Pigment powder is a versatile colorant for epoxy resin. You can use it in a few different ways to add color and sparkle to your resin project. I will show you two ways to use my favorite pigment powder brand — Pearl Ex — with epoxy resin.
Pearl Ex by Jacquard is a powdered pigment with a touch of sparkle that exhibits extreme color-fastness (meaning it won’t fade when left in a place with bright light) and stability (the color remains true and does not change over time). Pearl Ex comes in a wide variety of colors. The colors are vibrant, and some even change color depending on the angle. The colors can even be mixed, dry or wet, to make new colors. Many colors have a metallic look, but since no metal is in them, they won’t tarnish. Others have a pearly luster.
The resin we’re using today is Resin Obsession Super Clear. This is a 2:1 two-part resin with a 25-minute open or “pot” time (the amount of time you have from mixing the parts together to when it will start getting thick and non-pourable as it begins the hardening phase of the curing). This resin also has a 6-8 hour cure time at average room temperature.
Resin Obsession Super Clear is excellent when working with molds because its thinner viscosity makes it easier to pour and get into small places. The thinner consistency also traps fewer bubbles when working with resin molds. Super Clear also has a UV protectant to prevent yellowing over time. This ensures the color of the finished piece will remain the same as the day it was made.
Resin Obsession Super Clear Resin
Pearl Ex powdered pigment
Leaves resin mold
Soft Paint Brush
Resin safety gloves
1-ounce mixing cups
Cover for the curing
Option 1: Painting the mold with pigment
The method is one I often use because it allows the resin piece to be translucent while adding color and a bit of sparkle. It also allows the addition of color in an exact location. Before mixing your resin, you need to prepare your molds. Decide the pigment powder colors and the epoxy molds you want to use. You will also need a small soft paintbrush. I call this step painting the mold.
Step 1: Put powder on the brush
Dip the dry brush into the Pearl Ex to pick up a small amount of the powder and brush right into the mold cavity. You should brush on enough to cover the cavity on all sides but not so much that you have a lot of loose powder. Loose powder not in contact with the mold won’t make the coloring thicker or darker. It will likely just end up floating to the top of the liquid resin.
Step 2: Mix the resin
Resin Obsession Super Clear Resin is a 2:1 two-part resin. This means you use half as much of part B as part A.
Before mixing the resin, you should put on a pair of gloves. This will protect your hands from sticky resin.
When doing projects in small molds, I like to mix only a small amount of resin at a time so I don’t run out of pot time (the amount of time before the curing process starts) before I run out of mixed resin. Of course, if you run out of resin before you’ve filled in all the cavities, you can always mix more. I use 2 cups to measure the resin parts to ensure I get the correct amounts. Because they’re the easiest lines to see on the small graduated cups, I usually measure in drams.
If you have never mixed resin before, this is a good article for you to read: How to mix resin and hardener
Step 3: Add resin to the mold
When the epoxy is mixed, use the stir stick to drizzle it into the powder pigment painted cavities on the mold. Careful not to overfill. If you do, the back of the finished piece will not be flat, and you risk resin running over the side of the mold.
Option 2: Mixing powder into epoxy resin
The second way to use powder with epoxy is to mix it into the resin.
Step 1: Add powder to the resin
Pour a small amount of the clear resin into a dry cup. With a dry stir stick, dip into the powder and measure out a small amount, about the size of a pea. Drop the pigment powder into the cup without letting the stir stick touch the epoxy. If you want, as you mix, you can add more pigment using this stick. Do not put a wet stir stick into powder pigment.
Step 2: Mix in the powder
With another stir stick, slowly mix the powder into the resin. Mix in the powder until it is wet and looks like thick paint.
Step 3: Add the colored resin to the mold
Like the clear epoxy before, you want to drizzle colored resin into the mold slowly. Make sure you get the coloured resin into all parts of the cavity. The Pearl Ex mixed resin is thicker than the clear resin (also, you might be getting closer to the end of the pot time), so you might need to help it along a little to get into the edges. Use the stir stick to guide the resin where you want it to go.
Regardless of which option you took (adding powder to the before adding epoxy OR mixing powder with the epoxy), you’ll want to follow these next steps:
Step 4: Remove bubbles
To help reduce the inclusion of bubbles in the resin, you can use a heat tool or a lighter to pop bubbles on the surface. While many bubbles will pop on their own, you can use a toothpick or the edge of a clean stir stick to encourage bubbles congregating on the sides to pop.
Step 5: Set aside to cure
Cover your molds and wait for the resin to cure. It is always best to cover your curing resin because you don’t want dust, cat hair, or other unwanted things to become part of your project.
With Resin Obsession Super Clear resin, in 6-8 hours, the resin should be cured enough to remove from the molds, but you can wait longer to unmold them. I often let the resin cure overnight since it’s easier to wait for the cure when you can completely ignore it and aren’t thinking about how the project might turn out.
Step 6: Demold
Unmolding is one of my favorite parts of doing resin projects. This is when you get to see the magic of epoxy pigment powder.
Since we’re using flexible silicone molds for this project, you only need to bend the mold a little, and the casting should pop right out.
Step 7: Finish the edges
After you remove the casting from the mold, you will want to flip it over and sand off any sharp edges. You can use a small piece of sandpaper or an emory board. While sanding your resin, you should always use safety glasses and wear a particle mask to protect yourself from the grit.
When you look at the items you cast, you’ll notice the difference between the techniques. The ones in which you painted pigment powder in before adding clear epoxy resin have a slight transparency with sparkle (right). The ones cast with pigment powder mixed into the epoxy resin are entirely opaque and have a metallic marbled look (left).
The pair of shells on the left are from the same color of powder as are the pair on the right.
Step 8: Use your resin charms
So, now that you’ve made these molded leaves, shells, flowers, etc., what will you do with them? You can add molded items to mixed media projects and other resin projects, use them as embellishments on cards, add a glue-on bail and make them into jewelry, or many other things.
Some examples I’ve used the cast leaves for:
Want to learn more about using epoxy pigment powder?
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