I am doing a gourd ornament using Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments either by themselves or mixed with Memories Dye Inks or Jo Sonja Polyurethane Varnish. They can also be mixed with acrylic paint . This project was not designed to be an award winning piece of gourd art but only intended to demonstrate how to use the Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments. It will give you an idea of how they look and work alone or mixed with other mediums.
Applying metallic powder over heat activated glue
Using the embossing heat tool to set the glue
The first area I worked on was the very top using Blue Russet which is a gourdgeous russet with hints of blue. Typically the Russets are more of a red rust but this color is very rich and I like it better than the typical Red Rust. I opted to use the powders with the Stamp and Stick heat-activated glue.
Since this area is very small I applied Stamp and Stick heat-activated glue with a microbrush but you can use just about any kind of brush or applicator depending on the size of the area you are covering. For large areas you might want to use the Stamp and Stick pad. For this project I used the clear (white) glue. I applied a drop of glue on the tip of the brush and then applied it around the circle. Next step was to use the embossing heat tool to heat set it until it’s sticky (this is very important). This usually takes about 10 seconds.
Once the glue is sticky I applied the powder using a soft brush (such as a cosmetic brush) and then brushed off the excess with a soft cotton cloth or tissue. Once the powder is on the gourd it is no longer sticky so you don’t have to worry about fibers from the cloth or tissue sticking. The result is a very deep metallic powder.
Mixing the Metallic Accent Powders with Memories Dye Ink
Next I mixed Aztec Gold Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments mixed with Honey Memories Dye Ink. I used a plastic palette cup and spatula to mix the two products together. The more powder you use the more metallic sheen you will have. Using a microbrush I applied it directly onto the gourd surface. Every now and then I had a “blob” so I rubbed my finger over it and voila, it disappeared like magic. As I covered each area I heat set it to help it dry quickly so I wouldn’t smear it as I moved on to other areas
By mixing the two products together I did not need to use any Stamp and Stick heat-activated glue and heat setting prevents smearing and peeling off. I was amazed at how vivid these are and the shimmer that is achieved with these powders. Of course the amount of shimmer is directly proportionate to the amount of powder you use. More powder, more shimmer.
Mixing the powders with Jo Sonja polyurethane varnish
The third method I used and probably my favorite was mixing the Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments with Jo Sonja Polyurethane varnish. I poured a little varnish in my palette and then took a small scoop of powder and blended with the spatula (it really doesn’t seem to matter which order you use). I used an angled brush to apply the mixture to the gourd and allowed it to dry naturally. I love using angled brushes so I can do nice clean edges and get into the corners easily.
The varnish dries quickly so by the time I clean up the mess with soap and water it’s dry and I’m ready to move on. The reason I like mixing the varnish and powders is that it’s a one-step process.
The remaining colors on the ornament were done by mixing the powders with the varnish.
Once the colors were all done I drilled a tiny hole in the top with a pin vice and then added a drop of CA adhesive into the hole and screwed a tiny gold toned screw eye to hold the string.
One side of the finished ornament
For this ornament I applied 2 thin coats of Jo Sonja Polyurethane Satin to the entire surface since I had already used this varnish with the powders. For most of my projects I prefer this brush on varnish because I have more control and don’t get runs or streaks. On ornaments I like a spray because they are small and difficult to handle and using a spray is much easier to use especially on small pieces like these.
The steps I use for spraying an ornament with varnish are:
1. Add the hook and string, leather or ribbon to hang the ornament.
2. Hang the ornament in an area where I can spray.
3. I slowly spin the ornament and spray evenly to coat the sides, top and bottom. I allow the 1st layer to dry and then repeat the process one more time.
This technique provides a light even coating all around and if you don’t hold the can to close it won’t drip.
Pin vice bit is ideal for drilling small holes
Most ornaments I use a gloss finish because it just seems like they should “sparkle” but on my Native American style ornaments I prefer to use a matte finish. My favorite spray finish is Americana Sealer/Finisher. It is an acrylic finish that does not yellow and provides a great finish with minimal odor (but you still need to spray outside of the house). I spray in the garage and leave it there until any remaining odor dissipates.
Americana Sealer/Finisher gloss
Americana comes in both matte and gloss. The photo on the right shows the gloss sealer/finisher spray can but it is also available in matte which comes in a blue can. Americana Sealer/Finisher can be found at many art supply shops or online. It is made by Deco Art but not as readily available as Krylon products. I like these so much better than Krylon or Deft especially because it’s relatively low odor and the feel of the finish once it’s dry. Just click on the link here to go to one of the many online stores that carry Americana Sealer/Finisher.
All of the Pearl-Ex Powdered Pigments are now in stock and photos have been posted on the website and available for immediate shipment. They are the same metallic pigment powders you have seen elsewhere but at a lower price.