Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments Perfect For Making Polymer Clay Beads

Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments

More Chat About Using Scrapbooking Supplies for Clay Bead and Jewelry Making Projects:

A couple of days ago, I wrote about how scrapbook supply items such as powdered pigments and alcohol inks can be used for making polymer clay beads. As mentioned in that article, Using Alcohol Ink With Polymer Clay, I received some new craft supplies as Christmas presents this year (go figure). One of those gifts was a 12 color set of Jacquard Products, Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments.

This set is absolutely gorgeous! The mica powders just sparkle and there is a wonderful wide range of colors. Along with the metallics like copper, silver and gold, there are lots of blues, greens, pinks and purples to make the set very versatile!

Pearl Ex can be dusted or rubbed onto raw polymer clay with either your finger or a fluffy paintbrush. A small makeup brush used for powders is also a good choice since the powder is loose and very fine.

Powdered pigments like these can also be added to liquid clays, polymer clay compatible lacquers and future floor finish.

They can also be worked into solid clays like translucent. As well, they can be added to metallic clays to boost the mica content for techniques such as Mica Shift.

Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments are often used in polymer clay techniques such as rubber stamping. faux ceramic beads, faux enamel beads, and faux raku beads. BTW: I am currently working on a faux raku bead technique that is different from any other raku technique I have seen out there, so you can look forward to that!

If you are looking for a new craft supply to add to your studio that will help you to make lots of really cool looking polymer clay beads, think about purchasing some Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments . This product will definitely bring a little sparkle to your jewelry projects.


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Silverleaf, 06 January, 2009

    I’ve never seen Pearl Ex here in the UK, I wonder if there’s a British equivalent? I’d love to try some, particularly as I really like the mica shift technique but can’t get a clear enough effect with the metallic Fimo I’m using.

    Just found a couple of sellers on eBay but it’s really expensive, presumably because it’s imported.

    Which makes me think, how about a section of the site with a list of suppliers for different countries? Also a list of alternative names for products, for example Future floor polish is sold as Johnson’s Klear in the UK and you can get it from Sainsbury’s. I’d be happy to contribute information to this.


  2. Lorna A, 24 November, 2011

    i too have been looking for pearl ex in the uk,
    i have bought micra powders from qvc , have a look in the craft area, work a treat
    amazon uk can get it. have to wait a few weeks. quite pricy I think.
    good luck.

  3. Hannah R, 10 August, 2015

    You can use loose mineral eye shadow if you don’t have pearl ex. At least, it has worked well for me. Whatever the british equivalent to bare minerals or something. I think it is cheaper that way too, but I haven’t priced it out. I just know there are more colors of eyeshadow than pearl ex powder.

  4. Hannah R, 10 August, 2015

    this question may have been asked and answered, but I didn’t see it. Can you use pear ex powder to turn regular clay into something suitable for mica shift?


  5. Cindy Lietz, 17 August, 2015

    Hi Hannah, you can but it takes a fair amount of PearlEx to make a good mica shift… since the pearl and metallic clays are the same price as the other clays… it is much cheaper to at least start with a mica clay first and then tint it with powders if you wish.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 07 January, 2009

    That is a great idea Anna! Would have to think about how to execute it and where to put a list like that.

    As far as the Pearl Ex, can you get Perfect Pearls there? It is a comparable product. Loose iridescent eyeshadow is quite similar and would also work in a pinch. You could do a search on powdered pigments or mica powders as well. An alternative may surface.

    Let me know what you end up finding and I’ll ask Doug about a way we could put together a list of supply alternatives for other countries.

  7. Tinuke, 07 January, 2009


    I am a scrapbooker, rubber stamper and lover of die cut machines, my craft room is bursting at the seams so of course I own pearl ex in every color. I am always looking for ways to integrate all of my hobbies so I look forward to learning this technique.

    I am learning so much from you…


  8. Cindy Lietz, 08 January, 2009

    That is fantastic to hear Tinuke! I think polymer clay is a true multipurpose craft supply, there are so many ways you can combine it with other craft supplies, the possibilities are endless!

