Pearl Ex is a powdered mica pigment that really has many uses in the craft and art industry. Today, I want to see how to use them to make ink for calligraphy and also how to make watercolor paint with them. I have a set of 32 colors, the are all different, even when 5 of them are gold for example. The finishes go from metallic sheen to pearlescent shimmers.
This pigments need a binder in order to make them permanent, in other words, they need a “glue” to make them stay on a surface, like paper. Regular inks and watercolors already have that binder, that’s why you can add the Pearl Ex powders to any ink or paint to change the sheen on them.
If you don’t want to add the Pearl Ex to any paint or ink and want to use only the mica powders, you need also to add a binder. In order to make inks or watercolors, that binder would be gum Arabic.
I like the fact that there is not an exact recipe for getting the mix to work. The recipe, shared by Joi Hunt of Bien Fait Calligraphy, is the following:
1 teaspoon Pearl Ex pigment
¼ teaspoon gum Arabic (liquid or powder)
1 teaspoon distilled water
Thinner consistency Pearl Ex ink will lie flatter on the paper when dry; a thicker consistency ink (try ½ teaspoon of water) will stand up a bit on the paper when dry, creating a raised effect. Oh, I like the raised effect!
In other words, basically is to mix 4 parts of pigment to one part gum Arabic and 4 parts of liquid, in this case, water. Add less or more water to adjust the consistency of the ink. I used a wood stick to mix the ingredients and after mixing, I cleaned the stick with a paper towel.
I also used some hard plastic containers used originally to store beads. I hand punched some circles and wrote down the names of each color. Also, I painted the color in the chip and adhere the circle to the lid. This will make easy to identify which color is in the container.
Now, in order to make watercolor paints, the recipe is the same. I mixed my pigments, gum Arabic and water and closed the lids. If the mixtures gets dry, I only need to spray some water to make it creamy again.
The shimmer and colors are really beautiful. Please experiment with different color papers. The interference colors work best over dark paper. You will also notice that the colors change depending on the color of the paper you are using.
One of the best things about color is to experiment with the substrate where you use them. Have fun!