In this polymer clay article I'll be comparing mica powders, eye shadows and pastels and the varied effects they produce when used with polymer clay.
Some have a more matte finish while others are shiny. There are also differences in color saturation which can affect your projects.
I'll be going through the pros and cons of each of the powders below, to help you to decide which is the best powder to use for which polymer clay technique or design. Please also watch the video at the end of the page to see a comparison of what the different powders look like on the clay.
Mica Powders, Eye Shadows and Pastels. Which is Best?
So first we’ll have a look at micas. These are the powders most commonly used with polymer clay and there’s a good reason for this.
- They have a high color saturation and will affect the color of any clay from black to white.
- They leave a really shiny finish to your work and will have an almost metallic shine.
- They come in so many different colors.
There are a few downsides though:
- The first and biggest problem is that they are quite expensive and so can only be bought in limited quantities.
- They aren’t as easy to get hold of as some of the other powders such as eye shadow or pastels.
- They will always leave a shiny finish. This can be a good or a bad thing. It depends on what you want for your polymer clay design.
Now we’ll look at eye shadow. It's very similar to mica, but there are a few key differences.
- It doesn’t have the same amount of color concentration as the mica powders.
- It’s not quite as shiny.
- You need more powder to get a good coverage than you do with the micas.
But there are a few advantages:
- It’s not as expensive as mica powder.
- There are just as many colors if not more.
- It’s quite easy to get hold of.
- It also gives a great shiny finish.
Now for the pastels. These are quite different from the eye shadow and micas, but they also have advantages and disadvantages.
- They are not expensive.
- They are easy to get hold of.
- There are lots of colors to choose from.
- They give a great matte finish.
- They also have quite a high color saturation, not as high as mica powders, but close.
But as with the other powders there are a few disadvantages:
- They have a matte finish that doesn’t work with everything.
- They aren’t as easy to use and need to be scraped with a blade to get powder.
So what’s my opinion on all of this? Well, I like all of the different powders as they each have different aspects to them. Here’s what I’d recommend:
Mica powders: I’d recommend getting the metallic colors of mica as they give the look of real metal and can bring a new aspect to your design.
Eye shadow: I recommend getting a bunch of eye shadow colors and using them for your more colorful effects as they are cheaper than micas and work almost as well.
Pastels: I’d recommend getting a nice big pack of pastels in all the different colors as pastel powder is completely different from the eye shadow and mica. They’ll last you ages and can be used in many different projects.
On the video tutorial I show what the different powders look like on polymer clay, so do take a look at that.
If you still have questions, please leave a comment below.
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