  9. Silverleaf, 08 January, 2009

    Thanks Cindy, I hadn’t thought about searching for other names!

    It seems that mica powders are available from soapmaking suppliers (found some at, but I can’t find Perfect Pearls.

    I have some gorgeous shimmery purple eyeshadow which I mixed into translucent clay once but unfortunately the colour came out a dark dull purple. Nice, but not what I was after. I’ll have to experiment.

  10. Angela, 09 January, 2009

    Pearl-Ex powders are available in the UK from:

  11. Cindy Lietz, 09 January, 2009

    @Silverleaf: That is interesting about the eyeshadow changing color when it was heated. Must have different stuff in it than the stuff I’ve tried. Thanks for the link to the soap place that should help your fellow UK clayers!

    @Angela: Thanks for the resource for the Pearl Ex! I’m sure everyone in the UK appreciates it!

    BTW: My blogging software sometimes has problems with allowing links in comments to work properly. It’s a spam protection thing to protect us against those nasty spammers that try to send us places where we don’t want to go. Anyway, just thought I’d mention it here in case those links above aren’t clickackable for some people. I had to copy and paste them manually.

  12. Silverleaf, 09 January, 2009

    Yay! We have the start of a resource suppliers list already!

  13. Jarreth, 11 January, 2009

    Hi All, I too am in the UK.

    Thanks for the tip on The Future Floow polish sold as Johnson’s Klear here in the UK. I brought a bottle back from our Florida holiday in Oct 2008 visited a few Walmarts to get it too. I’ll try Sainburys.

    I also bought all three series of Pearl Ex Powders and they are indeed fantastic to use with the clay.

    One tip I would suggest is that if you intend to buy more than one set – just buy one at once – I bought mine from Michaels and on the bottom of the receipt was a 50% off your next item voucher, but as I’d bought them all at once I didn’t need anything else – would have saved me quite a bit of money too.

    I found a site in the UK – they have the small Pearl Ex pots that you can buy singley, but then I discovered that one of my favorite sites “The Polymer Clay Pit” also have them – even better is that they sell 1 gram packets that you can buy – perfect if you only need a small amount.

    Apologies for the essay !

  14. Anna Sabina, 11 January, 2009

    These are available at Michael’s in the US too. So clip that coupon from the Sunday paper !! There are three different assortments.

  15. Jarreth, 11 January, 2009

    Hi Anna – I was in Florida when I bought them – sadly here in the UK there is no Michaels or JoAnn – how I wish there was – I could spend a whole day in there!

  16. Cindy Lietz, 11 January, 2009

    Thanks for the info Jarreth and Anna!

  17. Lupe Meter, 11 January, 2009

    I have to agree with you about the Pearl EX powders…they are gorgeous. I ordered them off the internet. The Ranger Perfect Pearls are also nice and you can get them at Michael’s…as well as the alcohol inks and if you use your 40% coupons it doesn’t cost you that much.

  18. Cindy Lietz, 13 January, 2009

    What would we do without that 40% off coupon!

  19. Donna Ingram, 27 January, 2009


    I used some Bronze this past weekend and maybe I put too much on because it really took over the beads. they are just deep bronze. Did I use too much?


  20. Cindy Lietz, 27 January, 2009

    I don’t know Donna. If you think you put too much on, you could try sanding some of it off, till you get the look you want. You could also try using more than one color of pearl ex if you want too. It is really all a matter of taste and not whether you did it right or wrong.

  21. Wendy McManus, 05 May, 2009

    Lupe above mentioned the Perfect Pearls by Ranger. They offer a unique benefit because they contain resins. If you apply the Perfect Pearls powder before baking, the resins in the powder will help to “set” the mica powder on the finished piece. You can still rub off some of the product, but most of it is incorporated into the piece. I usually still varnish, but I do have a few pieces in my personal collection that are just the Pearls and no varnish.

  22. Cindy Lietz, 05 May, 2009

    That is excellent to hear Wendy! Thanks for letting us know. Will have to add Perfect Pearls to the list of products to try on my beads!

