Monday, September 08, 2008

Pressing Pigments using Coastal Scents EZ Prez Pressing Medium (Tutorial)

I finally got around to pressing my mineral makeup. I finally used up all 15 pans in one palette and I'm pretty happy with the results!!! I pressed most of my TKB Trading pigments (Pop! Sampler and Julie's Garden) for this batch.

Oh, by the way, this post is picture heavy!

I know I said this will be a tutorial, but as Vanessa has mentioned, there are already way too many videos on YouTube how to do this. I specifically like EnKore's pigment pressing video (he has a few) and used that as my inspiration. And yes, it's possible not to make a whole mess out of this project!

Here are some tips and tricks that I learned along in the process of pressing pigments. It doesn't really have to be messy thing to do at all! Being an organized and clean freak I am, I manage to do the task with minimal pigment mess all over my workspace (ummm... the kitchen :]).

TIP #1: Sanitize all your utensils. Especially the quarter you're using. Although I still wrapped mine in a cling plastic wrap (for easy cleaning), I sanitized it anyway in a small container with alcohol (make sure you cover the top so the alcohol won't evaporate if you leave it overnight). This includes your mixing bowl, spatulas, and pans. Wipe them all with alcohol before starting.

TIP #2: Use a glass container when mixing your pigments. When I was doing my first batch of pigments I used whatever I could find in the kitchen: extra cough syrup cup, dipping sauce container (edit: accidentally) jacked from a restaurant xP, and the pigment sample jar. First of all, any clear plastic cup like the cough syrup will stain over time as you keep mixing your pigments. It's also hard to pick up your pigment because it clings to the sides. The dipping sauce was too wide and just has too much space. On the other half, the pigment sample jar is too small that there's really no room to mix your pigments which is the greatest mess-maker of all!!! So these items for me were just a no-go anymore.

I found this glass candle holder at Michael's which I thought was the perfect size and shape to mix my pigments. It was also only 99 cents, so it's not like you'd be breaking the bank getting one of these.

Why a glass candle holder???
1. The diameter of the holder is not too small or big (if it's too big, you're more likely to use more pigments, and you really don't need a lot).
2. The sides of the holder is straight making it easier to scoop every bit (or at least most of it) of pigments.
3. Since it's made out of glass, the container can hold it's ground while you're mixing because it has some weight (so it's not moving around too much).
4. It's transparent. You can see every pigment you have inside, making it easier to scoop the hell out of your mixture and cleaning it.
5. It's easier to clean. Wipe it with tissue with some alcohol in it after each use. No need for a sink to wash and clean your mixing bowl.

TIP #3: Use a skinny spatula with a long handle. I tried mixing my pigments with a tiny spatula (see image above). I mean all is great in the beginnning, but once you hit the third or fourth mixture, your hands will be cramping. It's just harder to hold a tiny spatula while you're trying to mix your pigments. The first spatula's head that I used was too fat which made it difficult for me to mix and transfer the pigment to the pan.
Again, same trip to Michael's, I found these spatulas in the painter's aisle for a whopping $2!!! And it has six spatula head sizes. They do sell the metal ones as well individually, but that's more dinero. This is the cheapest one I can find.

I used the spatula with a diamond head out of the six. It was the perfect one, I think, because the tip is skinny which makes mixing easier and picking up and transferring the pigment and the sides are slanted, perfect when you scrape for all the goods stuck on the side of the glass container.

TIP #4: Use little at a time. Use only what you think you need. You don't really need a teaspoonful of pigment in one pan. I would estimate 1/4 teaspoon is pretty good (or 2-3 scoops using my old spatula pictured way above). You can always add more later. You don't want to fill the pan to the brim because it will overflow and you will make a big mess once you press it down. Same thing with your pressing medium. You don't want your mixture to be too dry to wet. The mixture is good if it has a dough-like look too it (it's like making bread!!).

So like this! See how the mixture is not too wet? There's not much product wasted either and it makes the container easier to clean.

