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All About Metallic (or Iridescent) Acrylic Paints

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

In my last blog post I talked about pearl acrylic paints and how they behave when mixed with each other or with other acrylic paints.

Now I would like to talk about another way to give our works a shiny effect.

This post is about learning a bit more about metallic (or iridescent) acrylic paints and whether you can use them to create your own metallic acrylic paints.


What are metallic (or iridescent) acrylic paints and what is the difference from pearl (or interference) acrylic paints?

Metallic (or iridescent) acrylic paints are usually metallic pigments based paints (mainly gold, silver, copper) and, differently from pearlescent paints, they give back the light in a stronger way according to the angle you will look at them but without changing colours.


Metallic acrylic paints by Amsterdam Royal Talens

Alternative to metallic pigments, metallic paints are produced using MICA Powder Pigments. I.e. Arteza metallic colours, which are also identify with the word “pearl” in the colour name, contain mainly MICA-powders to get a metallic effect.


In the following section I will show you how I make my metallic paints.


How to create metallic acrylic paints

Normal paint mixed with Pearl White (interference white)

A metallic effect can be reached or by mixing interference white (i.e. Pearl White by Amsterdam Royal Talens) to normal paint. In this case, once the interference paint is dried, the white MICA will release the shimmering effect, creating a metallic paint with a slightly variation of the original paint.


Normal paint mixed with iridescent gold

The iridescent gold will change the hue of the normal paint and, according to the colour, we will have different results:

  • Mixed with yellow pigments (PY) and/or orange pigments (PO) the resulting metallic paint will become brighter.

  • Mixed with red pigments (PR) the resulting metallic paint will tend to a more orange hue.

  • Mixed with blue pigments (PB) the resulting metallic paint will tend to a more greenish hue.

  • Mixed with violet pigments (PV) the resulting metallic paint will tend to a more greyish hue.

  • Mixed with green pigments (PG) and/or brown pigments (PBr) the resulting metallic paint will tend to a more yellowish hue.


Normal paint mixed with iridescent silver

The iridescent silver will change the hue of the normal paint and, according to the colour, we will have different results:

  • Mixed with yellow pigments (PY), orange pigments (PO) the resulting metallic paint will become darker and greyish.

  • Mixed with red pigments (PR), having a violet/magenta shade, blue pigments (PB), violet pigments (PV) and green pigments (PG) the resulting metallic paint will be shimmering but less bright than the one created with pearl white.


Normal paint mixed with iridescent copper

The iridescent copper will change all normal paints giving the resulting metallic paint a reddish hue/a warmer tone.


Mixing of iridiscent colours to normal acrylics

To summarize:

  • By mixing interference MICA-based metallic paints (i.e. pearlescent paint), the normal paint won’t have any (if not only slightly) change in the colour. It will get a shimmering/metallic effect.

  • By mixing iridescent paints with normal paints they will change not only the brightness of the paint but also the hue creating sometimes a completely new colour.


I hope I could inspire you to create your own metallic acrylic paints.


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.


Laura

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