etc.
......remove excess powder after baking, or blow or brush off after baking
........or other papers or surfaces can give different effects? (wrinkled ones like aluminum foil, corrugated ones, depressions created in foam trays, etc.?)
....or use any powders left on your work surface after using powders for something else
....or just apply powder(s) with brush, finger, pounce ball, or whatever to different areas
...Barbara McGuire's lesson on applying powders sporadically on the surface with q-tips before texturing sheets of clay
......then cutting them into shapes with a template, baking on the curved side of an upturned glass bowl, then using wire to make a connector and decorative dangling spiral... necklace or two freehanging (diff.sized) leaves for earrings,1789,HGTV_3352_1399580,00.html

...If covering beads, try using a piece of velvet (4x 12")..... pour a small amount of different colored powders at intervals along the velvet leaving space between the colors so they won't mix..... Gently roll the beads in the desired color area. The velvet pile holds the excess and released a small amount to the bead.... When finished fold the long edged over the powder spot and roll up for later use. Masking tape on the edges of the velvet stop the fraying problem.
....sprinkle one or more powders on a sheet of paper, waxed paper... leave as is, or shake or tilt the paper around, or draw tools through the powders, until you have colors/patterns you like... then press or roll clay on powders ...can further manipulate the powders on the raw clay with brushes, credit card edge, or roll in palms if on a bead, etc. .. remove excess powder after baking, or blow or brush off after baking
........or other papers or surfaces can give different effects? (wrinkled ones like aluminum foil, corrugated ones, depressions created in foam trays, etc.?)

....or just apply powder(s) with brush, finger, pounce ball, q-tips or whatever to different areas

--OR combine those techniques in various ways

removing powders
...whether applying the powders to raw or cured clay, the easiest way to remove those powders from places you do not want them to be is by using a piece of tape... gently press the sticky side of a piece of Scotch tape, e.g., to lift the powders from the surface of the clay. Eugena777

using STAMPS & TEXTURES in other ways

stamped with powder --like using inkpad (metallic crevices)
...pour a tiny bit of metallic powder out onto a pre-folded piece of paper selected tool (or stamp) into a piece of scrap clay to pick up a bit of oil, then press into the powder
......shake off the excess, then press into the clay.... repeat, if you want
.....sometimes works okay, sometimes blurry (can sand off excess after baking tho)
..... tip: be sure your powder can later be removed from the tool you use, before doing this
...lesson ...Mike B's stamped metallic image
......brush metallic powder on one side of anything you want to use as a stamp (leaf --fake or real, or on a thicker item like a piece of cedar branch (or on a stamp)
......tamp off excess powder into a sheet of textured, blended, marbled, or plain clay
......remove .....bake (& seal if desired)
......(can also sand the baked top to get cleaner lines, if you want... buff)
..Claudine's 3 sections of an impressed pattern (stamping with gold powder on Skinner Blend)
..... which was also cut apart and rejoined, slightly unaligned, on a vertical strip of clay (faux hinged)... plus interesting tops
... a rough rock when dipped in pearl-ex powder then pressed into the clay, creates a wonderful texture

stamped or textured after powdering
...powder a clay surface, then stamp or texture into it
...if the powder is a contrasting color to the clay beneath it though, some clay might show through the powder (using similar colors can help prevent that)
.......(also see Leaf > Stamped Impressions, for using metallic leaf for making impressed metallic images --some leaf will be sanded off after baking, leaving leaf in impressed area only).

stamped or textured before powdering:
...apply powder as complete coverage, or highlight, or put powder only in crevices, etc., as above
...Leigh’s lesson on real leaf used as stamp to impress clay sheet... impressiong cut around (slightly larger)... leaf removed.. then completely covered with various colored powders

(....if powders are applied only to the upper surfaces of texured or molded clay items, they will just bring out the dimensionality of them, where if powders are applied to the upper surfaces of single-stamped clay items, they will appear as the "background" color on those flat areas --the image will be recessed and remain the color of clay used)

More Uses for powders

faux metal way to create faux metals (gold, silver, copper, pewter, etc.) is to completely cover the "metal" item with a metallic powder of the appropriate color
...or the items can be textured first and the metalilc powder put only on the high regions or the low regions to simulate old metal objects
...powders or other materials can also be used to indicate verdigris on copper or other patinas

...Parrish's jewelry, crowns, accessories (Renaissance style) with jewels & faux metal

(see Faux-Many > Metals for much more on faux metals... and for more jewelry, Jewelry > Renaissance )
M. Briggs' mini-book with gold covers...encrusted with faux gemstones onlaid onto the covers (either glued on with faux gold bezels painted? around bottoms, or gold bezels around each created by pressing stone into a pad of clay then pressing to cover and coating with gold powder)

as inclusions in clay
Powders can also be mixed into any clay to give a bit of sparkle (opaque clay for a surface effect, or translucent clay for a deeper effect) some extent, mica clays can be made from non-mica clays by adding mica powders (you'd want to use the clearest translucent clay you could as the base though because that will allow the mica particles to be seen deeply from the surface).
......Dianne C's lesson on using mica powders with translucent clay to create mica effects (using Pearl Ex & Powdered Pearls... proportions used were 1 block Premo bleached translucent (better than other translucents) clay to 1/4 rounded teaspoon mica powder. . . mixing 2 contrasting mica powders colors seems to enhance the mica shift properties if used for that technique can buy mica flakes too yourself and add them to (translucent, or Premo Pearl?) clays. . .where buy now?
....Nancy B. also uses the sparkley grit used in rock tumblers (and for stair treads), which comes in various size grits at lapidary stores
with her translucent clays

mokume gane:
....translucent clay with iridescent powder inclusions...I stacked a mokume gane block, adding gold and black clay among the layers...and got a shimmery, glittery, metallic glow with great depth. Tinidril (see more details in Mokume Gane > Metallic Powder Inclusions)

Maggie's powders with mokume gane

rolled up in layers of clay ...Desiree's Sparkling Moss Agate bead
(lesson ....translucent clay sheet.... covered with black clay speckles of finely chopped clay plus areas of Sparkling Copper Pearl-Ex powder (larger flakes)... rolled into spiral ...cut on sides with blade curved-- resembles footballt) (larger photo at bottom of page)

stamping on Fun Foam …just heat the fun foam with your heat gun about a minute on each side…The foam will start to curl a bit on the sides …press your stamp hard into the fun foam. The fun foam retains the impression. (If you don't get a deep enough impression, reheat and press again.) …then dust the image with pearl ex powder for a glimmery look. Be sure to spray with hair spray or fixative if you use the pearl ex. You can ink up the stamp and press too if you like.(I usually do as it defines the lines a little more). These make quick and neat pins. You can cut close around the image when you are done or leave in an oval or rectangular shape around the image. …I particularly like to do Native American images on the tan foam. Kind of looks like leather. Karen H.

masking + stencils + edging

Mike Buesseler came up with a wonderful way to using "masking" to create a clay piece with 2 powder colors in specific areas
... that is, one color for the focal element (he often used a real leaf) and one color for the background
lesson ...Mike's use of a leaf as a mask
--place the back side of a freshly-picked leaf on top of a blended, Skinner-blend, marbled or plain clay sheet (he often uses a SB)
--cover with waxed paper ... burnish well to embed the leaf ....remove waxed paper (but not leaf)
--texture with sandpaper (or whatever) all around the leaf (will be the background)
--brush metallic powder all over the textured area outside the leaf (the leaf will resist the powder)
......(to get strong clean edges, be especially careful that the leaf edges are sticking to the clay well --brushing the powder *out* from the leaf can help)
......(brushing powder in well now will help prevent it from rubbing off later, and possibly won't need sealing)
--carefully remove leaf
--bake (& seal if desired)

Mike B’s beau-ti-ful examples of single masks and
Mike B’s examples of double masks with leaves

Mike's lesson on using a double mask (the leaf and also a square of waxed paper) for 3 powder colors
....(same as lesson above, but with the addition of a second "mask")
Heather R's lesson on double masking with a leaf for a notebook cover,1789,HGTV_3236_4122422,00.html

Mary Anne's leaves with double masking ...& heavily textured backgrounds
Skygrazer's fern leaf mask on green blend sheet... with oval "stencil," rather than a mask, over it

I found that Mike's advice to texture the clay before powdering (with rough sandpaper) makes a significant difference... the powder sticks much better, so the color is stronger..... you could still do another decorative texturing on top of the sandpaper texture if you wanted. Thalassa
For Mike's technique, you might want to put your metallic powder on more thickly (still rubbed in though) so that the background clay won't show through the powder .... the powder colors will be more intense that way.
...Eileen L's impressed leaves, some with painted? backgrounds (mts, moon), or painted embellishments on leaves (gone)

other leaf possibilities
supermarkets have some little pots of herbs in the produce section... most of them are probably too tender to use, but you could try. Otherwise, let them mature a bit and try again.
...flat Italian parsley is pretty, and so is the small-leafed oregano and the mints..... and I'll bet the chives would be an interesting accent, too. Elizabeth

some leaves can be found year round in many areas ... all kinds of evergreens that could work
...ivy leaves (esp. small leafed ones) might be available. Irene
he juniper I used was interesting, but the impressions are very deep and rough, so the metallic effect in the clay is lost (?) Would be a nice accent in small amounts, though. Eliz.

There are real preserved leaves for sale in all the craft stores that could be used. Eliz.

Real leaves which are no longer fresh and supple can be "reconstituted" with a soak in water, glycerin, or something else
....I soaked some dried leaves in warm water for a couple of hours to "flex" them up a bit, and that worked great... kept them from crumbling when I rolled them onto the clay, and they were even tough enough to peel up off the clay without leaving little pieces
....... I also just got some glycerin and I'm going to try soaking the next batch of mini rose leaves in glycerin-water and keeping them in the fridge, to see if that works. Eliz.
....there's some sort of spritz you can buy in the same department (as preserved leaves) for reviving dried flowers and leaves that have become brittle

...can leaves be kept in the freezer to preseve till wanted?
...can iron leaves between waxed paper layers to preserve?

There are lots of artificial plants (silk or plastic) with leaves that might work too.

other things to use for masking
or shapes cut from tracing paper or waxed paper, with detail lines added later???
r use a paper that is textured, like a linen texture. Sally

with stencils
can be used to apply shapes of powder (with a smooth outline)... place stencil over the clay & apply powder with a brush, esp. for small areas
...can make your own stencils from ordinary paper ...will adhere to clay pretty well and somewhat flexibly
....or use any brass, cardstock, or other stencils... (see Cutters-Blades > Stencils for more ideas with those)
...always brush powder from outside to center area of the stencil to get the crispest edges (start with brush outside opening of stencil)
...I saw tiny stencils at Pearl art supply for air brushing finger nails. . . just a bit of powder and more designs on clay. Faun
Nanetta's lesson on cutting a stencil to make shapes of PearlEx color on a pendant (gently scrubbing with a soft brush) to get stars and curved S shapes from designs drawn or copied onto cardstock (she cuts with a pointed Xacto knife on a self-healing mat)
........ she also suggests using decorative hole punches and paper edgers to create stencils in index cards
...Icechick’s stencilling with powders
...can also mask off portions of the stencil with paper, then use a different colored powder, etc.
...could use the inside of cutters too?

as edging
....rub metallic powder on the sides of a thick-ish cane slice, transfer, pendant, frame or anything else with sides, to make it look more "finished," or to hide the color of the clay underneath
......can also apply to outside of an entire cane before slicing
...or apply to the rim of a bowl, box, bottle, etc.
...or apply a metallic color of alcohol ink over a metallic powder with for a strongly metallic look
........I coat the outside of a whole cane with Pearl Ex, then seal it with Pinata ink - gorgeous. syndee

"painting" powders on clay (+ tools for applying them)

Metallic powders can be used as dry "paint" with just the dry powder on certain kinds of applicator
... or they can be made into wet paint by putting the dry powder in water, or mixing it into a clear medium that's compatible with clay (see more below in Clear Mediums)