  23. Jamie, 08 May, 2009

    Hi all. I have been using Pearl Ex powders ever since I discovered them some years ago and I love them. One of my favorite things to do with them is add them to TLC (liquid polymer clay) and then use them like paints on baked beads. You can get all kinds of wonderful effects from faux ceramics (which are very hot right now) to a lovely painted lampwork effect. I have little paint pots you can get at the craft store in strips, filled with every color mixed and ready to go. Just remember to use a sharpie and label the tops so you dont forget how to make more. They keep very well this way. If they thicken up a bit just add a drop of Sculpey diluent to thin it back down. XOXO Jamie

  24. Cindy Lietz, 09 May, 2009

    Fantastic idea Jamie! That is something I have yet to try. Love the idea of keeping it in paint pots. It’s a great way to keep from wasting the liquid clay mixtures and has it ready for when inspiration strikes. Thanks for sharing it!

  25. Melinda, 11 June, 2009

    I LOVE the Pearl Ex powder also. Don’t let the price discourage you… the little jar goes a LONG way. I use a makeup brush to brush it on.

  26. Cindy Lietz, 15 June, 2009

    You are so right Melinda! The powders will last most people forever and there are lots of neat techniques to use them with!

  27. Zarah, 06 July, 2009

    Yes, Pearl ex Pigments works great with liquid polymer clay, glad to read you think so too! I did a faux enameling with these two products, for a pair of earrings.

  28. Cindy Lietz, 08 July, 2009

    Your faux enamel earrings are so pretty Zarah! The red Pearl Ex stands out wonderfully in the liquid polymer clay!

  29. Summer, 29 August, 2009

    Hi Cindy,
    I’m new to polymer clay and have found your site very useful! Thank you!

    I am wondering if, after I brush on the powder and bake the clay, I need to seal it with something? Will the powder bond to the clay or just rub off over time if I don’t seal it? If so what do you recommend to seal something like a hand sculpted rose. Are the sprays that would work for a surface like that?

  30. Anna Sabina, 29 August, 2009

    The powder kind of melds with the clay after being baked. You would have to rub it hard for it to come off but it may happen over time. I dip my pieces in Future floor wax to ensure it will not rub off later; I have an recycled pickle jar with about 4 inches of Future floor polish. I would not try to brush Future or any finish on the powder because you may get lines. After coating with Future you can also put your piece back in the oven for 5 minutes on 275 to make the future harder. You can also use one of the other polymer clay finishes and follow their directions.

  31. Amanda O, 13 March, 2015

    Hi, I am new to polymer clay and just wanted to know it I can use pearl ex on finished baked clay then maybe seal that?

  32. Cindy Lietz, 03 April, 2015

    Hi Amanda, you can use PearlEx on baked pieces but you will need to either put some glaze down first so it has something to stick to or mix it directly into the glaze to make a paint. Golden Glazing Medium works great for that.

  33. Lori, 06 November, 2009

    Hi All,

    If you roll your uncured items in/on shimmery (more mica/glitter the better) eyeshadow or brush it on the beads (to prevent fingerprints), the color is incredible and looks like an expensive multicolored metal bead. I did not even have to seal them after curing. Amazing – Check the endcaps of stores like Target and Walmart for out-of-style shadows marked down to VERY low prices (like 79 cents!) A vist to stores like Big Lots, Ocean State Job Lot, Spags, Bldg 19 and other surplus-type stores can be rewarding also.

    BTW – I found Pearl-Ex for $1.79 per little jar on a website. All I did was type in “best price Pearl-Ex” into Google search and a list came up – of course, I went with the $1.79 product. I bought 10. Far cheaper than eye shadow even!!!


  34. Cindy Lietz, 06 November, 2009

    Awesome tips guys! Love the eyeshadow on sale idea!

    I do find it is a good idea to seal your pieces that have mica or glitter on them, because they will eventually wear off otherwise. Perfect Pearls is a mica Pigment that has a resin in it already so that it doesn’t need to be sealed, but for all the other powders I would seal them. I use Future, Studio by Sculpey Glaze, Varathane or PYMII for a sealant and durable finish.

