DIY Metallic Paint! {it’s as good as store bought!}

Hi Friends! Sometimes it is a mishap that becomes the springboard of a great idea! Such was the case when I knocked my bottles of powdered mica eye-shadow off the shelf for the umpteenth time, this time the bottom popped off the container and let loose gobs of gold mica on my floor. I was shocked at how much product was crammed in the little pots. The pot of powdered eye-shadow are spill proof (not break-proof though!) and I figured for a buck there was a chintzy amount in there, boy was I wrong! As I scooped up the precious powder from the floor I wondered if I could make paint with it and turns out I can! Boy, was I lucky I just vacuumed before the spill so I was able to salvage most of it. On any other day it would have been mica powder,dog-hair and perler bead soup! Watch the video to see how I made my paint:

The acrylic version of the paint is very durable. I painted some tiles and the paint stuck well and was opaque. I painted on some paper yesterday, then today I bent and creased the paper to see if the paint would crack or flake off and it did not! It is great stuff and the metallic watercolor rivals twinkling H2Os! I bet you could also add watercolor to the powders for more intensely colored sparkly shades too!

Q&A: (questions from YouTubers)

What is Gum Arabic and where do you buy it? It is the binder in watercolor paints. You can get it at an art supply store with watercolor mediums. Watercolorists use it to increase gloss and transparency in their paintings.

What can I use instead of gum arabic? If you want it to be water-soluble you can try clear washable glue (the kind for kids)  or equal parts white glue and vinegar. Make sure if you ware making the watercolor version that you let the paint dry out before capping so it won’t mold.

What can I use in place of Mod-Podge if making acrylic paint? Gel medium, white PVA glue, acrylic sealer/varnish, Future floor Wax (it’s called Pledge now). Make sure if you are making the acrylic version you only make up what you are going to use immediately or store in an airtight container so it won’t dry out.

If you have any other questions you can leave them below. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


34 thoughts on “DIY Metallic Paint! {it’s as good as store bought!}

  1. Hi Lindsay, Since I have discovered your blog and you tube videos, I watch them faithfully daily. I also frequent your blog and read all your good bits of info. My question is this: I see that Luminarte Manufacturing has gone out of business, and I also see I can buy some Twinkling H2O,s from ebay. Do you know any other place that I can buy twinkling H2O,s. I just love their vibrant colors. Are there any other cake paints out there, that have similar vibrant colors. Have you ever make paints like Twinklng H2O,S and do you know the recipe on how to make these cakes of paint? You rule my art and paint world. Love your energy and knowlege. What kind of degree did you get when you graduated from college? You certainly put your art knowledge to good use daily. Your family is so lucky to have someone so creative and funny and artistic. Love, love , your blog and videos. Pam from NYC


    1. the luminarte website is still up an running: where did you hear they went out of business? The shimmer watercolors we made today are the same as H2Os, add liquid watercolor (I like dick blick) to it for more intense color:)


  2. Very cool !!! Wonder how that would work on paper beads. If you us Mod- Podge to seal it I guess it might work. What do you think? Have a good weekend Lindsay and Happy Mothers Day. My oldest son was born on fathers day 1975 and his cousin Kara was born on mothers day that year and they are falling on the 11th and the 15th this year. Hard to believe they are going to be 39 this year. They grow up to fast.


    1. thanks, happy mother’s day to you too! yes, it will work on paper bead, the acrylic version is perfect for that and since it had the mod podge in it it wount come off and the pearls powder keeps it from being sticky.


  3. I bought a storage container thing with little containers in it…but since it was covered I didn’t realize how small the containers were…..every time I look at them I day I might actually have a use for those, nahh that won’t ever happen! Well this is perfect for them!! And I think there are about 30 of them in their own storage container…perfect! Thanks bunches!!!


    1. I think I must have purchase the same thing because while watching this I thought Oh my gosh I can finally use that case of little containers that I have had for about 6 or 7 years 🙂 Thanks as always for such great money saving ideas!


  4. What an awesome idea, and it looks really gorgeous too. I´ll certainly save this idea for next time, I´m looking for some special color for something, or need to replace on of my other colors. One question thoug, don´t you need to always use round containers for it, as I´ve always learned, that the square wasn´t airtight while the round was???


    1. you don’t want the watercolors to be airtight because you want them to dry out. I never heard the round vs. square thing but it makes sense because you can no screw on a square cap, great tip!


      1. WOUW I´m truly honored, that I could actually tell you something you didn´t know ha ha ha. Thanks sooo much for your answer to the other question, then it make more sense to me.
        Have a great day.


  5. I took all of these eye shadows out of the little containers a while back because I hated the brush and was using them like you do for perfect pearls. The easier way of getting off the bottom is to use a piercing tool down the brush hole and push. The bottom pops right out and everything goes into the waiting container (mine were big enough for full bottles)

    Thanks for these recipes!! I love having new ideas for cheap supplies!


    1. Brilliant way of getting the bottom off and has to be safer. Thanks for sharing this. Watching Lindsey with the poking thing made me a bit nervous. Plus I’m a klutz myself, so I’ll be doing it your way.


  6. Wow this is great! I have lots of those eyeshadows and bang them upside down to get the powder out. It keeps coming out and I’ve made lots of sprays re your videos. You are a wonder. Just a comment on the seascape… that was outstanding.


  7. As always, a fabulous video. Thank you for taking the time to help out all of us far less knowledgeable crafters! I listen to all of your videos in the early morning and Hubby is beginning to think we have a new family member. You’re terrific!