Powders can be applied only to certain portions of raw clay this way, giving more control and more ability to make fine lines and sharp edges with the powder.
.....its possible to do very thin stripes and spots, depending on the size and type of brush you use...e.g., thin brush = thin lines. faun

for a wet paint

I use a slightly damp brush so I get the metallic powder just where I want it. -NF
...Donna Kato mixes water with the powder ...i put a puddle of water on my worktable then dunk my dryish brush in the powder and put it on the puddle and mix then apply the "slip" on the clay... the water evaporates & the powder stays put.
water-soluble materials ... acrylics, white glue, watercolor paint, etc.

for a dry "paint"...(or possibly wet)

....I kind of glide it over the clay when applying it this way... I didn't get any indents and I was applying the powder to heavily textured bracelets. It didn't seem to affect the texture either.. It just takes a light touch to apply.. Man, what a difference it made... Dave

...rubber-tipped "brushes" (Clay Shaper tools) found with art supplies are good for applying powders to specific areas of unbaked clay
............ these come in different shapes (cone, chisel, etc) and in 3? different sizes & firmnesses so there are quite a few to choose from).
........I use the chisel-shaped ones for painting straight lines of Pearl-X. - it's sort of like painting!! syndee
....... I made some rubber- tipped thingys for myself ..I carved a chisel of sorts out of the eraser end of a pencil for the pearlex. Dave
........individual chisel-shaped erasers that fit over the end of a pencil... suppose they will work too?...they're so cheap that you could have a separate one for each color powder you use. Nancy
..........(see also Tools? for making other rubbery-tipped tools with dried white glue, etc.)
foam cosmetic sponges
.........I have cut up those wedge shaped ones to apply powder. Works pretty good! michele 'luny'
.... foam brushes
......... I've been buying packages of head-cleaning brushes at Radio Shack to get the sort of foam brush that I like to use ...they come 10 to a package for under $2.
.........I recommend eye shadow foam brushes...dip the brush into the powder in some appropriate container, then tap off the excess. Sherry
.....tiny "disposable" foam "glue applicators" come in various tiny sizes... great for metallic powders (or for liquid clay or Diluent-glues,etc.)
.... tiny bristle brush ... the Microbrush has bristles like a tiny paintbrush
.....tiny non-absorbent fuzzy fiber pads (Ultrabrush has in 3 sizes) ... got them at my hobby store in pkgs. of 10. Diane B. (click on each, then hover over pics)

I painted different colors of pearlex on the sections of lightly-textured raw clay I'd created with wire "dividers" ..Kellie
......Dotty's lesson on doing the same (with wire) using a small paintbrush to apply Pearl Ex,2025,DIY_13762_2921641,00.html
(see much more on the technique of using wire to make cells, in Wire > Other Uses > Cells)

Kim K's using metallic powders for "painting" different colors (complete coverage, of bas relief scene)

...the base clay is all brown.... if anyone wants to do something like this in the future, I recommend that they use colored clay underneath the coats of powder to save time & money, and give more depth.
.. I'm thinking at least some of the powders I used were Midnight Pearls and Powdered Pearls (many of whose colors which seem brighter on clay), but I'm pretty sure the rim is done with Pearl Ex Aztec Gold (thank you jjjjami). Kim K.

Diane used Perfect Pearls (textured, etc.) under FimoGel liquid clay for a beautiful enamel look

It's a good idea to keep any leftover mixes in small containers
... some can be reconstituted after drying with water (like gum arabic), but others will stay liquid if air-tight.

(for more on tools and application, see also above under Powders Summary > Application & Tools)

(powders can also be mixed into liquid adhesive mediums, then applied with a brush, or sprinkled on top of anything that will capture and hold them, before or after baking
...see next category for doing that)

mediums to mix powders into

To create "paints" or for other uses, powders can be mixed into anything that will make them adhesive (or just water, but won't stick as well when dry)
--some examples: Future, liquid clay, gum arabic, Varathane, Diluent... also acrylic paints, glues, acrylic mediums... alcohol inks

Then they can be applied with a brush or rubber brush or finger... or sponged on, perhaps in patterns....or sprinkled on top of anything that will capture and hold them, etc.
.......or they can be poured into cells or molds

many mediums (generally clear, but also colored) can be used:

I mixed Fimo's real-metal powders, called pulvers, (or Authentic Metal Powders by Houston Arts) into Future & also into liquid clay
....... the Future +pulver makes a smoother line of "paint" & adheres well to baked clay (or Varathane, etc.)
........the TLS (liquid clay) +pulver "paint" gives a grainy line (and must be rebaked to cure, of course).
....Elizabeth mixed her real metal silver powder in to Diluent-Softener, then applied to baked clay pitcher... let settle, then baked.. also did a second coat
12 real metal powders in metal colors (then click on Metallic Powders)

You can also apply Future floor polish, and while still wet, sprinkle it with embossing powders or micro glitters. Then let dry.
.....Have not tried it myself yet, but the thought of tinted Future washes for antiquing or adding a patina seems like an attractive one. Steve K.
.........I do antiquing, upon occasion, with Pearlex powders (bronze, usually) mixed in Future.... Flow it on, wipe off with dampened paper towel, dry. Messy, but with cool results. pat

applicators ....for most ways to apply, see above under As Paints
... lots of suggestions on possible applicators for the powder + medium mixture
(small paint brushes, foam wedges and foam brushes, chiseled rubbery tools, sponges, etc., etc.)
....Fine Line Painting Pens writing tool (with a well to hold the liquid) .....(look like tjanting pen used for psyanky/batik, etc.)
......I think I just discovered a way to make those fine, delicate lines with metallic powders that have always eluded me! Laura (middle of page)

I like the "lighter-more-spread-out"look I get from mixing just the smallest bit of Pearl Ex into my Future.... I bake the peice for 5 minutes or so, then look at it to see if I want more or not (depends on the final look I'm after) Connie

Rustoleum's Varathane can also be used as the carrier for metallic powders ...but it is a bit milky when wet, and could make seeing the "color" while it's being created a little more difficult?
...I've used Pearl-X in my Varathane to add a "dewy" look on top of leaves, etc.

any acrylic "medium" -- gel, gloss, matte, etc. (these are after all basically clear "paint")
...just another binder that should be usable for this approach
the resulting paint mixture will take on the characteristics of the medium it is mixed with (e.g.., gloss, flat, frosted, or iridescent)
(may not be highly scratch resistant though)

gum arabic comes in either powder form or a liquid..... I perfer the powder, I think it lasts longer and stays fresher (though some prefer the liquid). can buy gum arabic at some craft stores, but most likely it's at more dedicated type art supply places.... It is rather pricey if using only a small amt...

Elizabeth's lesson on mixing mica powders into gum arabic powder to make paint
......she mixes the metallic powder with the gum arabic powder (4 to 1)... then adds drops of water, and mixes till paste or liquid
......she then lets it sit (and evporate) 1-2 days before using (or can
use a "convection" oven to concentrate it)
......apply with wet brush (she applies to paper), often building up layers of color
..mix approximately 1/4 to 1/3 parts of gum arabic liquid or powder, to one part pearl powder... then just use a few drops of water to mix it all together.
.......use the lesser amount of gum for a 'wash' effect... or the the higher amount for a more viscous watercolor-like paint.
.......don't throw away leftover mixed gum and powders... let it dry out use later, add a few drops of water & good as new
.. for an all-over color, you can mix in a spray mister bottle with more water. sensewhim
(may not be highly scratch resistant though)
...those mica powders with an added binder (which may be just gum arabic) can be mixed with more gum arabic to make paint

Jacquard's lessons re Pearl Ex (or their other products) for painting with gum arabic ...or clear acrylic medium

You can mix powders with any type of thin or thinned white glue.... I personally use Aleene's paper napkin applique glue (because it's thin, easily spreadable, dries fast and dries to a shiny, hard coat).
.... I dab the glue on a black card with a sponge, then pick up some Pearl-Ex on the sponge and "swirl" it around on the card with the glue, covering the entire surface . (or I rub it on with my finger) ...makes a great background, especially if you use more than one color of Pearl Ex
...could also use other kinds of glue which are compatible with the surface you're applying to the powders to
Sometimes I think it is more consistent if you put the glue down first, then sprinkle the pearl ex over it.

You can mix powders with acrylic paint to give the paint a pearlescent sheen.
I've added gold Pearl-Ex to white acrylic paint then painted bisque with it - the result is a subtle metallic glow when the light hits a certain way.

I was surprised to see that Donna Kato mixes Pearl-Ex with plain water to apply to clay (..saw thatt on Carol Duvall). Randi
...I have also had success with painting Pearl Ex mixed in water on cardstock and on watercolor paper with tooth. ...the color isn't so intense, but with the irrdescence, it picks up enough light anyway (gives pearlescent look).

I've used it successfully with plain ol' watercolor paints too

You can use mica powders to color liquid clays until you buy some oil paints for coloring it.
.... I used purple clay, impressed with a texture sheet, and baked it. . .. when I mixed some red/blue duo mica powder into the TLS and went over the baked piece with it. It turned out beautiful! ....Over the raised areas of the piece it appears as a metallic purplish-blue, and in the recessed areas it was deep semi-transparent blue.
.... you can also use embossing powders in liquid clay. Dotty
Jody drops Pearl Ex into wet liquid clay (to make clings --decals) ... and bakes, sometimes adding more layers (see Liquid Clay > Decals)

I've experimented with using the Diluent-Softener to add Pearl-x to the baked clay .... (rebaked a couple of minutes to "set" the Diluent). syndee
...I've use the diluent for a number of things, and have been using the Pearlex for years, but never thought about using the diluent to hold the powders on already baked pieces. What a great idea. Katherine Dewey
...For claying, I'd also add Pearl-Ex to some Sculpey Diluent to make a paste.Randi
....if you use pearl-x this way, does it eliminate the need to varnish ?
(see Diluent mixed with real metal powder below in Real Metal Powders)

So mineral oil would probably both moisten and bind the Pearl-Ex powders (so they can be used as "paints")?

can also be mixed into colored alcohol-based inks like Pinata... you get a really metallic looking gold ink. syndee
....can also apply mica powders
underor over alcohol inks
....can also coat the outside of a cane with Pearl Ex... then seal it with Pinata ink - gorgeous. syndee (or use mica powder that has a binder in it)

UTEE powder (clear when melted) get a new color of embossing powder, mix just less than a 1/4 tsp Pearl Ex in with half a film conatiner of the Ultra Thick? Clear Embossing Powder. Petra... scratchable surface though
(...see more on embossing powder used this way below in Embossing Powders

I have used PearlEx in mokume gane but was not happy until I began to mix it with liquid clay
. .
. 'paint' your layers of PearlEx onto layers of translucent clay ....also try layers with Magic Leaf inbetween TLS/PearlEx and translucent. It is dynamite. . Dianne C.

....for much more on using powders in liquid clay, Future, Varathane, etc., for painting, highlighting, etc., see Liquid Clays and Paints.
.see more above in Pearl Ex and in Sealing

I wanted something that looked metallic, but I did not want to use paint, so I tried something different and mixed some Pearl-Ex (bronze) with some Kiwi (neutral) paste shoe polish and the effect was really nice.
.......I let it dry overnight and then buffed it to a nice shine the next day. Pat (a.k.a. Miacalla)
..(for other non-liquid paste waxes like carnauba or car waxes which might work, see Finishes > Non-liquid Waxes for specific brands, etc., including this post:
.......You do *not* want the type of Mother's Wax that includes cleaners... some people have even used a archival wax called Renaissance Wax but I can smell petrolates, so don't use it. KathyG
....I wonder if those would be more like the regular Rub 'N Buffs?? They do have that kind of smell...DB )

....(see more? in Paints > Mixing your own metallic/pearlescent paints)

simulate various paint types by mixing metallic powders into mediums:
-- acrylic paint --mix powders with Perfect Paper Adhesive (PPA), gum arabic, or any acrylic medium. Keep in small airtight jars
-- watercolor paint --mix powders with Gum Arabic and distilled water.
--oil paint --mix powders into any alkyd or oil-based paint to achieve a metallic brilliance and sheen.
--latex paint --mix powders into a clear latex or acrylic medium and then apply to any latex painted wall or surface to achieve a glazed glow.
--encaustic or waxing medium --apply powders to the surface of finished waxes...or mix into clear or colored rubbing waxes... or mix it in as wax is being heated.
-----mix a touch of Pearl Ex into melted crayons for a pearlescent encaustic medium.

