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Pigment Powder, Mica Powder & Mixes of Both (explanation of differences)

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

There are a variety of Mica Powders, Pigment Powders & mixes of both, & hopefully the information below can help when determining what you want to use, when adding to your various resin projects.

Sometimes mica powders & pigment powders terminology gets used interchangeably. But they’re actually not the same thing. Powders are pigments or mica powder or a mix of both, (which are particles that will be suspended in the medium, such as is used with resin or various acrylic mediums).

Mica is sparkly. Pigment powder by itself, is matte. They behave differently. But they’re also sometimes mixed together in the same package to achieve different looks. And that can mean the powder you bought won’t work quite the same as you expect. If it’s has more Mica, it will colour less then if it has more pigment added.

Mica is a natural stone mineral with shiny flakes, that often gets ground into a powder for Mica powder. The shiny in the flakes is why Mica powders are more sparkly. They’re often used to give a metallic or shimmery pearl-like effects.

Mica powders do often have some colour, but on their own, they’re not optimal for colouring things because their main purpose is to create sparkle or shine. Mica powders can not create a solid wash of bright colour on their own.

Pigment powders are ground-up colours. Pigments are the actual colours themselves, and they’re often called by their more common names like ultramarine blue, cadmium red, yellow ochre, and titanium white. There are also (less expensive) artificial pigments with different names such as Pigment Blue 15. Pigments are what manufacturers use to give paint its colour. They are not shiny & sparkly. Pure artist’s pigments (pure colour) are actually fairly expensive, so pigments you buy from cheaper sellers online are usually mixed with fillers (such as chalk) that make the color go farther.

It can be a bit confusing because in more recent years the word pigment, occasionally gets referred to as mica and synthetic mica particles. Therefore it can be said that mica is a type of pigment, but pigments are not mica. In reality, these materials are two different things and are very dissimilar materials.

Interference pigments are synthetic Mica & they have a special coating on them. Chameleon powders also have a special coating on them which reflects the light with multiple colors depending on the angle of the light.

Interference Pigments are made by coating mica with titanium dioxide. They look almost white when just looking at the powder. Chameleon powders are mica that are also color changing, but do not look white, but have visible colors in them. The mica in chameleon has been stacked with coatings such a titanium dioxide, iron and various other metals. Both Interference and chameleon change colors when the light or angle changes, but interference is a bit more subtle and only has a titanium coating. Chameleon is more dramatic, especially when used with a dark pigmented resin under it. Both are often brushed onto a mold directly prior to pouring resin in.

Pearl mica powder typically is uncolored, which is the same as white or silvery. But mixing pigment with mica powder just results in a mix of pigment and mica. The mica itself will not become coloured.

Glow pigments ...

Many times when we buy glow in dark, we aren’t always buying what we think we are, & some only glow based on being charged by sunlight through the day, & others only glow if near black light.

And both can be weak or strong in glow, based on a variety of factors.

“Fluorescent pigment colors” appear intense in daylight but will not be visible in the dark unless exposed to a black light.

“Phosphorescent pigment colours” will glow in the dark but only after being exposed to a light source, including sunlight or by placing under a light bulb to charge the glow pigment. And this glow may only last said shorter time then it was light charged.

If you’re unsure about the Colour you want, & there is no description where you purchased it, you nay need to do a test with it first. Or contact the seller to see if you can find out more if it’s considered a matte (which is more opaque in resin if using enough), or if it’s more transparent.

Some mica powders are just made to be more transparent, & you may need to add more of said powder to get deeper colour saturation. Keep in mind the important resin to colour ratio. Typically the suggested ratio of colourants is 2-10% to resin, or if using more it can upset the chemical balance of resin effecting its cure (& also cause premature exotherm). Sometimes adding a pigment will be needed, if there is a desire to change transparency level of a colour.

Many micas & pigment powders can be used in acrylic mediums as well. See separate blog post for more info.

Sometimes people suggest using eyeshadow for colourants in resin. While this can sometimes work, it is not pure pigment. It will take a lot more powder to achieve pure pigment depth, so you'll need to watch your ratios. Also, some eyeshadows may have other ingredients (moisturizer or oils) added that are not resin friendly. Also test on small projects first. They are not ideal for resin

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2 Kommentare

Michele Donohue
Michele Donohue
09. Feb. 2021

Hi Viviane, I was hoping this blog would allow me to respond directly under & to your question, but it is not currently allowing that. Hopefully wix app changes that option soon. I will reply as a comment here for now. Thank you, and I'm so glad you're finding them helpful.

You can warm up the Le'Rez Expressions pastes a few ways. One would be to put it in a shallow bowl or sink of very warm water, put it in a ziplock bag sealed tight. Or set it on a warming item like a hot water bottle or heating blanket (I would put something protective between them like parchment paper or again set jar in a ziplock bag).…

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Thanks Michele for your precious tips.. could you tell me how to thin resin paste please ? like LeRez for example is very thick and I need to have what can I use to thin the paste a little ?

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