How To Prepare Pearl Ex Pigments for Calligraphy
Posted by Sarah @ PIA on Jan 26th 2023
Pearl Ex by Jacquard are safe, inert powdered pigments that can be used for a multitude of arts and crafts projects. Pearl Ex can be mixed into any viscous medium for a metallic/pearlescent effect, including oils, acrylics, gouache, wax, polymer clay, watercolors, and so much more. These pigments are colorfast, temperature resistant, weather resistant and non-tarnishing, and can be applied glass, metal, wood, fabric, paper, any other surfaces for archival applications. Different particle sizes produce different effects, from a smooth pearly luster to a highly metallic sheen.
It's surprisingly easy to make Pearl Ex pigments into a beautiful calligraphy ink, ready for use with pointed and broad-edge nibs. This article will help walk you through the process. Here's a list of tools and ingredients you'll need:
- Pearl Ex pigment, color of your choice
- Jacquard's powdered gum arabic
- Empty jar
- Pipette or eyedropper
- Distilled water
- Stirring stick or brush
- Measuring spoon
- Dip pen, holder, and paper of your choice
The first step is to mix Pearl Ex with gum arabic. Gum arabic is used as a binder in a variety of artistic techniques; this means it helps hold particles together, increases luminosity, and prevents cracking and bleeding once your ink is dry. Mixing this medium with Pearl Ex pigments will improve your calligraphy and make your solution have a longer shelf life. The proper ratio is 1 part gum arabic to 4 parts Pearl Ex. If you need more or less ink, you can always adjust the size of your measuring spoon.
Next, add distilled water to your gum arabic/Pearl Ex mixture. It's very important to add water slowly, especially if you're mixing a small batch of ink. We recommend using an eye dropper or pipette. Keep a mixing brush or stick close by and stir often, making sure you get any clumps off the bottom of the jar. Once your Pearl Ex has achieved the consistency of an acrylic ink (such as Dr. Ph. Martin's or Ziller) it's ready to use.
Use a brush to paint your Pearl Ex calligraphy ink onto the back of your nib. If the mixture seems a little too thick for your preference, add more water. On the other hand, if the mixture seems to runny, add more gum arabic. Once you've achieved an ideal viscosity, your custom-mixed calligraphy ink is ready to use! Pearl Ex's metallic sheen shows up great on both dark and light papers, and gives a raised appearance to your letters once dry. If you don't use the entire mixture in one sitting, store your Pearl Ex in an airtight jar to use for future projects.
Pearl Ex powdered pigments are available in 48 shimmering colors. You can find them all here.
Powdered Gum Arabic is available here.
Other products used in this tutorial include: Single Refill Jar with Cap, Clear Glass Bottle & Dropper, Speedball Oblique Holder, Nikko G nib, and Bristle Mixing Brush #4.