I bought a bag of the small plastic snap shut jars that come with craft kits. They come hooked together in a row, though I cut mine apart. They're great for saving liquid clay colors, or Varathane+Pearlex mixes.
... got mine from American Science and Surplus Jody B.


(see "Other Ways to Use Powders," as well)

Properly applied, in the right amounts, pearlex or powdered pearls will not need to be sealed after baking.
.... Some people like the effect it has, but it is not necessary.... I found this was the case in some of the stuff I did, and then sometime later a friend told me that in one of Mike's (Buesseler) Workshops he'd told them the same thing that I had been saying all along....So if you brush it on (in) well, and don't go nuts with how much you use, you should be fine. Tommie
...In fact...after baking, you can't even scrub it off with a brush, soap and water! I tried once!! hehe..... It is only any excess that comes off and gets where you don't want it. Try brushing/smoothing it on as light as a fairy would.... Cella in SDak
...if you plan to antique over Pearl-X, make sure you rub the pearl-X on really well or you will wipe a good portion of it off with your excess paint!! syndee
.....Linelle feels that Kato clay holds onto mica powders better than Premo.

Powders can also be mixed into an adhesive medium, then applied with a brush or sprinkled on top of anything that will capture and hold them (some examples would be glues, sealers, Liquid Sculpey, paints, Diluent, etc.). These can also be used in other ways (see Other Ways to Use below).
I coated the baked items with Pearlex by rubbing Diluent where I wanted the powder to adhere, till tacky. Popped the torc back into the oven for twenty to thirty minutes
...then when cool, varnished them with Diamond Finish Varathane Satin with IPN varnish. . . . After a year of heavy wear, the torc looks as if it were made yesterday. (The Varathane dries in thirty minutes, but, depending on humidity, can take a week or so to fully cure)...Katherine Dewey

Jacquard's Pearl Ex Varnish

Mike used Patricia Nimrock's Matte Acrylic Spray (light coats)- you can get it at Michael's or Hobby Lobby. It also comes in a gloss formula and a satin. White spray can with turquoise design. Elizabeth

I like Future better than Varathane for sealing powders. Put it on as soon as clay is cured while it is still warm, or reheat it for 10 minutes or so to harden the Future and get rid of the brush strokes. Dianne C.

It's sometimes hard to brush on Varathane without disturbing the PearlEx, so for the leaves, I diluted some with about 20-30% water in a little pump sprayer and misted the leaves. Waited half and hour and then misted them, again. This won't give you the really shiny look that brushing it on will, so if you want the shine, brush it on, the third time... it will be set enough that the powder won't come off. Test the spray first, to make sure that it mists, and doesn't spray in big gobs. And after you're done, pump clear water through the sprayer part before you put it back in the bottle. PyroPatty gave me the courage to give this method a shot, and it works really well, so far. Bet it would work with Future, too. Elizabeth
...I found some cheap 4 oz. pump spray bottles at Michaels…. work really well for me. Patty
..... That's good to know... I'll try some of those... the spray bottles I had just left big splotches.
...I will put in my 2 cents for Varathane Varathane. I use a very thin coat of it to seal my Pearl-X and it dries quite quickly (since I don't use a high gloss finish, the surface still looks like it's unglazed because I like the matte look of clay). . . . I have noticed that sealers tend to absorb some of the Pearl-X, especially if you haven't rubbed it on well or you've just brushed it on. syn
When I apply Pearl Ex, then cure, and add Varathane Varathane, I seem to lose some of the shine . .
.......What I do is PearlEx mine before curing...then add a touch of PearlEx just as powder, using an eyeshadow sponge -- before sealing with varathane. Dianne C.

I have been using Future on my Gorkley Mirrors, and have been applying it to them while they are warm from the oven. I have found that it makes the PearlEx powders more vivid. It makes the interference powders almost electric.
..... But I haven't tried it with the Fimo Pulvers.
... Does it have the same effect if you wait until the item has cooled then covered it with Future?
... Also, have you tried baking the piece at about 200 degrees for about 10 - 20 minutes after applying the future? Does it change the effect? Kimba

maybe you could mix a sprinkle of the pulver into Future (few drops), and then paint that on to restore the colors? Ziggybeth

i found out a neat trick and may never have to Future an item again to keep my powders from coming off!!
...... i put a lot of powder into TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey)... and thin it some with diluent.
......i touch my finger into the tls lightly and brush quickly across something, it spreads the powder so it looks like you used the powder without the tls!!
...... the difference is, the powder is baked on and sealing is unnecessary!! most cool, huh? Sunni
...I use Kato (liquid clay) and TLS for extra strength along with the Pearl-ex powders, and now other powdered pigments, for making faux stained glass and for painting on clay---and a hundred other uses. Jeanne

see more below in Mediums to Mix In .....and above in Mica Powders

I learned (about using glycerin as a release from Tory Hughes) about years ago and I'm not sure what she's doing now. It works fine; I've used it a lot, especially when casting detailed …that might not have been able to hold up to something oily and would have been clogged up by talc or cornstarch. And it doesn't affect paint or lacquer or Pearl-Ex on the clay piece.... The one drawback is that glycerin doesn't mix with the clay at all, and if you don't like the impression, you have to knead it in very thoroughly . . . Georgia

BRANDS & Suppliers of mica powders

(for the uncolored sheets & flakes of real rock mica, see Mica)
(for a technical explanation of the grades and grinds of mica powders, see Technical Info on this page)

Mica Powders WITHOUT an added binder

Pearl Ex and some other mica powders do not contain a binder in with the mica powder, so they have no adhesive properties (raw clay does have adhesive properties though, so if worked in well, plain mica powders will stick to it).
...many things can be used as binders for Pearl Ex, though... e.g. gum arabic (powder),, or liquids like liquid gum arabic), linseed oil, egg white, Varathane and other acrylics & glues, liquid clay, Diluent-Softener, mineral oil or glycerin, etc.?... alcohol inks?

Pearl Ex (by Jacquard)

... buy them in individual jars of color at art supply stores . . . and possibly some crafts stores, some rubberstamping stores . . (may have to look for them in the rubberstamping sections of craft stores)
....sets ....some craft stores carry sets of small containers in various colors
Michael's carries a multi-pack of 12 small jars of Pearlex ('ll find it with the stamping supplies, often near the bottom shelf near where they keep embossing powder and heatguns). Jeannine
........Michaels is now offering two different color sets for the smaller containers of the Pearl-Ex .

(MAIL ORDER ... see below)

the Jacquard website has 4 sets of multi-packs, each containing 12 small jars of different colors ....and 1 set of 32 colors (all have a project or two, or booklet) ( on More Information in left navigation bar... then click on on Kits & Sets)
...they also have
one traveling studio kit which is geared toward clay artists
. . there are 32 colors of PX, plus 9 bottles of Lumiere paints (in little squeeze bottles), 2 Neopaque paints (black and white), 8 bottles of Pinata Inks... a plastic texture sheet, Sculpey blades, black and pearl Premo clay, gloves (for the inks), a brush, exploded salt (for creating visual texturing on wet things), and a baggy of assorted Pearl Ex colors in those little gelatin capsules (including Black). This all comes in a carrying case.... lots of project ideas. syndee holt

Pearl Ex suppliers:
PolymerClay Express
(they carry many of the powder brands ... including their own brand which includes black mica and black oxide powders)
Clay Factory ... 3 g up to 10 lb sizes
US Art Quest
Pearl Ex powders and book on various uses (plus doll supplies) Pearl-Ex
Flax art and design has sets of Pearlex (12 3gm $24) ....and sets of glitters (13 1/4oz $36) on pg. 9 of the catalog. Sarajane (or use, click on Flax Art, then enter Pearl Ex or glitter in the Search Box )
Dharma silk painting supply catalog...about 25 colors and the best price for the size jar. The powders are first rate as with the service .
Sierra Enterprises...they have 1/4 oz containers of every color for $2.97. I comparison shopped and it was a good deal.

8 NEW colors of Pearl Ex. . . comparing the colors to Powdered Pearls:
...the Pearl Ex colors that are unique and not at all like any of the PP are Sparkling Copper, Flamingo Pink and Blue Russet. While Misty Lavender are True Blue are similar to PP's Lavender Blue and Sapphire, they have different qualities ....Misty L. is more lavender and True Blue more blue than the PP counterparts. I think that the yellow, spring green and turquoise are fairly much the same in both companies' offerings. Dianne C.
he "smear charts" I made show how some of these new colors mix ... varying amounts of yellow with the True Blue or the Turquoise makes a wide range of greens..... the Brilliant Yellow with Flamingo Pink makes apricot and peach colors. ... these colors are really "POW!" Lots of fun! Eliz.

Powdered Pearls
(owner-supplier seriously injured.... products decreasingly available)

Polymerclayexpress has some colors of Sandy's Lemon's Powdered Pearls still available

the Powdered Pearls are fantastic! ....they haven't 'replaced' my Pearl-Ex, but rather enhanced my collection. Maggie
...I have both Pearl Ex & PP's, but use my PP's primarily - I think they tend to stay put better ...& they're very cost effective as well! Loni
The Powdered Pearls are well worth having even if you already have a lot of the Pearlex colors:
......the Powdered Pearls are not as fine as the Pearlex, so they behave a little differently , not better or worse but different.
......they seem brighter to me, and I'm finding that one or the other will work better for different techniques. Jody

I have often wished there were some darker and brighter mica colors available... so I got some of the Powdered Pearls, and they are dynamite..
.......they are the same consistency as Pearl-Ex, but with a whole new palette of colors
.......their Midnight Pearls are gorgeous and rich .... this is great stuff...Mike B.
...their Opals are just that.....a light iridesence
...their Midnights are 'dark and rich' (look great over dark colors!)
...their regular colours are the most like Pearl-Ex...with the exception of the colour choices. Try 'em...You'll LOVE 'EM! Maggie
...the gold is a different softer color, a bit more pearly than Pearl Ex and very beautiful. Jody
...the turquoise is by far my favourite - you should see my latest dragonflies! Alan
....see also Kim K's use of Midnight Pearls or Powdered Pearls (she recommends colors clays underneath)

Fine Line Painting Pens writing tool
....I think I just discovered a way to make those fine, delicate lines with metallic powders that have always eluded me! Laura (middle of page)
.....(looks a bit like a tjanting pen used for psyanky/batik, etc.)