How it should look like after you transferred the pigment to the pan. See how there's not much goop in there??

TIP #5: Clean the container and the spatula after each use. Just wipe it using a tissue and alcohol and your good to go. Wipe your spatula first, then your container (only makes sense right??). The alcohol will pick up the rest of the pigment left in the container and sanitizes it as well. Use tissues instead of papertowels. It's just less of a waste.
TIP #6: Tap the the pan help settle the pigment. Just kind drop the pan on a flat surface until it settles (don't drop it too high!). This also lessens the mess before you press it. It gives you an even distribution of the pigment

TIP #7: After the pigment settles, press it with a papertowel using a quarter. It'll pick up the excess liquid in the mixture that helps cut drying time. It's also to compact the pigments together before creating those hatches.

Line them up! See even this step I try to keep it organized. Make sure after each use the colored part is facing up. Facing it down to the surface will kinda make the papertowel dirty for next use.

So that's all the tips I have to offer. If you can keep these in mind then pressing pigments won't be such a disaster.
Take your time. Do it on a day you don't have much to do. It is time consuming, but once you get things rolling, it gets easier and faster. Clean up after every mixing and keep things organize. Get all your materials in one place and cleaned up before you start. Find a work area where you have enough space for your stuff while you work.

So here's how my work area looked like after pressing ten pigments. Not bad eh??? It's just a bit cluttered with all the papertowel and tissue I used xP. I have more to go. But I'll save those for another day. I laid a papertowel where I'm mixing my pigments. Pre-cut the ribbon that you think you'll need to create the hatch. Spilled some pigment on your work area? All it takes is a tissue with alcohol and dab on it... don't try wiping it because it will smear. The alcohol will quickly pick up the pigment if you just dab on it.
SHAKE YOUR EZ PREZ PRESSING MEDIUM BEFORE DROPPING IT IN THE MIXTURE. I realized I forgot this important step after pressing nine pigments -___-*. We'll see how my eyeshadows will hold up later on. I was too caught up on things and was too eager in getting it done I guess?
Stay tuned for an upcoming post of transforming your Coastal Scents palette into something magnetic!!
**omgoodness... this is probably my longest post ever -____-*


  1. Hey Annie :) Those pigments look great! Can I ask what is the deep blue pigment you pressed? Thanks!

  2. yo annnnnnnnnnnnne! that shit looks soooooooooooo clean! and those piggies are effing gorgeous. do swatches yea?!

  3. What great tips! Could you tell me with of the pressed e/s are from the Julie's Garden collection? I'm thinking about getting them and am curious to know how they look pressed.

  4. this is soo helpful! thank you! i can't wait to do this.. (it'd be almost like a kid again!) haha!

  5. Color porn! Hah. I"m going to turn my kids into pigment pressing kings!! Lol.

  6. Excellent tutorial! Thanks so much, it was really informative, and the pictures helped a lot :D I'll have to try this soon!

  7. those colors look so yummy n vibrant!
    I have a bunch of these pigments i never use because i personally think pigments are too messy and i get a lot of fallout.
    i need to give this a shot!

  8. O.o Intricate steps! You're certainly the guru of pigment pressing!

  9. You FINALLY got the untainted binder! I've already pressed a couple of my minerals, but I'm still waiting for my TKB pigments and empty pans. I got like 50. :D

  10. LOL i steal the little dipper containers too :p

    thanks for the post!

  11. This is very helpful, I'll have to try it one of these days. thanks.

  12. great tutorial, i just can't believe it took them after 3 tries to send it out to u correctly...what bad customer service

  13. chestnutjani: the deep blue is from TKB Trading called Midnight Train from the All Eyes on Ria (LE) collection.

    L and katrina: I'll definitely have the pressed swatches up sometime this week.

  14. that looks like fun I'll have to try it one day!

  15. Ooo... Great tutorial!
    You make it look so easy
    I'd like to try this.


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