  35. Dianne M, 16 January, 2011

    I have the dozen pkg of powdered pigments – untouched. I bought them for their beauty. Now I finally have a couple ideas for their use. Grandkids, age 8-14, & I do clay often. We have a lot of fun, & will get more adventurous now, using the pigments. THANK YOU so much for your help!

  36. Phaedrakat, 19 January, 2011

    @Dianne M: Cindy is wonderful like that. She inspires you to break out your clay & other supplies (even those you bought “just cuz they’re pretty”, LOL.) You’re really going to love putting your Pearl Ex to work. The effects are absolutely amazing—and the stuff is versatile! With the kids–especially–it’s best to avoid breathing the dust (safety first…use these gorgeous powders in a well-ventilated area.) Then start creating shimmery masterpieces! Have fun…and enjoy those ‘adventures’ with your grandkids…! :D

  37. Michele, 20 February, 2011

    I saw a video on you tube where a lady named Cathie added luminarte powder pigments into polymer clay. After getting the color she wanted she added some red pigment. I was wondering why when she mixed the red in, it didn’t change the color of the clay. It just showed up as red specks after it was baked. Does anyone know? Is it because the clay was already saturated with color? Or perhaps she did not mix it in that well or are there more types of pigments where some are powdered and some that are not as fine? Any help or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

  38. Phaedrakat, 21 February, 2011

    @Michele: Hi Michele, I checked out the video…I believe she intentionally left the red pigments ‘barely mixed’. At the beginning, she say’s something about “beads from 1000’s of years ago.” IMO, the red specks are supposed to give the beads an ancient, or “old stone” look.

    As for your last question…yes, some of the Pearl Ex pigments ARE more “fine” than others. (But that’s not why the red didn’t mix in thoroughly…it was done “on purpose” for that project.) If you like the look of “specks” in your beads, embossing powder works, too. It “does its thing” while baking, plumping up w/the oven’s heat to make cool effects. Or you could add many other things to clay, too…like colored sand, glitter, spices, dried flowers, and so much more! This blog is filled with ideas…just use the search box at the top of the page to find whatever you want. You’ll discover that just about everything polymer clay-related (& bead-making) has been discussed here at Cindy’s blog.

    This is the first time I’ve heard about LuminArte powdered pigments, though — they look pretty interesting. According to some quick research, they’re quite similar to Pearl Ex. (They contain mica, and can be combined with other media for lots of different uses.) I’ll be on the lookout for them…looks like they’d be fun to try out!

    One more thing…Cindy’s video tutes are amazing! The Polymer Clay Tutor’s videos teach you everything, step by step…and up-close, like you’re right there learning with her. If you’re interested in working with polymer clay, this is definitely the right place! Sign up for Cindy’s free newsletter (see link at top of page,) and get 3 free videos, as well as new color recipes each week… I joined–became a member–a year ago, and I absolutely love it! It’s really the best way to learn on the web…and it’s incredibly inexpensive…

    Anyway, I hope I helped with your questions…have fun! ~Kat :D

  39. Michele A, 22 February, 2011

    Kat, thank you so much! Your response was way more than I ever expected. You even watched the video – you are wonderful!! I thought this was just a blog but I now intend to sign up for Cindy’s newletter and watch some videos. This is an awesome site for help. Thanks again for all your wonderful suggestions, Michele

  40. Phaedrakat, 24 February, 2011

    @Michele: Thanks, Michele…you’re sooo welcome! I’m happy I could help! This really is a great site…it’s filled with info, both in Cindy’s videos AND in the hundreds of articles she’s posted here. The search box at the top of each page is a really useful way of finding things — or you can always ask questions, LOL! ;-) ~Kat

  41. Dianne M., 11 December, 2011

    Hi – Grandson Richie, 9 years, made a wood candelabra for his Mom for Christmas. (I used the power tools),. TOTALLY his creation – it’s beautiful! It has 8 tapers. Today we are making polymer clay bobeches for the drippings. He used gold clay, w/round cutters. After baking he’s going to mix the pigment powder into liquid clay to finish the bobesches. They will be the finishing touch for his very special project. The wood is stained, by him, to match the table. He is the MOST creative child I know! While the rounds are cooling he is making a clay thing for his Dad. I LOVE ‘playing’ with him. Our minds are definitely in sync. And we have so much fun w/everything he does.
    Merry Christmas to all!