( to intensify mica colors, see above in Pearl Ex for adding black PearlEx or 'Ivory black' artist's pigment powder at 100 to 1 ratio)

When we were first 'developing' the PP's, we had the option of ordering the micas with a fixative already in the equation. We decided against that for several reasons
...and y
es, Powdered Pearls are a different grade. They are cosmetic grade mica and the pigments that are bonded to the mica is also cosmetic grade.
......In your artwork, cosmetic grades do not really make that much difference...
however, for cosmetic grade pigments manufacturers insist on the colors being clear and true, no muddiness (that mudiness may not be visible to our eyes, but when you start blending colors together to make new colors, the differences will become a little more clear)
. . . As for cosmetic grade being 'safer', that is more or less subjective to the user. If you have allergies, breathing problems, skin allergies, sensitivities or use a LOT of mica products, then yes, I'd be comfortable in saying that in SOME cases, cosmetic grade colorants would be somewhat safer for that particular person…
...Cosmetic grade does not refer to 'grind'. You can have big chunks of mica in cosmetic grades, and extremely fine micron sizes in industrial grades. …. Mica's are manufactured/purchased by MICRON size... measurement of the microscopic fragment of mica. I purchase the micron size that gives the most bang for the color. I don't have access to every micron size of every color. I wish I did! For example, our PP gold is at the larger end of the micron size *for our purposes*. It sparkles more than a finer micron grind. ......but it's NOT a general rule that cosmetic grade is a smaller grind, therefore lower 'sparkle' value. For example, Daniel Smith's gold mica is a very fine micron size and I'm pretty sure it's not cosmetic grade. It does not sparkle as much, but it's luster value is high. Luster being the richness of the color, not so much the sparkle…I wouldn't exactly say that finer grind micas loose their luster, but they take on a completely different effect. It's all in what you are after. The finer the grind, the less surface area for the light to bounce off of. .........And you sort of 'pay' for more sparkle. The larger the micron, the harder it is to mix with water. We tried to find a micron size that mixed well with water, yet gave the most sparkle as compared to the difficulty of mixing.

(Powdered Pearls are also used by calligraphers, glass blowers, textile artists, rubberstampers, and paper makers, too..

PCE Powders (PolymerClayExpress Powders) .... special colors only

Polymerclayexpress now has its own brand of mica powders (not Pearl Ex) but only in metal colors (they don't come in "rainbow" colors):
...Gold Mica and Silver Mica (little coarser)... Bronze Mica and Black Mica (mix of flakes and powder)
...Rhein Gold and Black Oxide (extremely fine consistency)... (are these mica powders?) (same as micaceous iron oxide? --see Faux-Many > Raku)
(also see Faux-Many for hematite and ablalone?)

I've been adding black pearl-ex (or Black Mica powder from polymerclayexpress?) to my (colored) pearl-ex powders with amazing results. I can create whole new colors, with a new depth and intensity. tesselene

Mica Powders with an added BINDER

A "binder" is a material used to bind together two or more other materials in "mixtures."
.... two principal properties of a binder are adhesion and cohesion
...binders used in art include wax, linseed oil, gum arabic, gum tragacanth, methyl cellulose, gums, or protein such as egg white or casein ... in painting, binders hold together paints, pastels, and other materials.
...OR other things that could be used as binders probably:
......liquid clay, Diluent-Softener, mineral oil or glycerin, etc.?... alcohol inks?...Varathane and other acrylics & glues
......(see As Paints above)

( to intensify mica colors, see above in Pearl Ex for adding black PearlEx, or 'Ivory black' artist's pigment powder, at 100 to 1 ratio)

Perfect Pearls

Perfect Pearls... by Ranger....
...mica powders pre-mixed with a resin binder that's water-soluble (prob. gum arabic and/or that other stuff that acts like gum arabic)
...Pefect Pearsl are the only (no?) mica powder with a built-in resin which makes them bond (even more?) to clay during baking

They work wonderfully with clay
...applied to raw clay, use them dry like PearlEx or Powdered Pearls... on the suface of the clay
...they can be mixed into liquid clay or raw clay, just like any other mica powder (as an "inclusion")
...they can be mixed into anything water-soluble to make them thicker and spreadable
......or allow them to be used as a paint or a transparent glaze (depending on amt. added) by mixing into Varathane or Future or other clear acrylics, acrylic mediums, even white glue, etc.) ...for use on raw or cured clay
......can also be mixed into watercolor paints to give shimmer, etc.
...these powders can be "set" before baking with a fine spritz of water (tip from Julia Andrus, creator of the line)
...there's no need to seal them after baking, since the binder will act as an adhesive within the powder as to the clay --though for rough handling may be a good idea (though regular mica powders need no sealing either if rubbed in well)
...they have some really fabulous colors. Lisa P.
..overview and colors:
.....many techniques, by Tyra
....Linelle's Perfect Pearls-covered, thick square beads, each with hole in center...strung on dimensional necklace with spacer beads

Magical Faerie Dust (added binder) (pearlized/iridescent/interference powdered pigments set of 39 –1 1/2 g-- colors for #30, others?
by out of business?
...From the best of my knowledge, Faire Dust has an additive that fixes the product to paper. I'm *assuming* that it's gum arabic.
...I have also been *told* that FD has a base of powdered artists pigments with some mica added. The instructions that come with the product say you just mix it with water (to use as a watercolor) and that "no fixitive/sealer is needed" That tells me that it's already in there in some form. .. when used dry, the powdered artists pigment in the mix leave a chalky residue on your project. This is perfectly fine if it's the effect you are in a faux pastel painting. FD is a nice product and definately has it's uses, but **IMO** I don't think FD is the best product you can get to use with PC. Sandy
..."Faerie Dust, Pearl-Ex, and Powdered Pearls are all pearlized/iridescent pigment/mica powders. (Radiant Pearls is a paint line ...that's oily and doesn't "dry" or cure on things that aren't porous).
..... You can use a blender pen with any of the pigment powder lines, and all can be used with different mediums to create paint. I have always loved Pearl-Ex and used it for many years, but I wanted more colors. Hence, Faerie Dust was born. I use the same manufacturer of pigment powders (there are only 2 in the U.S.) as Pearl-Ex and some of the colors in both lines are the same. When I complete the next set of Faerie Dust (to be launched April 1, 2000 hopefully), almost all of the Pearl-Ex colors will be included in the Faerie Dust line."
...he sets are 1.5 grams each, unlike the 3 gr. each/ set offered by PolymerClayExpress . Singles are $1.50/ 1.5 gr

Perfect FX -- flakes

Most Perfect FX powders are flakier than the other mica powders ...more like flakes and granules so they aren't a fine powder
.... they can only be used as inclusions in the clay since they won't stick to the surface.
(all info about Perfect FX powders, and also Perfect FX's large mica "tiles" is in Mica > Flakes & Tiles )

others, or don't know if mica

Marie and Howard at the Clay Factory of Escondido ( have some embossing powders and glitters that they sell that don't change when baked. Marie calls them her chunky powders. You can check their website or call 800-243-3466. Syndee
.....I don't see any powders except Pearl Ex there ?????

Another powder I have which I believe to be mica is Enchanted Luster Dust by Enchanted Creations, PA 18428 9793 USA

Moon Glow appears to be a recently introduced brand of interference-type mica powder pigments. It comes in individual but connected pots in "vibrant colors" ... each set of 13 colors costs approx. $20.
(colors, usage in Tips, and retail website)

Are bottles of liquid re-inkers for Pearl Ex Inkpads the same as pearlescent inks like Dahler-Rowney's? (see Letters-Inks > Pearlescent Acrylic Inks for more on those)

(for Radiant Pearls, see Paint )

Interference powders (+paints, cakes)

"interference" colors of mica powder
...An "interference color" is one that produces different colors depending on the way the light strikes it... and so show diff. colors when viewed from diff. angles (one color reflects and one color transmits)... so technically all opalesent or iridescent colors are created by interference.
...However, Pearl Ex calls it's colors "Interference" colors only when it's confined the interference colors to 2 colors.

Most interference colors are what appear to be singles ("Interference" + color name)
(these are white-based powders that produce a sheen of whatever the color name is)
.......when applied over white or lighter surfaces, the Interference Color is less obvious, and its "flip" effect is more obvious other words, if you put Interference Gold on white clay, the piece seems to have no color at all over light or white backgrounds, but you'll see a gold sheen when it's turned beneath the light. Dotty
..........or Interference Red powder appears white on light colored backgrounds, but when used on dark or black you'll see a red sheen
......when they're applied very thinly over dark colors, they don't show the whiteness you see in the jar at all, just the reflective color

Some interference powders come as doubles (two colors) though ... (e.g., blue-green... red-blue... green-yellow)
........when using the Red Blue Duo intereference powder, the result will be blue if applied over a black or dark clay color, and red if over white

Dotty McMillan’s diff. colors of metallic and interference colored powders on black clay pieces

I used purple clay, impressed and baked it. Then I mixed some red/blue duo mica powder into liquid clay and painted it over the baked piece ...It turned out beautiful! Much better than I had thought it would.
......over the raised areas of the piece it appears as a metallic purplish-blue, and in the recessed areas it was deep semi-transparent blue.   Dotty

I first painted my heavily-textured clay mermaid tails with Aleene's premium-coat "Antique Gold" acrylic paint
...when that dried, I dry-brushed clear varnish (water based) mixed with the blue-green duo interference powder on one, and the red-blue duo on the other ..the green tails were absolutely gorgeous, and the red-blue, came out a bit purply... Lorieo

applying Future on interference powder-covered clay warm from the oven makes the interference powders look almost electric! Kimba

It's fun to make black & white clay beads, then cover them in various interference powders (each one will be a diff. "color")

I have many pieces that have interference powder covered by thin translucent clay that is refracting light just as it would on the surface. jjjjami

Don't use too much of these interference powders to begin with… more than just a very thin layer of powder will just look dusty.
.... I later came up with some fixes that would have allowed me to use those dusty pieces tho'...adding a drop of Diluent and smoothing it around... or worst case, painting over it with acrylic paint. Randi

To get a kind of ghost-like effect, you can also try stamping raw clay, then use an interference powder on the raised areas (highlighting)
....then cover piece with parchment, and flatten the image down

some brands & types of interference powders & mediums

..Pearl Ex (powder)
..Magical Faerie Dust (powder with added binder) color powders also come in interference colors and much cheaper (than Pearl Ex)... can get them in cake shops
...Moon Glow (in cakes) comes in individual-but-connected pots in "vibrant colors" ...each set of 13 colors costs approx. $20. (colors, usage in Tips, and retail website)

there are also interference colors of acrylic paints (at least in tubes)
....or you can mix your own interference paint with interference powders + a transparent medium

there may also be interference colors of metallic waxes-- like Rub 'N Buff paste, or metallic waxes in cake form

REAL METAL powders
...Houston Arts & Fimo--theirs still metal though?

These are strongly colored and shiny metallic-appearing powders (mica powders are more pearly in appearance)... but these are more expensive than mica-types.
. . . Also, and most importantly, these are real metal and must be used with some prudence (made of tiny spirals of metal and will stay in your lungs); avoid breathing in and use paper underneath to discard all scattered powder; don’t let powder fly around in the air.
...(Powders that contain metal are toxic, in large amounts, and some people use them only with a face mask. Also some people apply metallic powders by pouring some powder into a plastic bag, and working with the piece inside the bag. This keeps it from blowing around.... wash up well when through. Randi)
... the metal powder will "anneal" to the raw clay (attach even better, though this is not necessary) if it's baked on the clay for 5 min at 300 degrees, according to Houston Arts (maker of Mona Lisa brand)... will there be any change in it's look??

metallic "bronze powders" in gold, silver etc, have been available for art applications long before Fimo first bottled them for polymer clay use... they are used for gilding effects with paint, sculpture, etc. Sue
"bronze powders" (made mostly from copper) will tarnish or dull somewhat over time unless sealed (bronze powders are also the usual pigment for things like Treasure Gold or Rub-N-Buff)

Fimo metallics (Eberhard Faber calls theirs "pulvers") . . . intensely metallic Fimo powder colours (pulver" just means powder in German.)... all thei powders used to be real metal... but of June 2004...their Gold #8709 BK and Bronze # 8709 01 BK are still real metal-based powders (...but their silver # 8708 powder is mica). Desiree
...what about the colored ones?
...(earlier) .here in Britain, all the coloured Fimo metallics have been phased out? and are now unobtainable from the wholesalers. (A few from old stock are lurking in stores if you are lucky.) We can now get only Gold metallic and Silver as a mica powder (?)... I have noticed that we often seem to get the changes here in Europe first . . . I am sorry to lose the purple, blue, green, etc. (metallic powders). Sue
I read somewhere that Eberhard stopped making those powders from aluminum metals because of their health hazard and that their product line is all mica, now??, like PearlEx, et. al. However, I know of a few "glitter-philes" who still prefer them and hunt for them in old inventories. They feel the pulvers produce a more intense effect and feel that it's worth the risk (provided one uses a well ventilated workspace and wears a mask). Desiree
... at PolymerClayExpress (they have some Fimo Pulvers)

