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Tutorial: How to Press Pigments

March 20, 2010

Turn a messy loose pigment into an easy pressed eyeshadow!

I love pigments, but I don’t ever have time for the mess. It just makes things frustrating when I get ready in the morning. So the easiest solution is to press them and have them in eyeshadow pan form. Same pigment, less mess. This is also a useful way to fix a broken eyeshadow as it is done with the same process. Many people are not aware of how this is done, so I thought I’d share my way of pressing pigments. Here is a simple pigment pressing tutorial done with MAC Crush Metal Pigments Stacked 1! and Stacked 2!.

You will need:

  1. Rubbing Alcohol (put into a smaller container- travel containers or visine eye droppers will do)
  2. Pigments (or broken eyeshadow-which will need to be crushed to a pigment form)
  3. Eyeshadow pans (I purchase mine here)
  4. Paper towels
  5. Quarters (2-3 for every eyeshadow pan you will be using)
  6. Scrap fabric in small squares (denim or heavy fabrics work well- i used an old t-shirt)
  7. Heavy books (such as textbooks or encyclopedias)
  8. Thin magnets (available here, or at craft stores in small squares)
  9. Eyeshadow palette (MAC palettes or you can buy a no-name empty one here)
  10. Small mixing container (small paper cups or small lids from bottles work well)
Step 1.
Place several paper towels down wherever you work space is because this stuff gets messy. Once you have your work station set up, pour 3 small drops of rubbing alcohol into your mixing container. Then with the plastic spoon, pour about 3/4 of a teaspoon of pigment into the mixing container. Grab the plastic knife and carefully mix the pigment and alcohol together until it reaches an icing-like consistency. If the mixture is still too powdery with pigment, pour in another small drop of alcohol and mix in. Or, if it is too liquidy pour in another small scoop of pigment. It should look like this in your mixing container:

Step 2.
Next, scoop out the mixture (the plastic knife works best for this) and plop it into the eyeshadow pan. Don’t worry about smoothing it out or around to fill the pan; that would get way too messy. The next step will take care of flattening it out.
Step 3.
Then pick up the eyeshadow pan about an inch or two high and LIGHTLY drop it back onto your work surface. Do this a couple of times; pick it up and lightly drop it. Make sure when you drop it it lands on the back flat surface; do not let it turn over or all of your mixture will fall out. Doing this helps the mixture smooth itself out in the eyeshadow pan. Pick it up and drop it as many times as needed until the inside of the pan is completely filled. It should look like this after a drop or two:

You are finished with this step once it looks like this:

Step 4.
Leave the filled eyeshadow pans in a safe place to dry overnight. Once they are dry the next step can occur. Here are the eyeshadows completely dry and ready to be pressed:

Step 5.
When the eyeshadows are completely dry take a sqaure of scrap fabric and place it over the eyeshadow pan. Take a quarter and place over the piece of fabric (the quarter fits perfectly in the inside of the eyeshadow pan) and press down, HARD. Put pressure onto the quarter with your thumb, hand or even pick it up and use more strength to press the quarter into the pan. Do this to all of your eyeshadows.

Step 6.
Once you have manually pressed all the eyeshadows, place the pieces of fabric over each eyeshadow and cluster all the eyeshadows together. Once you have them covered with the squares of fabric, place a stack of 2 (or 3- whatever you have) quarters on top of each eyeshadow. This is what it should look like:

 Step 7.
Place a large stack of very heavy books on top of the cluster of eyeshadows (with the fabric and quarters too). I used three heavy books and then placed my laptop on top of that. Leave it for a couple of hours. This will fully press the shadows and lock in the pigment so that it is properly pressed. Once you remove the books, the eyeshadow should be complete and look like this:

Step 8.
Next is to attach the magnets to the eyeshadow pans. If you already have precut magnet circles, then you can skip this next step. My magents are small squares, so I cut off the corners and turn them into circles. The magents I purchased are also sticky on the back, so I didn’t need any glue. But if you have non-sticker magnets, then glue the magents to the back of the eyeshadow pan with super glue or craft glue. Whichever you have on hand. Here is what the magnet should look like on the back of the pan:
Step 9.
You can label your eyeshadow with small circle stickers and write the name of the color on back, if you would like to. then, once your eyeshadows are completely finished, pop them into your eyeshadow palette and you’re done!
Have any questions? Ask me in a comment below!
  • dust bunnies and make-up; ❤
    February 8, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    So helpful, thank you!!! I cannot wait to press my two mineral eyeshadows, they are so annoying when they're loose! 🙂

    thank you, great blog!!