Mica powder is an incredible art supply item used to add shimmer and dazzling colors to a wide range of projects. From resin crafts, to nail art and cosmetics, mica powder can transform and add dimension to any craft (and it’s something that should be on every DIYers radar).
However, mica powder isn’t a common crafting colorant, and many people aren’t sure what mica is and how to use it.
We created this guide to help you get started using mica powder. Here’s what you can expect to learn:
- What mica is
- Differences between synthetic and natural mica
- How to use mica with resin, cosmetics, nail art, paper crafts and more
Take a look and find some inspiration for your next mica project!
What Is Mica Powder?
Mica powder is a colored powder that’s created from a naturally occurring stone mineral, called muscovite. (Yet, there are synthetic options available as well, which we’ll get into in a bit). The muscovite mineral is ground into a powder, which, when added to art projects, delivers a glittery, pearlescent effect.
Mica powder naturally has a whitish hue, but after it’s ground, oxides can be added to alter its color. That’s why you’ll find natural mica powder in a wide range of hues.
Natural vs Synthetic Mica Powder
Natural mica is mined muscovite, which is prized for its glittery appearance. Synthetic mica, on the other hand, is made from natural minerals, but is created in a lab. The result is a mineral called fluorophlogopite, which mimics the shimmering effect of natural mica. Key differences between natural and synthetic mica include:
- Color purity - Synthetic mica has a higher purity, and therefore bolder, more consistent colors are possible.
- Particle size - Synthetic mica is smoother in texture. Therefore, it’s a popular choice in cosmetics like eyeshadow and lipstick.
- Mining - Some prefer synthetic mica to natural mica due to the environmental and mining practices. Because natural mica is mined in poverty-stricken areas, there are concerns over child labor practices. (Note: All of our natural micas are ethically sourced. See FAQs to learn more.)
Wear a mask when working with mica powder. Mica is a fine powder; a mask will protect you from accidentally inhaling the powder if a dust-up occurs.
8 Easy Mica Projects to Try
Mica powder has numerous applications in arts and crafts projects. It can be used as a color additive, changing the hues of soaps, candles and resin crafts, for example. Alternatively, mica powder can be painted on, adding sparkling colors to paper crafts or shimmer to paintings.
Here are some of the most common uses for mica powder:
1. Use Mica with Epoxy and Resin
Resin artists use mica to create a pearlescent, metallic shimmer effect in their projects. Because resin and epoxy are clear, mica powder is the perfect coloring solution. Remember: A little bit of mica powder can go a long way. Generally, 1-2 grams per half gallon of resin will suffice.
But it depends on the type of project you are creating. If you want a more opaque look, you might try less mica, whereas a woodturning project might require a darker pigmentation. (Our red mica powders work great in epoxy crafts!) Some resin/epoxy craft ideas include:
- Charcuterie boards
- Live edge wood tables
Air bubbles can form in epoxy crafts. You can prevent this by first thoroughly mixing in the mica. Second, you may want to warm the epoxy before mixing. Simply place the bottle of epoxy in a bucket of warm water for 30 minutes. Finally, after pouring, you can use a heat gun on a low setting to draw the bubbles to the surface.
2. Acrylic Paint and Mica
Want to create your own paint colors with mica? It’s a simple process. All you need is: Mica powder, a mixing container, an acrylic polymer medium, and some water. Here’s how to do it:
Add mica to your mixing container. You might start with a teaspoon (depending on the size of your project.)
Add water to the mica. The mica should disperse in the water. Note: You may want to add a drop of alcohol if the mica resists the water. Aim for a smooth consistency in the dispersion.
Then add the acrylic medium, along with water, until the paint is the consistency you want. This mixture works great in acrylic pours!
Another option: Use mica powder to finish your painting. Before the oil or acrylic paint dries, apply mica powder directly to the paint. Then, gently brush away any excess powder, to add shimmer to your project. (Any of our metallic mica powders work great for adding shimmer.)
3. Mica for Soap Making
Mica powder and glitter powders are perfect for soaps. The mica flakes add brilliant shimmer, as well as vibrant color. Mica can be used for melt-and-pour soaps, as well as for cold process soap making.
Heat and pour
Simply add mica powder to the melted soap and mix well. Typically, a half teaspoon will suffice per pound of soap. You can also create a dispersion of mica and isopropyl alcohol, and add the dispersion to the melted soap until you achieve the desired color.
Create a dispersion by mixing the mica with a lightweight oil like almond oil. Generally, you want to use 1 teaspoon per 1 tablespoon of oil. Then, gradually add the dispersion to the soap, until you achieve the desired color.
Mica colors are most dazzling when you use a transparent or translucent soap base.