Mona Lisa Authentic Metal Powders Houston Arts . . . line of 12 real metal powders as well in metal colors ranging from Platinum through gold/silver/copper to Dark Rust ... they can/must be "annealed in the oven in the oven for 5 minutes at 300 degrees".. must seal or some will oxidize/patina (Brass, Copper, Bronze, Antique Copper, Antique Brass, Oxidized Copper, and Statuary Bronze)
... (must click on Metallic Powders)
... at PolymerClayExpress (they also have some Fimo Pulvers, but are they the old metal ones or mica?)
...Mixing with liquid mediums creates the consistency and look of metallic paint.... powders will take on the characteristics of the medium they are mixed with (gloss, flat, frosted, or iridescent).

platinum real metal powder added to Sculpey's Diluent-Softner to make a metallic paint (used on a tiny pitcher)

I also use Schmincke (from Germany) which is a metallic powder in many colours - I think it's powdered bronze with other metals, rather than mica, though. The Crafty Owl
...I've gotten some of the Schmincke powders at a local art store, so they are available in the U.S. ////They have various shades of gold and silver. I will say that a bottle will last you forever. jayne

For real metal powders, check also anywhere that caters for furniture / antiques restoration people - they use these things too. Mostly they come in a masive host of different gold /bronze/ copper shades.
.... I have not personally been able to find a good silver. The only silvers I have found are mixed with some kind of oil or something (presumably an anti tarnish measure?) makes the powder look like cottage cheese! ...Still perfectly usable, just a bit clumpy, and I have not found any compatibility issues over the last few years of using it. Emma

? some Powdered Pearls have metal in them?? Dianne C.

Another fun thing to try - fill a small paper cup with some Future. Sprinkle metal powder carefully over the top so it rests on the surface tension of the future liquid. Dip a bead. A very cool, but somewhat messy, way of gilding a bead quickly (that might work the same with mica powders - I really can't remember). Emma

most of the information about using Mica Powders above, will also apply to real-metal powders

("Microfine Glitters" + Glass Glitters)

For all info on these types of "glitter, " see Inclusions > Glitters
(other uses besides "inclusions" discussed there)

also...most of the information about using Mica Powders above, also applies to micro glitters

CHALK (powders esp.)
(pastels, eyeshadows/blusher, decorating chalks, kids', food color powders)

(for more on chalks, see Paints >Chalks and Transfers >Pastels, Chalks, Dusts)

Chalk pastels ("artist's soft pastels")… these are not oil pastels which are greasy and won't give powder
...cost about $2 for a stick (a lot cheaper than make-up) and come in loads of colors
.. I am still using the same sticks I first used 15 years ago....they last a long time, and keep forever since they are pure pigment in a ground (no perfume or moisturisers etc that might react with clay eventually)
..............(artists' pastels should not be used on scrapbook page embellishments since they contain oils)???
...they come in metallics also .... and the matte black is good
....some brands are Rembrandt and Winsor& Newton, etc supply stores sell each color as a separate stick (and sets?)
....I bought a Rembrandt pastel palette and love those... very rich in color and soft....very easy to pick up and brush onto clay
....can buy sets at Michael's, but cheaper through Dick Blick's. Dianne C.

Some of the pastels go on darker than others ... so begin with just a little to test each color on clay.

(for more on the differences between chalk pastels, oil pastels, soft pastels, hard pastels, pastel pencils, etc.,
see Paints > Pastels and Chalks)

OTHER TYPES of "chalks"
(for Decorating Chalks --cakes of concentrated, chalk color-- see Paints > Chalks)
(for Colorbox Fluid Chalk inkpads, and for liquid chalk markers, see Letters-Inks > Chalk Inks)

Metallic and non-metallic eyeshadows can be used quite successfully... (they come in cakes or sometimes loose powder)
....for cakes, rub finger across, or scrape out a bit first then tap on with finger these at drugstores, discount stores, and beauty supply stores at the mall (large selection)

I use powdered blush for the cheeks and a light brown pastel chalk for the eyebrow & eyelash areas
…to get more sparkle use sparkly face powder that shimmers
…....for figures, usually a matte finish is better, try different brand to get different effects. Cheryl.

Ordinary kids' sidewalk chalks can also be used.
... chalks give a soft color, but looks great on faces (cheek color, etc.), or things like angels and flowers where you might want a soft effect
... I made some chalk "palettes" for my kids' classes by gluing a cut piece of sandpaper to the inside of a box, then drawing a grid on it with a permanent marker
....... I rubbed each color of chalk in one square of the grid, creating a bit of powder in the crevices. use, a soft brush was used to pick up some of the powdered chalk from the sandpaper (then the loaded brush was dabbed onto their sculpture's head, hair, eyes, and/or clothing until it was dark enough --just "stroking" with the brush won't work nearly as well.
(p.s....after sev. years, in areas where there was a lot of chalk coverage, like hair, the chalk color kind of sunk into the clay and darkened a bit, so might be a good idea to coat with a matte sealer if keeping a long time and that matters)

i wanted some blush for my fairies' cheeks and wings and have been using makeup blusher, but i wanted powder which didnt have a glitter look to it. I bought some food colour powders in about 80 colours from a cake shop
...i was amazed how well they came out... they also stick a little to baked clay, and if that wasn't enough, add water and you have paint...... its also safe to have around pets and kids as it edible...kasaj101 colouring powders work great with clay... I have used them for a few years now, as they are much cheaper than perlex!
...... can get some really nice metallic and interference colours as well. Emma

Adding white pastel to raised areas of colored clay gives nice highlights, too.

Jan R's unevenly applied rose chalk to an image stamped on lighter clay? --if not, it could be done that way (website gone)

A friend of mine had an idea with using chalks on stamps (tamp off?) and then making an impression in the clay. . . . then you have the raised area that you can rub over with yet another color chalk or iridescent powdersn. ...brayer this or run through the pasta machine to flatten. I'm still playing with this idea. Geo

I dusted colored chalk on my raw clay shape (heart) with a good soft brush... then I drew designs with Milky (pens?) and metallic gel (markers?)
.... I then covered it with a very thin #6 sheet of translucent clay. ... (Donn'a s encased transfer technique using chalk is a bit different.) Geo

I know that the doll artists Jodi and Richard Creager use the Krylon #1311 Matte Finish on the dolls that they make. They use it on super sculpy to set the chalks they use for coloring. It seems to work for them. Jenny P



(please use the ctrl + F page-search function on your keyboard to find the many other references to embossing powders on this page!)

NOTE: "embossing powders" are not the same as mica powders (like Pearl Ex), nor as very fine glitters, though they often come in in similar little bottles, and often look the same).
...these powders react to heat, becoming liquid when heated (granules become solid, self-leveling puddles)... the melted powders harden when cool.
......... if they are applied heavily to clay surfaces, they may need to be contained in a flat and depressed area, or dammed area...otherwise they can run where you don't want them

Embossing powders can be found at craft stores, rubberstamping stores, and art supply stores?... and online

Embossing powders (clear or colored ones) can be used in a number of ways with clay. ...they can be:
--mixed into the clay --usually the colored ones (see sub-sub-category below for "explosions" of color) ... (can also be mixed into 2 pt. expoxy glue then molded)
--applied onto unbaked clay ...don't use too much or will look pebbly after baking...(must seal afterward if subjected to stress or will flake or get scratched up)
--applied onto baked clay in various ways
......using liquid clays (same way as usual when embossing)... to melt, bake 275, 15 min.
.......various adhesives like special embossing pens (thick or thin) that cause the powder to stick wherever the pen has drawn (glycerin--plain or with dye inks) will work for this, and someone said ordinary ball point ink works too... mineral oil and ArmorAll (silicone) and even water can work if done quickly ... and possibly just rolling hot baked clay in powder)... also clear mediums, Future, etc.
....or use the "clear" pigment ink stamp pads with stamps--then put back in oven to melt the powder.
....used as backfill (see below in "Inclusions...Explosions")
--used to make colored "glazes" ... over acrylic paints to made them resemble enamel....or simply as a sealer (though will be scratchable)

(to color embossing powders yourself --while powder or when melted-- especially clear UTEE, see below in UTEE)
(to intensify colors of mica powder --also embossing powders? --see above in Pearl Ex for adding black Pearl Ex to it, or 'Ivory black' artist's pigment powder, at 100 to 1 ratio)

melting, baking, heat guns

unpredictability the oven, different embossing powders seem to liquefy at different temps
....... a few have melted well at polymer curing temp and produced predictable results, but so far very few. Kim K.
I'm never sure how a particular embossing powder is going to look till after it's baked... embossing powders have a way of surprising you. Joani
...many of the embossing powders we used changed colors, or otherwise looked different after baking (...some brands may be worse for this?)

You can double or triple emboss diff. colors of powder on the same piece , but bake between each powder (heat gun or oven?)
.......many stampers emboss in one color, melt the powder.... then emboss in a different section in another color (or clear) and melt again. Pay close attention though, if you melt the embossing powder too much, it will scorch and lose it's nice dimensional effect.

oven baking to melt powder (rather than heat gun) ...especially for some materials or techniques?
.......I applied embossing ink to a baked clay piece... then the powder ..... then baked in the oven at 250-275
.......I removed it as soon as powder melted (couple of minutes) ....
....I bake mine at 260 degrees for about 20 min
.......after about 10 min (if I've preheated the oven), I check on the powder every 2- 3 min
......... if left in the oven even 1-2 minutes longer after metling, the edges will darken

...jenleviel's use of a heat gun to partially set some (metallic) embossing powder on parts of a mask to keep it from running when baked in oven

heat gun ("embossing gun") from the rubberstamp section at Michaels, etc.
......(normally used for heating embossing powders on paper)... it's long (about 10"), no handle .... it doesn't look like a hair dryer
....don't keep your embossing gun in one spot too long if using on polymer clay. Mathilda determine how far away to hold the gun to heat the piece to the clay curing temp of 275 degrees, Kathleen said she set an oven thermometer in front of the heat gun
...I apply clear embossing ink to baked clay, makinge sure it's not anywhere I don't want it ... then bake for 7-8 min at 250 or until it changes to the finished texture (melted). Adrienne
....hotter guns... heat guns purchased at a hardware store generally can produce a much higher heat (up to 600° or so) than an embossing heat gun (although they could be held farther away, still could be tricky)

Let your piece cool completely between applications of embossing powder, until you get the hang of it. Mathilda

Does melted embossing powder set right away, or can you manipulate the almost-set liquid a little?
.. I was wondering about adding rough textures by squiggling a toothpick..maybe making little peaks, bubbles, etc MelissaJ can do a lot with it IMMEDIATELY after it's heated...texture, use rubber stamps or other "imprinting" objects, but the time will be very short (you can re-heat it though) ... and if your piece is large enough you can aim the heat gun at a single spot to just reheat the portion you want to work on. can also layer colors of embossing powders too for various effects. Barbe

oh yeah, don't touch your pieces with embossing powder while they are hot. The embossing powder is a liquid at clay baking temp -- it will burn AND stick to your skin. Resist the urge to touch it while it is hot

metallic embossing powders can sometimes get a 'tarnished' look probably from the heat. Adrienne
...It's been my own experience tho, that the metallics don't look as metallic when being in the oven for so long. She wanted the powders to melt and fill in some of the textures and be bright and shiny. I thought she would have better control with the heat gun. Kim2

adhesives to hold the powders

Embossing powder can be held on an intended surface by any material sticky enough (which will also stay sticky long enough) to allow excess powder to be blown away or tapped off).
...these slow-drying/sticky materials can be drawn with, stamped on, or spread out
Various materials will work:.

