View Full Version : Pigmentation and Mica Powders?

11-07-2013, 12:13 AM
I've seen that many people use pigments for their silicone and paints alike. I have also observed that Pearl-EX brand is brought up frequently. I believe I was reading Jessicas tail making post where Pearlie had stated she was going to try using an eye shadow as it is essentially mica powder. Reading this I assume that Pearl-Ex is nothing more than mica powder right? If this is true could any quality mica do or is Pearl-ex brand just the best? Are all quality pigments built the same?

There is just so much information to absorb! The coloring and painting portion of tail making has me the most lost. Any advice or nuggets of knowledge would be appreciated.

11-07-2013, 12:19 AM

You can mix pigment with latex, silicone, and acrylics to make whatever colors you want. Pearl-Ex is just easy to find in craft stores, but almost any mica powder will work.

11-07-2013, 12:52 AM
This is what I thought. Just was not a 100% sure. I would hate to use just any ol pigment/mica and end up with a mess or it cause an irregularity in the silicone or paint.

I've been eyeing these particular mica powders from TKB Trading Company for a while now for other purposes than tail making. Since they have 200 or so colors it would cut down on mixing as I hear that the process can be bothersome when matching colors if you don't mix enough. From what I've seen they have received great reviews. Also you can get as little as 6oz for $1.50 or a whole Lb for $45. I believe they have pearlescent and fine glitter in large quantities as well. You may not need a whole pound though unless you're about do some hardcore tail crafting.

Has anyone had experience using these?


11-07-2013, 01:20 AM
As long as they're sulfur free they should be fine. Always worth it to do a small scale test though (er - pun not intended) because you never know. And it'd be an awful waste to not test only to find out after all that effort it doesn't work.

11-07-2013, 01:35 AM
THanks for the replies. I totally forgot using sulfur products could ruin the whole thing. Under each color the "more details" link lists all the ingredence so from what i've seen they are sulfur free. A test piece woudl be best to do just incase.

On a side note they have this color shift pigment where it shifts colors

And an iridescent

I wonder how these would fair. If the effect came out as described or close that would be incredible!

11-07-2013, 04:47 PM
I'd love to hear how it turns out! I"m still looking at pigments myself!

11-07-2013, 09:27 PM
Pearl ex is just easy to find online. I've been interested in testing other pigments for awhile.....just haven't gotten around to it yet! The color shifting pigments are really neat. I wonder how they would behave once imbedded in silicone...

11-13-2013, 09:49 PM
I was wondering about eye shadows too. I use NYX and they have some great loose powder shadows that I want to try in my tail. I'm wondering if it's safe to assume eye shadow doesn't have sulfur in it? I have no idea. I'm ordering my silicone tomorrow!

04-25-2016, 06:13 PM
So, this maybe a stupid rookie question, but when pigmenting with iridescent powders, is it best to mix it into the silicone, or powder the mold with it? Iwant the shiniest sparkle possible!

Mermaid Wesley
04-25-2016, 07:41 PM
edit: Why double images idgi

04-25-2016, 08:02 PM
Experiment! I know that's not helpful, but it's a "judge for yourself" kinda thing.

Mermaid Wesley
04-25-2016, 08:24 PM
That too

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04-25-2016, 10:26 PM
Experiment! I know that's not helpful, but it's a "judge for yourself" kinda thing.

Well I like the way your scales look. What do you do?

04-25-2016, 11:00 PM
Me? I experiment.

And I keep my trade secrets. (Not hard to figure out, though.) :mermaid kiss:

04-26-2016, 11:31 AM
Me? I experiment.

And I keep my trade secrets. (Not hard to figure out, though.) :mermaid kiss:
I'm sorry if I offended you with my question :-(

04-26-2016, 11:59 AM
Oh no! You did not offend me! I'm sorry if I made it sound that way!

But it is something I am kind of known for, and it really is a kind of experimentation you should do for yourself on a small - forgive the pun - scale. Some of my scales take up to seven different processes of mixing and layering, not something most mers want to mess with, really.

You do have to be careful with dusting powders onto scales and into molds, because the pigments can act as a release. Since I use the Pearlie Method to build my tails, I only mix up to an ounce of silicone at a time. I'm not sure what practices would be best if you are pouring a scale sheet.

04-26-2016, 12:09 PM
Oh good! I'm not trying to steal anyone's trade secrets. I will be experimenting, most definitely! But I don't have a lot of money to mess around with, so I was looking for advice like the pigment becoming a release agent, or other things that might spell ruined scales and wasted material, or something obvious, like, "if you mix it into the silicone, all the sparkles will dissappear ".
I don't doubt that you have a complicated system, Pearlie, because your scales look Sooo beautiful!

Mermaid Wesley
04-26-2016, 01:29 PM
I think once you get your habds on some silicone and do a few tests you will get the feel for it :)

04-26-2016, 01:57 PM
Here's a tip, don't mix glitter into silicone with pigment, you'll just waste your glitter. Use glitter alone in silicone on top for the best sparkle. :swoon:

04-29-2016, 09:48 PM
I'm in my pigment testing phase and it's really fun! I'm using Peael Ex and working with 3 types of gold and 3 types of white and the differences are subtle but they definitely make a difference. Like even with 2 types of white, I'm finding that if I pigment with one white and paint the top coat on with another it adds a whole layer of dimension that one white alone doesn't have. Also trying out different ratios of pigment:silicone, and each color is different. And learning the texture of the silicone is interesting too.

Overall picture never really show the color depth and variations so it's something you have to just experiment with.