How to Use Pearl Ex Pigment Powder Tutorial - Using and Applying Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments
Learn some of the Techniques for Using and Applying Peal Ex Powdered Pigments
This project was not designed to be an award winning piece of gourd art but intended only to demonstrate how to use & apply Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments. It will give you an idea of how they look & work alone or mixed with other mediums. This is just a sampling of how you can use them. I suggest you experiment to see other ways you can use these wonderful powdered pigments.
I am doing a gourd ornament using Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments either applied to heat-activated glue, mixed with Memories Dye Inks or Jo Sonja Polyurethane Varnish. They can also be mixed with acrylic paint & many other mediums, glues, etc.
Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments are a transparent.
About this tutorial
This tutorial was done just to give you an idea of some of the things you use to mix or apply the Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments.
As you learn how to use Pearl Ex you will discover how much fun they are to work with, how great they look & how versatile they are. You can also discover that you can adjust the amount of sheen by adding more or using less powder depending on the look you want to achieve.
Grab yourself a scrap piece of gourd, wood or other material & experiment with the Pearl Ex so you have an idea how they work before using them on a good project.
Using Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments with Heat-Activated 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 that hint of blue makes this a very rich color I like it better than the typical Red Rust. I opted to use it with the Stamp & Stick heat-activated glue.
Since this area is very small I applied Stamp & 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 & Stick pad. For this project I used the clear (white) glue. I applied a drop of glue on the tip of the brush & then applied it around the circle. Next step was to use the embossing heat tool heat set it until it’s sticky (this is very important, it MUST be sticky before applying the powder). This process usually takes about 10 seconds.
Once the glue is sticky I applied the powder using a Microbrush& then brushed off the excess with a soft cotton cloth or tissue. You can use just about any kind of soft brush to apply the glue. 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.
For areas where you have fine detail work you can also use Ranger embossing glue pens.
Using Pearl Ex with Memories Dye Inks
The second area I worked on I decided to mix Pearl Ex with Memories Dye Ink which will act as the bonding agent instead of the heat-activated glue.
Since this is going to be a holiday ornament I opted to blend a rich gold color. I mixed Aztec Gold Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments with Honey Memories Dye Ink. I used a plastic palette cup & spatula to mix the two products together & added more powder until I got the amount of "shimmer" I was trying to achieve. I wanted the gold to really "pop" so I used more powder than on the previous area.
Using a Microbrush I applied it directly onto the gourd surface. Every now & then I noticed a “blob” so I rubbed my finger over it gently & voila, it disappeared like magic. As I finish an 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 & Stick heat-activated glue because the ink acts as a bonding agent. The heat setting prevents smearing & peeling off. I was amazed at how vivid these are & 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. As you can see in the bottom photo on the right, this ornament already has a lot of shimmer to it & it looks even better in person.
Mixing Pearl Ex with Varnish
The third method I used & probably my favorite was mixing
Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments with
Pearl Ex Varnish. I poured a little varnish in my palette & then added some Pearl Ex using a small scoop such as the Little Dippers & then blended it with a plastic 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 the angled brushes because I can get a nice clean edge & I can get into tight corners easily.
The varnish dries quickly so by the time I clean up the mess
with soap & water it’s dry to the touch &
I’m ready to move on to the next area.
The reason I like mixing the varnish & powders is that it’s a one-step process & I really don't need to add varnish when I'm finished. Because I used a variety of mediums on this ornament I will end up applying varnish over the entire ornament to ensure everything is sealed.
The remaining colors on the ornament were done by mixing the powders with the varnish.
Adding a hook & spraying the varnish
- Using a pin vise I drill a tiny hole in the top of the ornament to allow a tight fit for the small hook I will be using. Because of all my hand surgery I need something that has a big grip but you can find a wide variety of pin vises in a variety of styles & sizes.
- I insert a small hook (available at stores like Home Depot & Lowes) slightly & then squeeze a drop of CA glue directly on the screw where it connects in the hole & immediately screw it in the rest of the way. This will secure the screw & keep it from pulling out of the hole in the gourd.
- Cut off enough string, leather lacing or ribbon to go through the hook allowing enough to hang it from a tree & then tie a knot at the top. I use a variety of things used to hang depending on the ornament. I have found very thin gold metallic & black lacing in craft shops that I love to se on ornaments. Sometimes I have used very thin ribbon that also works well for hanging ornaments. For southwestern & native american style ornaments I like using leather lacing that you can find at Tandy Leather. It gives it a more natural, earthy look.
- When I'm ready to spray the sealer I hang the ornament in an area where I can spray it safely out of the house. Because ornaments are usually very small I prefer to use a spray varnish which is easier to apply to small gourds. I either use the garage or Al's shop to spray the varnish & I use paper or cardboard to protect the area from the over spray.
- I very gently spin the ornament & spray a very light coat the sides, top & bottom as it spins around. I allow the 1st layer to completely 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 leaving streaks.
For most ornaments I usually use a gloss finish because I think ornaments should be "glitzy". When I make a Southwestern or Native American style ornament I prefer to use a matte finish so it looks more natural & earthy. When using leather lacing it really needs a matte finish. There is really no right or wrong finish, it's all personal preference which you use.
The photo here shows the matte finish. The gloss finish comes in a red can.
My favorite spray finish is Americana Sealer/Finisher by DecoArt. It is an acrylic finish that does not yellow and provides a beautiful finish with minimal odor (you still need to spray outside of the house). I spray in the garage and leave it there until it thoroughly dries & any remaining odor dissipates. Americana comes in both matte & gloss. Americana Sealer/Finisher can be found at many art supply shops or online. It is not as readily available as Krylon or Deft but it's worth the effort finding it. I like really like it because it’ has relatively low odor. I have also found that Americana has a better "feel" than Kylon. If you can't find Americana locally just do a Google for DecoArt & you will find a list of online retailers that carry Americana Sealer/Finisher.
The finished project
You can't tell which section of the finished project was done with the heat-activated glue, Memories dye ink or the JoSonja varnish once the Americana sealer is sprayed over the surface of the ornament.
I think which medium you use doesn't matter but you do need a bonding agent for the Pearl Ex to adhere to the surface. There is a wide variety of mediums you can use to mix in with but if you choose not to use a medium you can use Heat-activated stamp & stick glue or the Ranger embossing glue pens which are perfect for smaller areas where you are doing detail work such as fine lines or lettering. But, again, you must use some kind of bonding agent for Pearl Ex to adhere to the surface. Which one you use is a personal preference. There's no right or wrong choice.
As I said earlier this ornament is not & was not intended to be a masterpiece but it was fun experimenting with Pearl Ex with various mediums & glue.
Some mediums you can mix with or use as a bonding agent
Many of these items are available on our website:
- Heat-activated Stamp & Stick glue - available in our Clearance Center
- Ranger embossing glue pens - available in our Clearance Center
- Memories dye, chalk or acrylic pigment ink - available in our inks & dye department
- Nedra's Special Formula - available in our mediums, finishes & sealers page
- Gel Glaze - available in many arts & crafts stores
- Protecting wax such as Minwax - available in most woodworking shops, Home Depot & Lowes
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial as much as I did doing it!/p>
No portion of the printed book "Pyrography 101©" or the web pages containing "Pyrography 101©" or any of the "Gourd Crafting 101©" Tutorials 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 site may not, in part or in whole be distributed, redistributed, published, republished, copied, reproduced, altered or modified and sold; posted on websites, blogs or other internet sites or otherwise made available to others in any form for any purposes whatsoever without prior permission.