How to make your own metallic watercolors

Creating mica-infused metallic handmade watercolors can add a touch of shimmer and elegance to your artistic creations. Here's a general guide on how you can make your own mica watercolors:

Materials You'll Need:

1. Mica Powder: Mica is a naturally occurring mineral that comes in various colors and sizes. You can easily find mica powder in art supply stores or online. Art Theory also sells some amazing range of pigments that are available for purchase!

2. Gum Arabic: Gum arabic is a water-soluble binder that helps pigments adhere to paper. It's a common ingredient in watercolor paint. You can get this on amazon easily.

3. Empty Pans or Half Pans: These are small containers used to hold and store your watercolors. You can also purchase these pans in various sizes on our website.

4. Palette: A mixing palette for blending your gum arabic and mica powder.

5. Distilled Water: Distilled water is free of impurities and is recommended for preparing the binder with gum arabic.

6. Grinding/Mixing Tools: Palette knife is usually the most accessible tool while starting out to mix the pigments on a palette or a slab. You may use a glass muller or a smooth stone surface for grinding pigments if available but not necessary.


1. Prepare Your Binder: Mix 1 part of gum arabic with 2 parts warm distilled water to create a binder. You can add honey, glycerine to make the paint flow even better on paper and also help in the activation process. If you want a vegan binder, you can skip honey.

2. Mix binder and Mica: In your palette, mix the binder with mica powder. The ratio will depend on how much pigment to binder ratio you want. Add more binder to the mixture to achieve the desired consistency. The ideal mixture should be fluid but not too watery.

3. Test and Adjust: Create a test swatch on watercolor paper to see how the color and shimmer appear when dried. Run your finger through the dried swatch and if the paint comes off after drying off, it needs more binder. 

4. Fill Pans: Carefully pour the mixture into empty pans or half pans. Allow the mixture to settle and dry for a few days. We recommend filling pans in parts to allow proper drying. Repeat the pour and dry process in layers. The pans should be completely dry before you use them.

Trial and error is key to finding the right balance of pigment and binder for your desired effect. Additionally, mica particles can settle over time, so you may need to give your pans a gentle shake or stir before using the paint to ensure an even distribution of shimmer. Enjoy the creative process and the beautiful shimmering effects you can achieve with your handmade mica watercolors!
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