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How to use shimmery, shiny pigment powders (like Pearl Ex)

pearl ex pigment powders

I must admit  that I don't alway buy art materials because I NEED them. I love shimmery and shiny things and these Pear Ex pigment powders are certainly that. So they caught my eye and of course, using my Michaels coupons I had to have a set.

BUT...they sat in my closet for a really long time (as I had no idea how to use them) until I started this series on art materials ​ and what better motivation to learn how to use a material then to write about it.

What I discovered about these Pearl Ex pigments is that there are​ 2 basic ways to use them along with variations.

The first one is to mix it with stuff to add shimmer to the material being mixed with it and the second is to add it to pieces of artwork to give it some sparkle and pizzaz.


Adding some pigment powder to gesso as you see below will give your background page somewhat of a shimmer. Gesso is often used a primer for journal pages and canvases and adding some powder to it makes for a nice background. After you paint on the gesso you can even sprinkle a bit more of the powder to give it some more sparkle as I did in the fourth picture here below.​

gesso and pigment powder
gesso tinted with pigment powder
gesso tinted with pigment powder
gesso tinted with pigment powder

Gel Medium

Gel medium, matte medium and texture paste are often used to push through stencils to get a raised image. If you add some pigment powder to the medium then you get a much more sparkly medium. In the 2 images of the bee  you will the left one is duller. That is before it dried. The shiny one on the right is how it looks when dry, much shinier.

gel medium and pearl ex pigment powder
pushing tinted gel medium through a bee stencils
bee image created with gel medium and pearl ex powder
dried shiny bee image created with gel medium and pearl ex powder
gold pearl ex pigment powder with gel medium
mixing gold pearl ex pigment powder with gel medium
mixing pigment powder and gel medium through a flower stencil
mixture of pearl ex pigment powder and gel medium through a stencil

This is another example and you can see in this large closeup how gorgeous it looks when dry.

close up view of dried medium and pearl ex powder through a  stencil

When I finished mixing the second batch of gold pearl ex pigment powder and gel medium, I was so inspired that I wanted to something else with it besides push it through a  stencil so I quickly made this design with a marker filled 2 spaces with the mixture and then ended up adding all sorts of golds and metallics through the rest of the spaces.

design with black marker filled in with mixture of gel medium and gold pigment powder
design filled with golds and metallics

Embossing Powder

The bottle on the left is embossing powder and the one on the right is pigment powder. If you want to use Pearl Ex for stamping then you need to mix it with embossing poweder.

embossing powder and pearl ex powder
embossing powder and pearl ex powde

This bird  image was covered with a clear embossing ink. I stamped the image onto the card stock, then sprinkled powder mixed with embossing powder over the bird image and brushed away the extra powder with a small size paintbrush.

embossing liquid on clear cling stamp
pearl ex powder on stamped bird image
pearl ex powder on stamped bird image
pearl ex powder on stamped bird image


You can use Elmers or clear glue for this. The main thing is that it needs to have a small opening so you can write with the glue. You then take a brush and some powder and pounce it onto the glue making the glue lines very shiny.

liquid glue and black paper
drawing design with glue on black paper and adding pigment powder
border design made with clear glue and pigment powder

In the image below I looked through my journal to see if there was a page that could use some bling (glittery shine) and added some glue to some spots and then sprinkled some powder over it.

butterfly drawn over fabric
pigment powder added over paint

Here I tried to write my name and made sure to put a lot of powder on top because its hard to get it exact. I then turned over the card and tapped it onto a paper to catch the extra and then used a brush to brush away what was left.

word written in glue
pigment powder on top of glue words
word covered with pigment powder

You can also use a glue stick to get some pigment stuck to your paper if you don't need fine detail.

using glue stick with pigment powder

Glue gun

Using a glue gun I created what can look like gems by heating up the gun and dropping some drops of glue on top of my powders that were already on my craft mat. You can also do a clear drop and then add pigment to it. When dry you just peel them off and use them as embellishments.

I also tried writing with the glue gun as you can see with my Hi.

adding pigment powder to glue gun drops
glue gun drops with pigment powder
pigment powder on word
word with gold pigment powder on top

Spray Adhesive

If you look closely you can see how I laid down the butterfly stencil and then put cards around it to protect the rest of the paper from the adhesive.

I then sprayed the adhesive, lifted the stencil, waited a few minutes and brushed some powder on top.

butterfly stencil
gold pigment powder through  butterfly stencil

What I learned from using Pearl Ex

I learned that it's not such an easy material to use and there is a bit of a learning curve in learning how to use it properly.

I learned that you must use a brush to take pigment from the jar and to brush it way from the image that you are adding it to.

I learned that if you try to use embossing ink without embossing powder mixed with the pigment powder​ then when you brush off the powder, all the powder comes off.

And I learned that just because something is glittery and shiny doesn't mean that it's going to turn out so great. 😉

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1 comment
Sylvia Pelekane says June 30, 2017

Thank you!
Glad I found you! Thank you for sharing!

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