How to Use Mica Powder in Epoxy Resin Projects

Mica powder is one of the most popular choices for coloring epoxy resin. That’s because mica naturally adds iridescent shine, as well as rich vibrant color. The result is swirl patterns and natural glimmer that instantly transforms resin crafts and pours. 

If you’re new to using mica to color epoxy resin, you might be wondering: How much mica should I use in resin? When should I mix the mica in the resin? 

We wanted to put together this how-to guide to help you start coloring epoxy crafts with mica powder. The good news is it’s super easy. All you need is your favorite shade of natural mineral mica or synthetic mica powder to get started! 

Mica Powder vs Resin Dye

Is mica powder the best colorant for epoxy resin? Yes! There are many different ways you can color epoxy resin, but mica powder offers some key advantages over resin dyes. Here are some of the benefits of using mica in resin art: 

  • Shiny Appearance - Mica adds natural glimmer, similar to a metallic-flake paint on cars. That’s due to the natural mineral flakes in mica, which have light-reflecting properties. Resin dye, on the other hand, tends to result in matte and muted colors.
     
  • Cost: Mica powders tend to be more cost-effective than resin dyes and epoxy pigments.
     
  • Shelf Life: Mica powder is much more shelf-stable than epoxy dyes; you can stock up on mica powder, and use those colors months or years down the road. 

  • Although liquid pigments are a suitable colorant choice, mica powder’s shiny, glimmering appearance makes it a clear winner for a range of projects, including river tables, live edge tables, resin casting and all types of deep pour resin projects. 

    Want to learn more about mica? See our guide: What Is Mica Powder?

    epoxy river table colored with blue mica powder

    What Types of Resin Projects Is Mica Powder Good For? 

    You can use mica powder for just about any epoxy project. Whether you’re working on deep-pour river tables, or smaller resin-casting projects like coasters or resin jewelry, mica adds a burst of vibrant color and a shimmering, glowing effect. Use mica powder for these epoxy projects:

    • Epoxy river tables 
    • Live edge wood slab tables
    • Resin-casting projects, including resin jewelry, geodes and coasters
    • Epoxy resin turning blanks 
    • Furniture refinishing 

    For more project ideas, see our Mica Powder Quickstart Guide or our tutorial for making epoxy resin blanks for turning projects.

    How Much Mica Powder in Epoxy Resin?  

    Mixing mica in resin produces dazzling colors, but you have to get the ratio just right. 

    The amount of mica to mix in resin really depends on your desired effect and the thickness of your pour. If you want an intensely colored, opaque look, for example, you’d use more mica powder. In a live edge table, where you might want a more transparent pour to keep the wood grain visible, you’d use less mica powder.

    One thing to remember: A little bit of mica powder goes a long way. Before adding mica, always test colors in a small batch, or slowly add in pigment until you’ve reached your desired color. (You can always add more!) But you don’t want to add too much: Overloading your resin with mica can cause resin to improperly cure, resulting in a brittle finished project. 

    Here are some guidelines for how much mica to mix in resin: 

    How Much for Smaller Resin Projects

    For small volume resin projects, use 1 gram of mica powder per 1-5 ounces of epoxy. (One gram is about one-quarter teaspoon.) A 1-to-1 ratio will yield a darker, more opaque color, while a 1-to-5 ratio will result in a more transparent look. 

    Note that thinner resin castings, like a delicate piece of resin jewelry, typically require a higher volume of mica to achieve that rich, pearlescent shine.

    How Much Mica for Larger Projects 

    With larger volumes over a half-gallon, aim for 1-3% mica powder in the total resin mixture by weight. For example, 1 gallon of epoxy equals about 9 pounds; Therefore, for a more opaque finish, you would use 3-4 ounces of mica powder per gallon of epoxy resin. 

    blue swirls epoxy river table using mica powder

    How to Mix Mica Powder in Epoxy Resin

    Before you start, make sure the mica powder is completely dry. If any moisture is present in the mica, the resin won’t cure properly. Ultimately, most epoxy kits come with two ingredients: Resin and a hardener. 

    Mix the resin and hardener according to the directions on the packaging. Usually, you’ll want to mix these ingredients for 5-7 minutes. Then, it’s time to add your mica color. There are two ways to add mica to resin: 

    Stir-In Method:

    You can mix mica into the resin by hand with a mixing stick or using a paint-mixing drill-bit (especially useful for larger projects). Mix thoroughly. You’ll want to evenly distribute the mica powder throughout the resin.

    Pre-Mix Method:

    It can be helpful to pre-mix the mica with a smaller amount of resin, especially for smaller-volume projects. To do this, apply a small amount of resin onto a wax surface or into a small cup. Mix the mica powder into the solution, until it is completely dissolved. Then add this to your main epoxy solution. 

    Mixing 2 or More Colors:

    If you want to swirl two mica colors in resin, you'll want to mix two batches. Here's how: After mixing the resin and hardener, split your mixture in two smaller containers (or more if you want to swirl 3 or more colors). Mix your colors in and stir thoroughly. 

    Then, when you're ready to pour, start with your base color. This will be whichever color with the most volume. And then pour in each additional color. You can then use a toothpick to swirl the colors a bit, before letting the epoxy cure.  

    Techniques for Using Mica Powder in Epoxy Resin 

    Here are some creative ways to use mica in resin projects: 

    1. Dusting Molds 

    In resin-casting projects, this technique creates a glittery top coat. Simply dust the mold using a soft-bristled paintbrush. Aim for a thin layer of mica across the bottom of the mold, and then brush the mica until it is smooth and flush with the silicon mold. Brush away any excess mica. 

    Then, pour in your epoxy, and wait. The mica powder layer will adhere to the epoxy, and the result is a vibrant shimmery look. This is great for resin-cast jewelry, coasters, trays and other casting projects. 

    2. Swirling Technique 

    This is a widely used technique on epoxy river tables. After you’ve poured your river, wait 5-6 hours for the epoxy to set-up (how long you wait really depends on the curing time of the epoxy). Then, with a stir stick, swirl through the half-cured epoxy. The result will be glimmering swirls in the epoxy. 

    3. Adding Depth in Molds 

    Here’s another technique for silicon molds. Dust areas of the mold that you want to be highlighted or shadowy to create depth. Then, pour in the resin. The effect creates depth and shadows on the finished project, and it is great for resin molds and jewelry casting. It’s especially useful if you want to create more realistic looking creations. 

    Similarly, if the mold has deep etching, you can dust the mold using mica, and then gently wipe away powder from the higher areas. This will help you color the deeper etchings and create depth to your project. 

    Shop Our Epoxy Mica Powders Now 

    Excited to try these techniques in your next project? Slice of the Moon offers a wide range of vibrant micas and glow-in-the-dark pigments that are perfect for coloring epoxy resin crafts: 

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