special "embossing" inks and pens (which already contain a sticky "embossing liquid")...fairly inexpensive
...embossing pens, and (thick or thin) embossing markers
...pigment ink in stamp pads is also sticky enough (use "clear," or a color)... apply to stamps, then stamp on surface, add powder, eetc.
.......dye inks don't work though...they're not sticky
...(squeeze?) bottles of plain clear embossing liquid (sold as "re-inker" for refilling stamp pads?)'s quite thick
.......guess you could get some of that directly on a finger or brush, then spread just where you want it

glycerin works just as well as the special "embossing inks" for adhering embossing powders to a surface
....... (maybe glycerin actually is "embossing liquid" --thank you, Jody Tice!)
... you could dip your pen or brush into glycerin, write, and then melt embossing powder on the lines??
...or apply to a stamp pad (or on a dye ink inkpad), or with a brush, etc.

mineral oil or ArmorAll (silicone) can work too, it's been reported?
......even water if you work quicky... all you really want is for the beads to be damp enough for the powder to stick!

ink from an ordinary ball point pen works too because it stays sticky long enough

certain kinds of colored paint/ink brush markers that are sold for applying color to rubberstamps ..stay sticky long enough to apply to whole stamp (often diff. colors in diff. areas)

can use a (ordinary) felt tip (pen?)... which types?...quickly?

any liquid adhesive (or material which acts like an ahdesive) applied thinly, and which can tolerate some heat should work
(should always let adhesive dry with embossing powder on it before heating?)
....glue or sizing.... glue sticks
....clear acrylic mediums ... acrylic paint .... clear nail polish?
.... Future floor polish ...while wet, sprinkle with embossing powders, or microfine glitter.... let Future dry...... tap off excess .....bake
... Varathane? treat same way? (these okay with heat from embossing gun since short-term?... or better to melt in oven?) ... more below

liquid clay.. bake at 275 for 15 min?

it may work just to roll hot baked clay into embossing powders, then rebake (see below in Solid Coverage, etc. for more on this)

toner (from a photocopier or from a printer that uses toner)
.... or inkjet ink from a regular printer if it's printed onto vellum, or perhaps other less-porous papers as long as the toner or ink are still hot/sticky
...example of using an inkjet print of text on vellum, then applying embossing powder and melting it,,HGTV_3228_2310608,00.html
...could always place the embossed vellum on top of a decorative sheet of baked polymer clay instead

embossing powders are hard to remove (from clay) if spilled somewhere not wanted...
....."erase" the powders or waxes with a tiny bit of Sculpey-Softener/Diluent (or alcohol) if they get where you don’t want it and they're not melted

... there is one brand of white embossing powder that I have used more then once that works very well, but you have to remember that it spreads out, so only use a tiny bit). Kim K.

ON RAW CLAY especially:
I use embossing powder on unbaked clay ... complete coverage:
. . . I roll out the clay sheet... stamp the pattern (or texture)... then rub in the EP all over, making sure it gets into all the crevices (I don't use a lot of powder though)... if it's a piece I can move, I tap off the excess to reduce the blow-away amount
........ I (melt) the powder a bit with the heat gun .... and later bake the whole piece
.........for this mask, I did all the embossing on the mask itself (which did bake the rest of the clay a bit but that worked out okay).
... In my experience, as long as you don't overdo it with the EP, enough powder will stay on the surface of the unbaked clay to get the effect you want once you use the heat gun.
(I confess that I've never tried using EP on unbaked clay then just baking it as usual; I've always thought that it wouldn't get evenly embossed that way, though I could be wrong!)
(I suppose that it could work to do the embossing after baking the whole piece, but I've also never done it that way, either.) . .

I use embossing powders on top of unbaked clay all the time
....they bake just fine, but give a
pebbly effect on the surface (if you use too much?). Dotty

embossing powders can be used with liquid clays on top of baked clay in the usual embossing way
. . Marie R's lesson on drizzling-drawing (a tree) onto baked clay with LS, pulling some of the lines out with a needle tool, then covering with embossing powder (she used a "snowflake type") ...tap off excess, and bake again (275 F for 15 minutes)

in cells...Rob & Meslissa's "stained glass" using liquid clay and embossing powders
(...more on using EP's on baked clay below)

paint Future on just the areas you want the (embossed) effect on (leaving the other parts dry) after baking your clay
... then sprinkle the embossing powder on it (I used holographic powder).
... let the Future dry.... tap off the excess powder... cure a second time (that way you can highlight certain areas and have a bit of control over it).
(....the Future should also seal the powders)
(...see below for attaching powders with water or glycerin or mineral oil or Armour All ---without automatically sealing)

(for using clear embossing powder with polymer clay, see UTEE below)

solid coverage, patches, antiquing, etc

"plating" . . . I've dipped silver clay into silver embossing powder and baked... looks like it's coated with silver (the metal)!
... I've also used gold powder on ivory, yellow, orange and white clays, and they look gold-plated.
...I found that the best metallic-looking effects are using powders on same/similar or very light shades of clay.
…embossing powder before I baked them.... I used silver on some balloon-shaped pieces, and they came out looking like mylar balloons!

.."faux soldering" (fun with melting pot) (to hold together two glass slides or several layers of clear embossing powder that's been melted and cooled, perhaps with something encased between the layers)
...I have made bicone beads and rolled the edge in gold embossing powder and it looks like metal when baked.Pauline
....I thought I might try some for highlighting too

Sharon rolls hot baked beads in ArmorAll, then in embossing powder, and rebakes for completely covering them.... hey come out very smooth and shiny!
(If you can get buy with a shorter bake time, you can coat them with the embossing powder before you bake them in the first place)!
. .watch out for bubbles when you wet the beads though (...if your water or Armour All has bubbled up, it can keep the bubble when it cooks).

One of the things that I found was that if the beads were fresh out of the oven, just dipping them in the powder was enough to coat them.
....I'd recommend embossing ink (or glycerin or mineral oil?) though instead of water because they're will dry slowly so that you can emboss easily. Lexi
…Beads done this way come out with a beautiful shine and don't need to be coated with anything else to look good! However, I have gone back and coated mine with Future for a little added protection. I dried the Future on the beads in a warm oven for 2 to 3 minutes. By warm I mean 200 degrees or so. Not hot enough to start cooking the clay again, or the powder! Sharon

I've also been doing some experimenting with embossing powders on the surface of clay, and I've found that again, the PSX powders work great. I just roll "scrap" clay into beads, roll them in the powder and bake as usual.
...Made some AWESOME verdigris beads this way! . . . The powders with the finer grain do seem to get oozy, but I've also found that a very light sanding takes care of that. Even though the powders are said not to melt below 300 degrees F, they do melt enough to give an interesting surface to the clay.

I have made bicone beads and rolled the edge in gold embossing powder and it looks like metal when baked. Many people get interesting results mixing embossing powders into the clay and in Gwen Gibson's tape on Ancient Images, she uses silver embossing powder as background/base for her etched pins. Pauline Botelho

patches....If covering beads, try using a piece of (4x 12") velvet ...(masking tape on the edges will stop any fraying)
....pour a small amount of different colored powders at intervals along the velvet, leaving space between the colors so they won't mix.
...gently roll the beads in the desired color area (the velvet pile holds the excess and released a small amount to the bead)
...when finished, fold the long edge over the powder spots and roll up for later use.

I went and studied the leaf I did with the silver embossing powder... it sort of looks a little like crackled foil and has little silver flecks all over it... and in some places- especially the raised parts, have more silver than others.
... I just dusted the mold with a soft brush dipped in the powder before squishing the clay in. I used black clay, and with the silver in bits all over it, it looks kind of antiquey- like tarnished silver..... . .It doesn't appear to have "bloomed" too much, but I wasn't trying to get the embossing powder in any specific place on the leaf.

....You could also emboss with one method (e.g. powder on stamp), then add more powder with other methods.

Use embossing powder for highlighting a the upper areas of textured/stamped surface instead of Rub'N Buff or mica powders??

"antiquing"...The other day, I was using one of my flower molds, and for the leaf, I used a little bit of silver embossing powder as the releasing agent.... When it baked, the powder had melted into the little lines of the leaf- it looked pretty kewl. .... I imagine this kind of effect wouldn't look as good with faces, but I think I'll buy Judy's angel mold and try it on the wings.
...I wonder what the clear (glossy) embossing powder would do .If you ever get around to trying these powders on angel or butterfly wings, let me know how they work.

...backfill: Nancy also demonstrated a method of coloring the recesses of inclusion clay that's carved (or stamped?).
....paint your baked clay with acrylic paint, then carve. Fill the carved areas with a contrasting color of acrylic paint (your final color for the carved area). Let dry thoroughly, then run under warm/hot water and use a Buff Puff facial scrub pad (or store brand at Walgreens, Longs, etc.) to take off the paint on the upper surfaces, leaving it in the carved crevices.

I make what I call clay cloisonne with a negative mould of the stamp used to make what looks a lot like another stamp, and then filling in with colored embossing powders. See the's page 'stamping with clay' for an example.
...faux cloisonne.... I baked the piece, and then painted the low lying areas with acrylic paints ..... and then covered them in clear embossing powder (UTEE) ..... After baking the piece for about 5-10 more minutes, it looks like enamel work.
(... but may scratch easily, but is still recessed, so better?)
(... see also Rob & Melissa's "stained glass" using liquid clay and embossiing powder just above

Donna Kato dabs acrylic paint on clay, lets dry.. then pasta machines to crackle it (or could use various inks, Future, etc.)
....... (see much more on this in Paints > Crackling)
...Nancy B. then uses embossing powder(s) over the surface... it will stick to clay in between the crackles of leaf, and look like leaf is floating over powder

I use embossing powders on top of unbaked clay all the time....they bake just fine, but (some can?) give a pebbly effect on the surface. Dotty

Nancy Banks sometimes mixes embossing powders into 2-part epoxy glue (like Devcon...30 min. setting type) with a stick
...she then uses this in a mold made from silicone ... wrap aluminum foil(?) (won't stick to epoxy)... can wet sand, if needed... clear and very interesting

can also use with transfers? (geometric or pictorial)

resist... masking

Some materials will act as a resist to embossing powders and/or metallic powders and metallic waxes, alcohol inks, some dye inks, some paints, etc

batik effects ... try patterns of any of the following non-permanent substances on a white clay background (or any color desired)... then add a permanent coloring to the whole area... after drying and/or baking, rinse or scrub off the pattern areas with water (or perhaps added soap?)

embossing ....draw, stamp, or sponge patterns you want on the clay with clear or colored pigment inks
..... dump on a clear or colored embossing powder and shake off excess, then heat to melt it
..... add desired background (for example, colored alcohol inks) over whole area
.....embossing powder patterns can be left in place (whether clear to show through to clay color beneath, or to show the embossing ink color)... or they can be removed by melting them or washing/scrubbing off

..Elizabeth's lesson
.....first stamp main image (& background designs) with clear or pigment ink
.....pour on clear embossing powder, knock off excess, and melt
.....wash and/or coat surface with inks (...the embossed lines will resist inks and remain their original color, but the rest of the background or unembossed areas will absorb the inks)
Letters & Inks > Other Uses

Repel Gel and "ca debonders" (cyanoacrylate glue remover, etc.) may be able to act this way as masking for powders or paints/inks or just about anything, etc. (but can't be used on liquid clay)
...Judy Belcher makes mudcloth beads by applying lines of RepelGel with a small brush to a baked white bead, dabbing on brown then black alcohol inks and letting dry... then scrubbing off the ink on top of the Repel Get with water and a stiff brush
(for more on, see Glues > CA Debonders)

One of my latest tests was with Masquepen....this masking fluid can be applied to raw clay
....either left to dry and then removed before baking
....or applied and left on while baking.
Either way, it can be removed (after applying paints, etc ) to reveal the untreated spaces.
....I'm now writing a book which will show different looks with the technique.. with the many inks,paints, etc I've collected. Ellen Marshall

We silkscreened a resist (gouache?) on raw clay where we didn't want embossing powder to stay... then put embossing powder on the raw clay (to which it stuck) (& removed the rest) ...then cured
...after it cooled, we removed the resist.... NICE!!! Seth

other resists could be crayons or wax (melted or paraffin)
...or gum arabic (mix with water to heavy cream consistency)

..washable white glues (Elmer's School Glue) should work this way as well

(info on create silkscreen masks with PhotoEz or with regular screens is in Transfers)

(....see more on ways to "mask" in Cutters-Blades > Stencils,Masking)

as inclusions in clay
(......see also regular Inclusions page?......)