4. DIY Cosmetics with Mica
Cosmetic-grade mica powder is used for adding shimmer to a range of cosmetics, including:
- Skin luminizer
- Lip gloss & lip balm
When using mica powder for cosmetics, first make sure to choose a cosmetic-grade mica. (All of our mica powders are safe for cosmetics and non-toxic!) To be approved for cosmetic use, mica must have a particle size below 150 microns. Larger particle sizes can cause irritation, especially around the eyes and lips.
Try your own mica cosmetics with these two recipes:
Easy Skin Luminizer
Mix 1 tablespoon of natural beeswax, 2 teaspoons of almond oil and 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil. Then, melt the mixture using a double-boiler. Once melted, blend in your favorite mica color (like shimmer gold)!
You can make a quick mica eyeshadow with a few simple ingredients: Bentonite clay (½ teaspoon), arrowroot powder (¼ teaspoon), mica (¼ teaspoon) and jojoba oil (3 drops). Mix the bentonite clay and arrowroot powder, then slowly add in mica until the color is just right. Finally, add oil and mix in until all of the powder has been absorbed.
5. Mica and Bath Bombs
Mica is a favorite coloring option for bath bombs, and here are two ways to it:
- Option 1: Mix mica powder in with the bath bomb ingredients to create a vibrant, glittery look.
- Option 2: Paint directly on the bath bomb with mica powder. Use a fine-tip brush to add details. (Shop mica by color to find the perfect shade!)
Tips for using mica powder with bath bombs:
Add mica slowly to achieve the optimal color. Too much mica can leave streaks in the tub, and too little will result in muted color tones.
As a general rule, use 1-2 teaspoons of mica powder per pound of bath bomb.
If you’ll be painting on the bath bomb, mix the mica powder with isopropyl alcohol first in a 1:3 ratio. This will allow the colors to adhere best.
Avoid wetting the bath bomb, as water will interact with the ingredients and cause them to dissolve.
6. Mica and Paper Crafts
Mica powder is perfect for paper crafting projects, from card making, to rubber stamping. Need some recommendations? Here are a few mica paper craft ideas:
Rubber Stamps - Finish off your stamping projects with mica powder. Simply press the rubber stamp into the ink pad, and then push firmly on cardstock or paper. Before the ink dries, cover the ink in mica, for a sparkling, shimmery look. Then, shake off any excess mica and voila!
Decoupage - Add mica to a glaze like Mod Podge to seal decoupage projects. One hint: Start with a small amount of mica, like one-quarter teaspoon, so you don’t over-tint your glaze.
Stationary Glue - Similar to the rubber stamping technique, add stationary glue to your project, and then cover with mica powder before it dries. Shake off any excess mica and you’re done.
Shimmer Sprays - Create a glimmer mist that you can add to any paper craft. You can create a mist with a mixture of isopropyl alcohol, a glaze like Mod Podge and mica powder. Fill a small mister bottle three-quarters full with alcohol, add ½ teaspoon of mica and 1 teaspoon of glaze. Mix and you’re ready to go.
- Silk Screening - Mica is great for adding color to silk screening mediums. Mica in silk screening adds texture and shimmer, and it’s particularly useful for silk screening on paper crafts.
7. Mica and Nail Art
When it comes to nail art, mica powder is a great colorant for nail polishes or to finish a nail design. Here’s how to use mica in your next nail design:
Add mica to a nail polish suspension base. Mix the mica in, and it will leave your polish with a beautiful shimmery, metallic look.
One tip: Make sure you mix evenly. Mica is great because it won’t clump in the suspension base, but if it’s not mixed thoroughly, the color may not be even throughout.
After you’ve applied polish to the nail, you can also add mica to create a glittery look. Gently dab mica onto the nail with a brush. For an ombre fade, for example, you would dab mica powder at the base of the nail, and then slowly brush the mica powder out toward the tip.
8. Mica and Polymer Clay
Mica powder has numerous applications in polymer clay projects. Polymer clay is somewhat sticky, and therefore, mica readily adheres to the surface, adding brilliant colors to any project. Some of the most common techniques for polymer clay include:
- Brushing mica onto the surface for a shimmering appearance
- Revealing patterns on textured polymer clay
- Using with gilders paste to increase shine
- Applying mica to a texture sheet or stamp and then pressing onto clay
- Mixing mica directly into the clay for a galaxy or geode effect
Create in Color and Have Fun
Mica is versatile and fun to work with. A collection of vibrant micas should be in every artist’s studio. Looking for some color inspiration? Shop our mica collections:
- Natural mica powders
- Synthetic mica powders
- Glow in the dark pigments
- Glitter powders
- Red mica powder
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