Playing with Powdered Pigments

Last September I took the plunge and signed up for a monthly “subscription box” from Let’s Make Art. There are a number of subscription types available. I chose the art journaling box. To be honest about it, I’m still struggling with the concept of art journaling, still going back and forth with different ideas of what I want my journal to be, but that’s neither here nor there.

Regardless of my mixed feelings about the art journaling process itself, I love getting new mixed media art and craft supplies. This is why I subscribed to the monthly service, and I eagerly look forward to the arrival of each new box.

I’ve discovered lots of fun new mixed media goodies, and I now even have my own gold Exacto cutting knife from one subscription box. Before you ask, no, I’m not good with it yet. You know me — the clumsy kid who failed scissors and still has problems with cutting implements of all sorts. I’m getting better though.

What I’ve had the most fun with, I think, is a set of gloriously-hued pigment powders. The set comes from Vicki Boutin by American Crafts.

The set I received — shown here — includes nine pigments. I haven’t been able to find an online link for purchase other than one that showed OUT OF STOCK.

As I browsed a bit, I did find a few questions about powdered pigments, starting with this:

Are these the same as mica powders?

The link will take you to a site that discusses both mica powders and powdered pigments, which definitely are not the same.

Reading through the information, however, left me a bit confused, so I browsed around a little more. This is my year of EXPLORATION, you know, and digging a little more can often lead to treasure. I struck artistic pay-dirt when I found a YouTube video by Vicki Boutin herself, showing different techniques for using her pigment powders. In fact, she demonstrates these techniques using the very same set I have.

In the video, she demonstrates:

  • Kissing Technique
  • Subtraction Technique
  • Moulding Paste
  • Misting
  • Stamping

She also mentions “Foundations Paper” several times. This is a watercolor paper sold by American Crafts. You can find it here.

My attention quickly went to the stencil brush she used for the subtraction technique, so of course I browsed a bit and found this lovely set at Amazon.  I’ve already ordered it, and it will be here next week.

Previously I’ve purchased little spray bottles from Amazon. I was so pleased with the first set (there are 12 to a set) that I immediately purchased another. I use these for acrylics, for alcohol inks, and watercolor, and now I’ll use them as well with powdered pigments.

Stencils, moulding pastes, and stamps are available from any art supply store that includes mixed media supplies.

There you have it now. You know as much about powdered pigments as I do, or almost so. If you haven’t yet played with them, I have an edge on you there because I’ve had the pleasure of using these pigments in my studio for the last few weeks.

And one additional technique I’ve learned that Vicki Boutin doesn’t include: Sprinkling. Yep, just sprinkle a tiny bit of pigment on your wet watercolor paper. You’ll get an effect like this:

Obviously I still have much to learn about these pigments and all the possibilities they hold. It’s going to be fun exploring even more.


    1. Oh, yes, I love the spray bottles! The art box I subscribe to his from Let’s Make Art. It’s $35.00 per month. They have a watercolor box and an art journaling box, and there are tutorials each week to show different projects for each box. There’s also a Facebook group. I hope you’ll check it out.


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