To mix embossing powders into clay .....(generally in to translucent clays)
... Donna Kato places the in the powder in the center of a flattened pad of clay
... then gently scrunches the excess clay over to enclose it .....folds into a log... then folds-and- logs until thoroughly mixed in

Tonja has samples of embossing powders mixed into translucent clay... raw? (it's (Judi-Kins powders, which she also sells) of the Judi-Kins powders themselves

We first mixed various embossing powders into translucent clay in a Lindly Haunani class long ago.

I'm never sure how a particular embossing powder is going to look till after it's baked... embossing powders have a way of surprising you. Joani
...many of the embossing powders we used changed colors, or otherwise looked different after baking (...some brands may be worse for this?)

Most (all?) of those powders from Lindly's class on inclusions developed tiny "explosions of white" all over the surface of the clay during baking (oozing?).
.... the white bursts can be reduced greatly by sanding after baking though. DB
...... amount of explosion may have depended on the baking time? DB
......some brands tend to have larger explosions than others (like Comotion).... those have " DB find_" in them as an ingredient. Margaret D.
...... and silver embossing powder seems to (explode) "ooze" a lot no matter which brand it is.
We concluded that the powders that work best for this have a fairly large-ish grain ... smallish-grain not so good (after much experimentation, Donna's class)

Donna's favorite powder is marketed under the name Personal Stamp Exchange (in the "Tapestry" colors - they also have some plain colors, but the tapestry ones give a great organic effect to the clay)
....Lindly and Nancy B. have used Embossing Powder Candy Store powders (200 colors).. new name and exclusive producer/distributor of inks which used to be called Think Ink.

In Lindly's class, we actually caned with the embossing-powder-inclusion clays.
... sometimes we also visually separated the logs and other cane components before assembly by wrapping them with solid color clay . Diane B.

Nancy Banks mixes embossing powders into white or pearl (or beige) clays, as well as into translucent her demo, she said the inclusion method works well with light colored clays, but not with dark clay colors.
to mix in her powders, she places a sheet of raw clay on top of some spread-out powder (on paper)
..... then picks up and folds over and over, with powder to the inside, (through pasta machine?) to mix thoroughly
...other tips from Nancy..... clay with embossing powders mixed in will NOT show fingerprints!

embossing powder sheets make good backgrounds under transfers, geometric or pictorial. Nancy Banks
......Gwen Gibson's Ancient Images video silver embossing powder (mixed into clay?) as background-base for her etched transfers

Heather's lesson on making an onlay of faux sand by mixing brown embossing powder into translucent clay .....
...she also uses blues and greens into translucent clay to simulate leaves and ocean water

simulate stone
Donna Kato has suggested using these combinations:
...cobalt powder in translucent clay to simulate lapis
...Weathered White into black clay for black granite.
...verdegris into translucent for green granite
Nancy B. suggests:
...small amount of gray powder(silver or black?) into white clay for marble (...rather than mix completely though, just marble the clay a bit until get streaks)
....(reddish color?) embosssing powder into beige clay to simulate sandstone
Katherine Dewy's s
.... 1 part Ecru, 1 part White, 1/4-1/2 Brown Granitex clays..... brown, copper, or white embossing powders are another nice touch for sandstones and shales....for additional texture, add sand to it or grind up baked clay made from the blend above (and add that).
...for some stones, can get best to use more than one color or shade to get variation in the coloration

embossing powders of several colors used as inclusions in translucent clay to make (roughly shaped) buttons (stone-like, jade-like, etc.)

I mixed clear embossing powder into black clay, and baked it in a flat pendant shape. The result was a flat black sheet that looked like water droplets pr rain drops had been baked on it! ...The effect was bizarre... I imagine that effect would look amazing if you had a pattern underneath.
....I then attached on top of it another piece of baked clay with TLS (squashing it?), and rebaked it ...(came apart easily?) this time the water droplet thingies kinda merged together into droplets with less circular, more random shapes (also, after the second bake, the EP has become waxy. I can peel it off like wax, and it is quite soft). Sera x

Nancy Banks also showed us the embossing powders can be mixed into two-part epoxy glue (like Devcon), and then put into silicone molds for shaping....when hard, the epoxy can be polished (but will never have a totally glassy finish)... looks very interesting and somewhat clear for the inclusions though.

Embossing powder does not stick to metallic leaf if you apply it like this:
......put foil on clay and run it through the pasta machine so that you have cracks that the clay shows through.
.....sprinkle embossing powder on clay and then tap or brush the excess off..... Bake! This has some really cool applications and lots of potential. Dotty McMillan from Kathy Amt?
....The embossing powder will stick to the clay inbetween the crackles, making it look like the foil is floating on the powdered surface (the one I saw had colored powder, but clear might be cool too. )

Nancy Banks has dozens of index cards with the samples of her experiments with embossing powders (EPs) attached.
.......she also glues a sample of the baked result onto the cap of each bottled powder (mixed into translucent at least)

sealing (embossing powders)

The melted embossing powder itself doesn't necessarily need sealing
...(however)... embossing powder surfaces do not stand up well to wear or use
.......they will flake or peel off or become scratched sometimes) so I would recommend applying a glaze to finished polymer pieces with any pieces that will be used or handled (beads, pens, jewelry boxes that you will take the lid on and off a lot)
...both regular (and ultra-thick embossing powder, UTEE) embossing (powder) enamel can be scratched from fingernail pressure

.......using a layer of
Varathane over the embossing powder minimizes but does not eliminate the score or scratch.
.... ....I would not use it for jewelry or anywhere I expected high wear, but I'm making cookie cutter snowflakes for christmas cards and ornaments and they'll be used once a year for a few years; when they get scratched or broken, they'll get chunked out. Gillian

????When I first started out with polyclay I thought I had found a great and shiny finish using clear embossing powders (was this baked?).
.....the problem for me was that the finish tends to "bloom" like colored pencils do. I think this describes the wax in the substance coming to the surface (some brands only?). It wipes off but keeps happening. Maybe the newer powders have a better formulation though.

Kris Richard's lesson on using UTEE as a clear top coating for dichroic-effect pin made with foils

( ...for applying powder onto wet Future on clay, for both embossing and sealing in one step, see above under ON RAW CLAY)

Watch out putting it any embossing powder onto the top surface of anything (if it's not somehow contained)
....when heated, it has a tendancy to spread and run on the clay if it gets just a tiny bit too hot.... or if it spends too long in the heat. Crafty Owl

(... see more on using UTEE as a finish, in Finishes > Other Liquid Finishes)

UTEE ...(the CLEAR, thick embossing powder)
("Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel")

(for the moment, see more on UTEE --especially when used as a clear finish-- in Finishes > UTEE )

UTEE is a clear embossing powder which is composed of larger particles than the the regular embossing powders
It can be used in many ways, some of which involve polymer clay....

UTEE and any color embossing powders are not very scratch resistant by themselves with wear, abraision, etc. (see just above)
...they can be sealed with Varathane (or Future) to make them less scratch resistant
...or UTEE Flex can be added to them to improve this, but they'll still scratch some.

stamping stores carry UTEE
.... Michael's also carries UTEE, though it is in a very obscure place on the bottom shelf of the rubber stamp pads.... It often gets shoved back so people can't even see it. Val

colors and coloring UTEE (or other embossing powder colors)
...UTEE itself only comes in a few colors (?)
...but you can make your own colored UTEE:
...Tim Holtz adds sev. drops of alcohol ink to his powder UTEE in a cup, stirring quickly with popscicle stick until alcohol evaporates and mix is smooth
....use more ink for lighter colors, less for darker ....can use more than one color ink in mix...,1789,HGTV_3225_3857589,00.html (fig. A)

...mica powders (Pearl Ex, etc.) can be mixed into the clear embossing powder (can also add in hotpot?)
...........e.g., fill half an empty film canister with clear embossing powder, then mix just less than a 1/4 tsp of their Pearlex in with that.
....or add other pigment powders (add to UTEE before pot)
....great to be able to match your powders with any detailing on your clay. Petra
....add a few drops of heat-set ink (transparent, dye based, acid-free ink) ..same as their "special ink"?
..... "other dye inks may not be heat resistant and maintain color consistency in melted UTEE"...Ranger Heat Set Inks will work but reforumulated to take out the solvent for their special inks.. may hiss and spit and bit)
... intensify colors of mica powder --also embossing powders? --see above in Pearl Ex for adding black Pearl Ex to it, or 'Ivory black' artist's pigment powder, at 100 to 1 ratio
(for using embossing powders as "inclusions" in translucent, pearl or light-colored clays --see above in "Inclusions")

You can use UTEE on any surface that won’t melt with heat..
...e.g., to create a backgrounds on paper, cardboard/stocks, or clay, etc
...use a liquid glue or acrylic paint & paint brush... or use another adhesive mentioned above to draw/paint something, then coat with 1 or more layers of UTEE

There is a small electric Teflon coated "melting pot" for embossing powders now, by Ranger --costs about $35 (can use Michaels 40% off coupon) & accessories
...(same as the old melting pot for hot glue but diff. shape and has liners ...can also use for soap, wax, glue, batik wax, beeswax, even chocolate --for foods, use a separate tray) heats to 340 degrees
.......other pots can be used, but if not non-stick, won't be the same again (see below***)
...melted powder can be used (while hot?) on fabric, glass, wood, etc...even shrink plastic after shrinking
..the liner trays for the melting pot are non-stick, and sold separately?
... they also sell a silicone spatula to help remove melted powder from pot trays...or remove just a bit with spoon or craft stick
...heat resistant mat ( Silpat?, or use Teflon baking sheet...the old hot glue silicone mats probably work too)...sold separately to place any item with hot embossing powder on which will spill over, so that it can be pulled up easily (and the rest returned to the pot)
...UTEE Flex can be added to UTEE in the melting pot to make it slightly more durable (otherwise it scratches easily)
...... an acid free resin (acid free) ...(the jar says 1-2 scoops but Suze Weinberg says that is way too much: "...don't overdo the amount of FLEX ...1/2 scoop is more than enough in the pot...too much and the melted UTEE becomes very thick, gooey and hard to pour” ) ... and
..... Michael's also carries UTEE, though it is in a very obscure place on the bottom shelf of the rubber stamp pads. It often gets shoved back so people can't even see it. Val
...more on using a (Teflon-lined) hot pot, see (look under Tips, click on Hot Pot)
...general info (& lessons on transfers, encasing): not stir while heating (= bubbles)
...the pot it might be useful for some things, but seems that you'd have to use only clear embossing powder in it all the time, or waste powder by having to add color to a reasonably large amount it because of the size (can the colored liquid powder be saved at least after it's set?)
*** might want to line with foil, and/or put (UTEE or whatever) in small tins (like tuna or cat food cans) inside it. Donna S. (to use smaller amounts?)

...can use to dip baked clay (hold with tweezers, let drip a bit, remove to non-stick surface... remove marks from tweezers by hitting briefly with heat gun... can cut edges to smooth... coat with Varathane to lessen scratchability if desired)
...shrink plastic can be dipped before shrinking as well, and it will shrink and eventually flatten out,1789,HGTV_3352_1399704,00.html

...inclusions, can also put all kinds of things in between levels of UTEE, like:
.......paints, foils, heat-resistant glitters,mica powders, heat-set inks ...even objects or dried flowers, tiny beads, bits of text, magazine or other photos, handwriting, etc.
....or those can be added to the liquid embossing powder before pouring from the melting pot. Sheila

...molds...can also pour embossing powder into silicone molds coated with glycerin, embossing ink, or Versamark (paint), brush-on Pearl Ex, etc.
...... (or use molds of any resistant material, including polymer clay?...emb. powder will cool a bit from the 340 degrees it was heated to as it's poured, or maybe the releases form a buffer?) ... let cool and pop out ??

