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All About Glitter and Glitter Acrylic Paints.

Updated: Dec 6, 2023


Glitter


The possibility to give a touch of brilliancy to our paints is something that has always fascinated me.

Besides MICA Powder (Pigments), pearlscent (or interference) paints and metallic (or iridescent) paints, a forth alternative could be the use of glitter.

In commerce there are many varieties of glitter in form of craft glitter or paint additives. In the following I will try to use normal craft glitter (the one used in the school) to see if it can be directly added to acrylic paints or if can be used to create glitter based acrylics.


Definition

Glitter”, unlike MICA Pigments which have a natural origin, is made of micro-plastic (PET or PVC), and is an assortment of flat small, reflective particles that are precision cut and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours (iridescent, Holographic, Luminescent, Pearlescent Opalescent, Fluorescent, Chrome, Multichrome , Metallic, etc.)


For this reason it doesn’t release colours when mixed with acrylic mediums to create paints and it is more difficult to use as normal paint. In order to use glitter in your paintings there are many alternatives:

  1. Add it directly to the paint.

  2. Mix it to PVA-glue and (distilled) water. Similar to the acrylic binder for pigments, this mixture will act as a binder for our glitter

  3. Use ready-to-use glitter paints.

  4. Use a paint glitter additive (by Hemway on Amazon) and mix it directly to our paints.


I’ve tried all alternatives and these are my experiences.


How to use glitter in painting

Due to the fact that glitter doesn’t release any colour (differently to pigments) the most important thing we have to keep in mind when working with it, is that we need a very big quantity of it to get a “saturated” result.


Add glitter directly to our acrylics.

The acrylic paint incorporates the glitter but will prevent the shimmering effect and will produce only a grainy compound.


Making my own glitter acrylic paints using PVA-Glue

In this case I proceeded by steps:

  • Firstly I prepared the quantity of glitter I thought I would need for my work.

  • Secondly I added gloss varnish to protect and improve the shimmering of the glitter. By doing this you will get a thick mixture and you should continue to mix it until all the glitter is incorporated. If needed you can add more varnish to make the compound more fluid.

  • Finally I added the glue-water-mixture very slowly and mixed it very well in order to incorporate the glitter. Do it very slowly to avoid the formation of air bubbles. Check that the glitter maintains its colours and won’t be overcome by the glue remaining uniform.

Note that the glitter will tend to fall down the mixing cup.

When you are ready, leave the mix rest to make the air bubble disappear.


Making my own glitter acrylic paints using PVA-Glue and water for pouring

In this case I proceeded by steps:

  • Firstly I prepared the quantity of glitter I thought I would need for my work. For a ring pour on a 20x20cm canvas I used for example 10g of glitter to full a slot of a split-cup with 4 slots.

  • Secondly I prepared a mixture of 70% glue and 30% water.

  • Thirdly I added the glue-water-mixture very slowly and mixed it very well in order to incorporate the glitter. In doing this I checked that the glitter maintained its colours and wouldn't be overcome by the glue remaining uniform.

In this way I achieved the right consistency for my glitter paint, which I could pour together with normal acrylic paints diluted with pouring medium.



Split-cup with glitter paint


When wet the glitter seemed to have been incorporated by normal paint disappearing in some points and outstanding in others similar to normal paint. Once dried the glitter could be seen between other colours maintaining its reflective property when exposed to light.


Ready To Use Glitter Acrylic Paints

As explained before glitter, unlike MICA Pigments, is made of micro-plastic and is an assortment of flat small, reflective particles that are precision cut and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours and behaves differently from normal paints.


I was by my local KIK store and my attention was captured by some particular acrylic paints:

  • Glitter Gold (transparent paint with a golden glitter)

  • Iridescent (transparent paint with a white glitter)

  • Transparent (transparent paint with a light green glitter)

  • Colourful (transparent paint with a colourful glitter)

  • Silver (transparent paint with a light grey glitter)

All of them come in tube of 75 ml and, once opened, they look like glitter powder in a transparent and a little sticky binder.


Ready-to-use glitter acrylic paints

I was curious to see how they would work in your creations, alone or mixed to other acrylic paints. I made following tests (see picture):

  1. Use them as normal paints on white and black coloured paper

  2. Mix with opaque, semi-opaque, semi-transparent and transparent paint (I used Arteza and Amsterdam acrylics

  3. Over dried painting

  4. In a little pouring.


These are your results:

  • This are not really acrylic paints that can be mixed to normal paints to give them a glittering effect. Their quality is low and the resulting mixture is watery (even by using a really small touch of normal paint).

  • The glitter paints tend to break the bond between pigment and binder in normal paints, making normal paints become transparent.

  • The glitter disappears no matter if the normal paint is opaque, semi-opaque, semi-transparent or transparent. Sometimes they seem to loosen themselves in the coloured paint.

  • You can use them on already dried paintings (minimum 2 layers, pure, not mixed with water) to add a little glitter effect.

  • Despite keeping them thicker than normal paints, I tried to use them in a ring pour but they disappeared under normal paints.

Test with Cheap Glitter Acrylic Paints

For all the above reasons, I see that these types of colours are unfortunately a no-go for use in the pouring technique.


And you? Have you tried making glitter paints or using glitter to embellish your pictures? Let me know in the comments below.


Thank you for reading. If you like the post, feel free to leave a like, a comment and don’t forget to follow my blog, my Instagram and share the content on your social media.


Have a colourful and creative day!


Laura

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