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Using Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments Mini Tutorial

I am doing a gourd ornament using Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments either by themselves or mixed with Memories Dye Inks or Jo Sonja Polyurethane Varnish.  They can also be mixed with acrylic paint . This project was not designed to be an award winning piece of gourd art but only intended to demonstrate how to use the Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments. It will give you an idea of how they look and work alone or mixed with other mediums.
Heat setting the glue

The first area I worked on was the very top using Blue Russet which is a gourdgeous russet with hints of blue. Typically the Russets are more of a red rust but this color is very rich & I like it better than the traditional russet. I opted to use the powder with the Stamp & Stick heat-activated glue.

Since this area is very small I applied Stamp and Stick heat-activated glue with a microbrush but you can use just about any kind of brush or applicator depending on the size of the area you are covering. For large areas you might want to use the Stamp and Stick pad. For this project I used the clear (white) glue. I applied a drop of glue on the tip of the brush and then applied it around the circle. Next step was to use the embossing heat tool to heat set it until it’s sticky (this is very important). This usually takes about 10 seconds.
Applying Pearl Ex
Once the glue is sticky I applied the powder using a soft brush (such as a cosmetic brush) and then brushed off the excess with a soft cotton cloth or tissue. Once the powder is on the gourd it is no longer sticky so you don’t have to worry about fibers from the cloth or tissue sticking. The result is a very deep, rich metallic sheen.

After the I finish applying the powder evenly over the glue I gently tap off any excess back into the jar so it can be used again on another project. If you have the small 3 gram jars you can also tap the excess powder off onto a piece of paper. Then fold it like a funnel to make it easier to get the powder into the small jar. 
Mixing the powder & ink

For the next section on the ornament I decided to mix the Pearl Ex with Memories Ink. I used Aztec Gold Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments mixed with Honey Memories Dye Ink. I use either a plastic palette that has several little cups or one large plastic cup. Either way works but if you are unsure of how much of each to use I recommend the palette with several small cups (shown below) so you can add the ink & Pearl Ex to individual cups & then mix them together in another cup. I use a plastic spatula to mix the two products together. 

As a side note, great product I love using when I want to scoop a small amount of powder out is the "Little
The gold mixture is applied
. These can be found on my website. They are small, but not as small as the mini scoop so they are more versatile.

The more powder you add, the more metallic sheen you will have. There is no magic formula, just mix it until you achieve the amount of sheen you want. It's really trial & error but as you gain experience you will figure it out. Using a Microbrush I applied it directly onto the gourd surface. Every now and then I had a “blob” so I rubbed my finger over it & voila, it disappeared like magic. As I covered each area I heat set it to help it dry quickly so I wouldn't smear it as I moved on to other areas
By mixing the two products together I did not need to use any Stamp and Stick heat-activated glue and heat setting prevents smearing and peeling off. I was amazed at how vivid these are and the shimmer that is achieved with these powders. Of course the amount of shimmer is directly proportionate to the amount of powder you use. More powder, more shimmer.
Pearl Ex mixed with Varnish

The third method I used and probably my favorite was mixing the Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments with Pearl Ex Varnish. I poured a little varnish in my palette and then took a small scoop of Pearl White powder & blended it with the spatula (it really doesn't seem to matter which order you use). I used an angled brush to apply the mixture to the gourd & allowed it to dry naturally. I love using angled brushes so I can do nice clean edges & get into the corners easily.

In the photo above you can see the plastic palette with the small individual cups that I frequently use. It is a great tool to keep on hand. It comes with a clear plastic lid that will keep your paints or other medium fresh if you have any left overs. It is available at most craft supply stores or online.

The varnish dries quickly so by the time I clean up the mess with soap & water it’s dry & I’m ready to move on. The reason I like mixing the varnish and powders is that it’s a one-step process.

The remaining colors on the ornament were done by mixing the Pearl Ex powders with the varnish because it really is one of my favorite ways of using the Pearl Ex.

Once the colors were all done I drilled a tiny hole in the top with a pin vise &
Pin Vise
then added a drop of CA adhesive into the hole & screwed a tiny gold toned screw eye to hold the string. Pin vices are available at most woodworking shops, Home Depot & Lowes. They come in a variety of sizes & styles. I have some very fine ones as well as larger size bits. The size you need is really dependent on the size hole you will be needing
. I suggest that you find a set that comes with a variety of sizes.
The photo on the right shows a larger pin vise with a thick handle. I use this because of all the hand surgeries I've had which make it difficult for me to hold a small grip. This type of vise really is great because it will accommodate just about any size bit.

For this ornament I applied 2 thin coats of Jo Sonja Polyurethane Satin to the entire surface since I had already used this varnish with the powders. For most of my projects I prefer this brush on varnish because I have more control & I don’t get runs or streaks. On ornaments I generally like a spray because they are small & difficult to handle & using a spray is much easier to use especially on small pieces like these.

The steps I use for spraying an ornament with varnish are:

1. Add the hook & string, leather or ribbon to hang the ornament. The hook I
Gold hook & lacing
used is available in most hardware stores & is available in gold or silver.

2. Hang the ornament in an area where I can spray & leave it until it is dry.
3. I slowly spin the ornament & spray evenly to coat the sides, top & bottom. I allow the 1st layer to dry & then repeat the process one more time.
This technique provides a light even coating all around & if you don’t hold the can to close it won’t drip.

For most ornaments I use a gloss finish because it just seems like they should “sparkle” but on my Native American style ornaments I prefer to use a matte finish. My favorite matte spray finish is Americana Sealer/Finisher. It is an acrylic finish that does not yellow & it provides a great finish with minimal odor (but you still need to spray outside of the house). I spray in the garage & leave it there until it is thoroughly dry & any remaining odor dissipates.
All of the Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments are in stock & with photos of color
Americana Gloss
swatches done on gourds. These are the same metallic pigment powders you have seen elsewhere but at a lower price.

Americana comes in both matte & gloss The photo on the right shows the gloss sealer/finisher spray can but the matte comes in a blue can. Americana Sealer/Finisher can be found at many art supply shops or online. It is made by Deco Art but is not as readily available as Krylon. I prefer this much more than Krylon or Deft because it is low odor & the feel of the finish once it dries is much nicer.

This mini tutorial was originally posted on my old blog. I moved it to the new blog & edited it & added some new information. 

I hope you enjoyed this mini tutorial & I hope you will leave a comment!

Happy Gourding,

NOTICE: No portion of the Tutorial contents on this blog including posts on this blog may be copied, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior permission of the publisher and copyright owner, Nedra Denison.
Material from this blog may not be, in part or in whole be distributed, redistributed, published, republished, copied, reproduced, altered or modified and sold or otherwise made available to others in any form for any purposes whatsoever.

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