.....adhesives for holding embossing powders till metled (or applying molded embossing powder shapes) = anything sticky and/or wet
......e.g., glycerin, embossing ink, any liquid adhesive or glue stick, acrylic paint

..create deep impressions into warm (or hot?) melted embossing powder with stamps, etc... maybe in 3rd or 4th layer?
......with ink... in the 3rd or 4th layer, pressed pre-inked stamp (embossing ink, Versamark or pigment ink) into the still hot UTEE ...hold just a moment, then pull off
.......can also use metallic rub-ons or Pearlex to highlight
...stamped glaze technique...just use pigment ink on stamp..after removing stamp, reheat the UTEE so that the impression melts away and surface becomes smooth again but the inked design remains. (metallic inks look awesome on black). (Kimberly Ayers)

...faux cloisonne.... I baked the piece, and then painted the low lying areas with acrylic paints
..... and then covered them in clear embossing powder (UTEE)
..... After baking the piece for about 5-10 more minutes, it looks like enamel work.
(I carved my texture sheet out of PZ Cut, which is a white eraser-like material...). Trish
(... but may scratch easily, but is still recessed, so better?)

...faux soldered slide mounts (dip sides of glass, or even layers of UTEE with embedded dried flower, into melting pot with silver powder, etc.)

.....I stamped on Sculpey III for xmas presents and painted them with Radiant Pearls (metallic paints which don't dry on non porous materials ...see Paints>Metallics). . . . After 3 weeks they still weren't dry so I poured clear embossing powder over them and threw them back in the oven for 15-20 min. Turned out like glass. Tonni

lots of info & lessons on using this type of embossing powder (look under Tips) a resist for alcohol inks and some dye inks can be made by
....first stamp main image (& background designs) with clear ink or pigment ink
... pour on clear embossing powder, knock off excess, and melt
... then wash and/or coat surface with inks (embossed lines will resist inks and show through their original color, but the rest of the background or unembossed areas will absorb the inks)
Elizabeth's lesson
Letters & Inks > Alcohol Inks > Other Uses

(for a little more info on using UTEE, see Finishes > Other Liquid Finishes)

PLASTIC (acrylic) powders ... heat-set

D'UVA ChromaCoal Powders ...(acrylic) plastic in powder form
(16-20 colors) (middle pg)
... can be used in various ways, then heat set at 225 (become sticky and fuse to surfaces)
....can be applied to clay like Pearl Ex or chalk powders or used as "paints"
....if left in contact with raw clay for half an hour or longer, powder will become sticky and fuse to surface so could also be used as a ... then heat to finish & to remove stickiness layer will be matte... several layers (each baked separately) will create a high sheen (like a ceramic tile)

....can be used to color in a b&w transfer on clay or decal (lesson) ...


After baking (and sometimes before), you can use the Rub 'N Buffs, Treasure Gold metallics (or Mini-Metallic strips of 7 colors), or acrylic paints in tubes--I've used mostly the metallic and interference ones. Rubbing Burnt Umber or another brown into the crevices then wiping the excess from the top gives an antique look (see antiquing below). Kim Korringa has a faux copper technique in which she stamps on a random shape of blue-green clay, then rubs Copper Rub 'N Buff over the raised areas and bakes; she seals after baking with Future). Also see Shaneangel's neat "lumpy beads" at this website: (gone).

Kris Richards' long triangle onlays curved into shapes, then given metallic wax covering (bottom)
Melnik's jar covered with molded items and Rub 'N Buff
(website gone)

Gilder's Art Pastes ....& .Rub 'N Buffs ....& Treasure Golds... & Renaissance Wax

metallic rub-on waxes (....mostly shades of gold, but also silver, copper and other colors)

--buy at craft stores, art supply stores, & mail order
(--there are some differences in ingredients and uses)
--can be applied before baking, but generally it's after baking
--dry at least 12 hrs. before buffing (or will remove too much... not completely "cured")
--avoid getting oil from hands, etc., on surface (before or after applying?... can darken with time?)
--can use sealers like Varathane, Future...some may not be needed if not subject to friction
--can also try shoe polishes (not metallic though)

--can use for complete coverage or highlighting (as with powders)
--apply with finger (then wash with soap), or a disposable brush (or toothbrush if clay is baked, and you want complete coverage)
--Gilder's Paste can also be used as antiquing or thinned and used as a stain

..."bronze" powders (real-metal powders, made mostly from copper) are the usual pigment for making things like Treasure Gold or Rub-N-Buff
....... these powders
will tarnish somewhat over time .......can be sealed though
carnauba wax (kar-NAW-ba)... plant-based wax from leaves of Brazilian palm tree ....the hardest natural occurring wax ... more glossy than some...brittle(?) yellowish-clear wax often used for car and floor polishes

Baroque Art Gilders Paste's supposed to be superior to Rub 'N Buff?
concentrated metallic and organic pigments in a wax base
....28 colors... some metallic, some non-metallic (like Patina--a light blue, and Pinotage --similar to burnt umber)..colors are mixable
...comes in good-sized 27 ml tins (9 fl. oz), for around $7 ea..... odor?
...on very smooth surfaces such as gloss paint, plastic or ceramics, lightly roughen surface with 0000 steel wool or fine sandpaper
...applied with a finger, brushes (including toothbrushes), sponges or cloth (circular motion or lightly dabbed)
...metallic colors don't change during baking, but some "colors" (non-metallics?) do, so apply those only after baking dries to the touch in an hour or less... but fully cures in approximately 12 hours
...can buff after 12 hrs (with soft cloth)...
........ (if left unbuffed after baking), the metallic colors will range from matte to semi-gloss depending on the color ...the non-metallics will be shiny
...can use more Gilder's Paste after baking on an area of baked paste...or layer before baking? esp. if let dry 30-60 min. first
...can also use for antiquing effect by rubbing it off upper areas immediately after application with dry or damp cloth a stain, can be thinned with paint thinner or mineral spirits, then be brushed or washed or sprayed (in varying opacities depending on how much thinner used)
...the editor of "Glitzy Girl Zine" raves about Baroque Gilder's Paste .. says it accepts sealers well. Lukabara
........can seal with finishes such as urethane, clear lacquer and varnish.... or liquid clay
...clean up with soap and water, or paint thinner (....use paint thinner if it's already dried longer than 15 min).
...can also be used on non-polymer surfaces, and outdoors ... lots of interesting information here including use with various media (wood, metal, gourds, etc)
...6 colors now being sold at Donna Kato's site

...Dick Blick also sells this product. It comes in a 92ml (3.1 fl.oz) package for $13.95... I also found the web site for this product. Amy in MA

Rub 'N Buff ...made from carnauba waxes, fine metallic powders, and pigments ...($3-4) comes in small tubes (15 ml, 1/2 fl oz)
...when buying, squeeze the tubes to make sure they’re not rock hard – can dry out if there's a hole in tube
...tubes may need shaking up or stirring with a toothpick if the first bit to extrude from the tube is very liquid.
...the metallic rub-ons are slightly different textures and spreadability from color to color. of the bronzes is almost like toothpaste in consistency, and some of the other colors are more like, oh, maybe soap.
..... MaryJo showed us an Altoid tin that she'd used the copper Rub 'n Buff on which was beautifully smooth....a few others didn't work out so well. Randi's best to put on thin layers....they dry (to the touch) pretty quickly, and you can put on as many coats as you need. I was impatient so sort of globbed mine on and spread it around which did NOT work as well.... Randi
....these have a slightly solventy smell
...I have noticed that if I apply them before baking, they may change color slightly. Don't remember which ones, or how they changed.. Irene
(..the "Chinese Red" Rub ‘N Buff isn’t what you would expect; it’s a dark ugly brownish red!) online source for all colors

Treasure Gold ...wax-based, metallic rub-on hard-ish paste... much stiffer and more solid than Rub "n Buff .... comes in small twist-off-top round containers...thin or remove using turpentine or white spirit (can dry out if not tightly closed)

Renaissance Wax .....only wax on the market that does not contain oil....not a traditional wax (...traditional waxes contain beeswax and/or carnauba wax, which contain oil)...a microcrystalline wax used in restoration and conservation ... won't tarnish?

odor: To my nose, the order of nasal offensiveness is (from worst to best): --Rub 'n Buffs, then Treasure Golds and the old Mini-Metallics Rub Ons (those two are a tie) --new Mini-Metallics Rub Ons (....don't know about Gilder's Paste).
..My old Mini-Metallics have a kind of *really old* crayon smell or something similar; the new ones have some of that smell, but much less obvious . . . But for me at least, the smell is tolerable even though I hav a sensitive nose . . . I'll have to do some experiments to see how the Mini-Metallics change color when baked . . . definitely curious about that. Diane B.

I found this recipe the other day on a stamping page. I haven't tried it on polymer yet but maybe one of you who doesn't like the Rub'N Buff might have more time <G> than me…
homemade Rub'nBuff Cream (Sheryl Davis) --oops, who wrote what? . . . add a few drops of "boiled linseed oil" to some (mica?) metallic powders (such as Pearl Ex or Powdered Pearls), mix to a thick, paste-like consistency. Note: Be sure to use boiled linseed oil as a binder, not raw linseed oil which will not dry after application. ...Store in a small jar with a tight fitting lid.
....To use, apply to desired surface with a soft cloth wrapped around your finger or use a cotton swap for smaller areas. Petra

I was even able to write with a gel pen over a clay surface that had one of those waxy rub-ons like Rub and Buff simply by first heating the surface for 3 seconds with an embossing gun ....then the pens flowed beautifully. Sara Jane in NC

She used a pretty thick coat of Rub n Buff to "paint" the undecorated parts of her tins. I thought that was a pretty interesting concept - looked wonderful, and a less messy option than spray painting them (if you're like me and don't want to cover the whole tin)
...Would it need some sort of base coat underneath? Or sealer on top?
......I don't know off hand - she didn't say, except that it might take a couple of coats to get the desired coverage. DevilsGirl3
After MaryJo McGraw was on Carol Duvall, applying Rub 'n Buff to Altoids tins, people wondered whether you need to apply a finish over it. I took a class with her last weekend, and found out that no, you don't.

I bought my first pasta machine and decided to make something functional earring tree. . . The finish is a combination of rub 'n' buff and some very thin acrylic paint on top of it for the tones. BriAnna



Pigment stamp pads (slow-drying inks) can be used nicely with stamps--gold, silver, copper -- or regular colors.
(I guess regular dye stamp pad ink can be used too, but it would be best to seal that if it will receive much rubbing from clothing or hands)... haven't tried the inks from the paint brush type stamp pens-- might also need to be sealed.

....what about using a whole inkpad for highlighting the raised portion of an impressed image from a stamp (an innie stamp would probably work best because of the thinner lines, but may work well on outies too)
.....additionally, the inked piece could be pressed then into a shallow bit of embossing powder, tapped or pressed firmly down, then rebaked or heat-gunned for a solid melted metallic coating. DB

What about using the inkpads to ink in stencils?

Perahps using embossing pens/markers with the embossing powders to make designs on clay or designs on other things like eggs or glass ornaments?
....just thought of doing some faux filigree around individual cane slices that I sometimes put on colored xmas balls, e.g.. Other ideas?

Desiree's idea... acrylic inks in layers with clay, then carved

I think Sue Heaser or some others talked about using watered-down acrylic paints or india-type inks with a dip pen or fine paintbrush (see Letters-inks).

For metallic paints and watercolor cakes, etc., see Paints > Metallic.

(also see:, Stamping, Lettering/Inks, Paints, Mica, Finishes for non-metallic waxes, Transfers, )