  8. Hi, Lindsey! Love the idea of using those eye shadows as mica powder! I do have a question for you…I was covering the front and back covers of a smaller Canson mixed media pad. I used some Gelli prints on heavy card stock. It looked fantastic! It dried wonderfully flat and I was very pleased with the result. I like to use an old credit card to spread the glue out to the very edges and it lets it dry faster, too. Then I decided it needed a protective coating over the covers. I went with a gel medium thinking it would be better than Mod Podge. Well the front cover especially, did some buckling with the addition of the gel medium. The back cover was a heavier foundation, so it didn’t buckle nearly as much. Is there something else I should do next time to prevent the buckling?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am going to address this in my next mixed media fun video. Wax can be used to protect the cover without buckling:) Mod-podge should have worked but maybe the glue underneath was the trouble, if the cover was not completely coated


  9. Lindsay – if you want more vibrant colors, try mixing the mica powders with watercolor from a tube. I have a recipe from wayyyy back for these, when Twinkling H2O’s were newer, and hard to find. I made a pot with rose madder paint and gold mica powder that turned out insanely gorgeous.

    Thanks for the video – I have a ton of those eyeshadows that I already got out of their obnoxious bottles, and I’d have never thought to mix them with paint!


  10. Hi Lindsey! I love this video and have watched it a couple of different times, but I’m wondering if you ever seen the recipe for twinkling h2o from ‘two peas in a bucket’? they say to mix a little watercolor paint, (Reeve’s) with a couple of drops of glycerin, a little water if needed and pear ex powders. I copied the post here, but only meant to have the link – woe is me! Ok, so my questions – is there any difference between pearl-ex (made by Jacquard) and Perfect Pearls (made by Ranger)? And – I’ve been collecting the dollar store loose eyeshadows as you have in your video, and I have a couple of other brands as well, but I can’t find ingredients for any of them – not even on the internet!(Posted: 5/14/2004 2:39:06 PM
    Okay, here’s the info about the Twinkling H2O’s. It’s still a bit of an investment if you don’t have the materials already, but cheaper than buying all 60 of their colors! Considering the time investment though, it still might have been better just to buy them. I already had everything but the pots though.

    24-tube watercolor paint set by Reeve’s ($12.99 at J’s – about $7 with a coupon)
    24 colors in 3 gram jars of Pearl Ex – buy the two sets at Michael’s with coupons.
    50 5 gram lip gloss pots – $14.25 with shipping from eBay seller calboy1, who ships REALLY fast
    One 4-oz bottle of glycerin ($4 at Rite-Aid)
    Lots of time

    The rest is easy. Squirt a bit of your chosen watercolor in a pot, add a few drops of glycerin, and mix. Add a complementary color of Pearl Ex and mix. Add more and mix. Rinse, repeat. If it’s too dry, add a couple of drops of water to thin it out.

    The hardest part was getting a good red, but finally I realized I needed to use Magenta, not Brilliant Red or Crimson.

    Chinese white will dull it a little bit so use it sparingly to lighten colors.

    Interference gold and Rose Madder paint make a *beautiful* pink with gold highlights.

    Payne’s Grey (which is almost black with blue tones) is incredible when mixed with True Blue, Red Russet, Spring Green, or Misty Lavender for jewel tones.

    Yellow paint mixed with Spring Green PE gives a different effect than green paint with Brilliant Yellow or Gold PE.

    Pthalo blue paint and Spring Green – beautiful!
    Pthalo blue and duo blue-green – also beautiful

    The key is to not mix too many paint colors together. Keep the combinations simple at first until you get a feel for what the colors are like and how the PE tones them up or down. )

    I just kind of wanted your opinion on this recipe – thanks for everything, Lindsey!



    1. perfect pearls contains binder but pearl ex does not, it is only mica powder. My dollar store eyeshadow had the ingredients on the package or on the bottom of the pot, I looked for ones that listed MICA as the first ingredients. There are also cosmetic suppliers that sells the colored cosmetic great mica for eye shadow and nailpolish online so a search might help there, it is cheaper than pearl ex too! I think the recipe looks fine:) BUT niji makes a great palette for 21 metallic watercolors for under $10 (I think I paid $6 at a stamps how) so give that a try:) Skybluepink has them:


  11. Do you think this would work well for body paint? Im really looking to bring metallic body paint to a music festival. But I dont want it to dry out on me, and it would be great if it lasted a few days on skin. Should I use gum arabic, or gel medium or what?

    p.s. fantastic post!! brilliant how you turned a spill into a discovery! GO YOU


    1. the eyeshadow powder would be fine but I would not use the art mediums, maybe you could mix it with a cosmetic grade binder?


    2. The eyeshadow mica mix with glycerin (glycerin is in food and bath nd body products) so it be complety body safe. Sorry i know this comment is old but never know when someone is reading them 🙂


  12. I did this as you instructed in the video but now the watercolors are totally solid and they don’t really melt when I add water. Did I use too much gum Arabic or something? I get like 10% of the shimmer you have. Are there different kinds of gum Arabic??


  13. I just started using acrylic paint for crafts and i had same idea using my eye shadow from dollar tree to add to my paint (i bought it for bath nd body products i make). I have the following apple barrel brand pure pink, wild grapes, along with folk art royal gold (metallic), folk art sterling silver (metallic), radiant sunshine shimmering eye shadow (may have radiant but cant find it lol)… just with these products which do i suggest to make rose gold shade?? I also red u can use some food coloring due to it being water based too. Should i make some kind of dark red (using food coloring) and with my white paint? I beem mixing silver gold and my pink i just cant get the right color and dont want keep wasting my paints i working on project for bday gift coming up so any help will be greatly appreciated. And would love to add link to ur blog on my business page for helping me as well if thats ok. O the gift im making is going be glass candle holder/vase im making right this moment.


    1. I would not add white as it will dull the metallic effect, I think just add a bit of pink metallic eyeshadow or a tiny touch of pink paint.


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