  42. Tina M, 30 March, 2012

    Another cheaper alternative to the pearlex powders, especially for those in the UK and Australia are luster dust (aka petal dust or disco dust) powders for cake decorating or sugarart/sugarcraft as it’s known in the UK, which is much more popular and varied in the UK than in the US. Google sugar art dusting powders. One UK source is

  43. Marion Rayner, 16 February, 2016

    Hi Tina
    Just found your comment after catching up with Pearl Ex Powder. Thank you for the link to the Cake Craft Shop, they’ve got some special offers at present which would be ideal for clayers too, e.g. texture sheets, Lacer maker, serrated edge crimpers and lots more. Made me think of the Wilton flower set Cindy showed us, originally intended for sugar craft but perfect for PC.
    Happy claying!

  44. Chrissie F, 19 February, 2016

    Thanks, Tina. It’s useful to learn these things for those of us not living in the US. I’d never have thought of luster dust in a million years. Google is all very well for a search engine but it you don’t know the name it can’t find it :-)

  45. Frances M, 19 June, 2014


    Our family loves your tutorials. You are a wonderful artist and thank you for sharing yourself and your family with us.

    My question is what is the difference between Pearl Ex and Ranger Perfect Pearls pigment powders? I’ve seen Pearl Ex videos on YouTube, so I’m not sure if Ranger Perfect Pearls works the same and if there are differences between the two.



  46. Cindy Lietz, 21 June, 2014

    Hi Fran, the big difference between the two is that PearlEx is just the mica particles and Perfect Pearls is a mica powder mixed with a resin. PearlEx needs a sealer of in some situations so it doesn’t rub off, Perfect Pearls does not.

  47. Peg Carter, 14 February, 2015

    I am a fan of Helen Breil and she recommends Pearl Ex and discourages using Perfect Pearls for smooth clay because it can scratch the clay and Pearl Ex does not. So I had to order Pearl Ex. I can use my Perfect Pearls on pieces I use texture sheets on and I’ll save the Pearl Ex for pieces that are smooth.

  48. Kandace Lowrey, 20 February, 2015

    I did some research and Dick Blick who I find to have the best prices here in the US does ship internationally. Here is the link about their international shipping policy.
    Also try ebay UK ….
    I hope this helps, just type in pearlEX into the search box, they have every color and sets to. :)
    Please let us know if this helped you, Good luck to our friends overseas. I hope you can get them, they are beautiful.

  49. Neena Shilvock, 04 March, 2015

    Clayaround is an online shop in the UK that has almost everything for UK clayers – she has PearlEx and Perfect Pearls

  50. Fran Vainas, 02 March, 2016


    Can you clarify something for me? what is the difference between Pearl Ex and Perfect Pearls? I did poke around in the search box, but was not really able to find a clear answer.

    What I think is that they both have mica in them, but Perfect Pearls also has resin, is that it? I also read somewhere that Pearl Ex is temperature resistant to 600 degrees F so it clearly would not melt in our PC baking process.

    Thanks as always,

  51. Fran Vainas, 02 March, 2016

    oh, no, what a dummy. you already answered my very question just 6 inches up! Shame on me!!!

  52. Mary R, 03 December, 2017

    Thank you for this article! I want to make some pieces for gifts… can you tell me the difference between INKA Gold products and PearlEx? I recently bought 2 sets of Pearl Ex and now am wondering if I need also INKA Gold too. I’ve seen where INKA Gold in applied with cosmetic sponge after slightly dampen I ng the INKA gold. The pearl ex colors are gorgeous…hopefully they alone will be all I need for color. Also, have you used Alcohol Ink with Pearl Ex on polymer clay? Thank you for your reply!

  53. Cindy Lietz, 04 December, 2017

    Inka Gold is actually a creme and PearlEx is a powder. They are kind of different. Play with the PearlEx powders first, they are wonderful! If you want to try something new, then try the Inka Gold and see which you like better. Have fun!

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