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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

DIY Pressing Loose Eye Shadow & Pigment

Today I pressed two eyeshadows from Fyrinnae and a pigment from DreamWorld Hermetica.

There are a few things you will want to watch out for before pressing. Shimmery colors are typically easier to press, and mattes and satins can be a little more challenging.

Eye shadows with filler or base ingredients as a primary ingredient or a lot of ultramarine do not press well. Mica based shades press easily, but work better when they have a heavier binder in the mix such as carnauba wax.

Some companies that I've pressed a lot of shadows from are Shiro Cosmetics, and Fyrinnae, but most shadows will work just fine.

Eye shadows are unique, even within a collection or brand. Some will be more dense than others, so you may need to vary the amount if you want to fill up the pan.

If you want to fill the pan completely you'll need to do it in layers. I recommend pressing 1/2 tsp at a time at most.

I find that while pressing does not dramatically alter an eye shadow's color, it can bring out undertones. I have found that dark colors like a deep purple or blue that are described as "blackened" tend to deepen further. Duochromes can be pressed without altering their effect.

If you're looking for where to buy the stuff you'll need I recommend getting the TKB Trading Pressing Kit (you won't need the MyMix Pressing Base powder unless you are making eyeshadows from scratch with their micas) and their fractionated coconut oil. A 0.5 oz bottle will probably make 500 pans and it has an indefinite shelf life.

What you need
Eyeshadow or pigment, at least 1/4 tsp and up to 1 tsp depending on the density
91% rubbing alcohol
A binding agent like glycerin or fractionated coconut oil
A tin or aluminum pan, 26mm is standard
Paper towel or pressing ribbon
Pressing tile, pressing knob, or a quarter

Items that are nice to have
2 Eye droppers
Tiny mixing bowl
A nail file or knife to remove a sifter lid (be careful, and if you're under 16 have an adult help)

I'm pressing Grendel's Mother (Dream World Hermetica), Serendipity & Works Safe Blue (Fyrinnae)

Step One - Sanitize your Pans
Pour a tiny bit of 91% rubbing alcohol into your pan, swirl it around, then drain it out and set it aside to dry. Make sure you get the sides of the pan.

Step Two - The Eyeshadow

I prefer to dump my shadow into a tiny glass mixing bowl. It's about 3 inches wide and I found it at Target. you can mix your eyeshadow in the jar if it's not too full, or in the pan itself if you're careful. This is the mini size of Work Safe Blue from Fyrinnae and is 1/4 tsp of product.

Step Three - Your Binding Agent

Next I add 3 drops of fractionated coconut oil using an eyedropper. You can use food grade glycerin which can be bought at most pharmacies. I like to keep my ratio of 3 drops per 1/4 tsp.

Step Four - Add some Rubbing Alcohol

Add about 8-9 drops of 91% rubbing alcohol to disperse your binding agent, then mix with your toothpick. It will ball up and look chunky as you see below.

Step Five - Mix, and Repeat

Use your toothpick to mix, breaking up any large chunks. Add your rubbing alcohol 2-3 drops at a time until it gets more consistent and like wet sand.

At this point you want to add just one drop at a time until it clumps together into a ball that's the consistency of dough.

Step Six - Add it to your pan

Put the dough ball in your pan and use the toothpick to smooth it down until it's even. If it's difficult to pat down you can add one drop of rubbing alcohol. 

If you've added too much rubbing alcohol and your mixture is soupy tap it against the table to get rid of any air bubbles and let it set up for an hour or two before pressing.

Step Seven - Pressing Time

Put the pressing ribbon or a 1 ply piece of paper towel over the pan and use your pressing tile, tamper, or quarter inside the pan. I like to press it down gently, then put my whole hand over it and press with force 5 times. Sometimes if you press too hard all at once it will slip and press at an angle, making it uneven.

Step Eight - Repeat until Finished

Press it a few times until the ribbon/paper towel comes away fairly clean. Darker or brighter colors will stain more and require more presses.

Step Nine - Label and let Cure

Don't forget to label! The Fyrinnae labels are small and thin enough that you can use them directly on the pan. Shiro's labels are too thick to be used with a magnetized palette, so I write on the pan with sharpie. Now that it's all done you can set it aside and let it cure for 24-48 hours. I know it's tempting but don't use it until then because the rubbing alcohol is still evaporating.

All done!
L to R: Work Safe Blue, Serendipity, Grendel's Mother


  1. Oh gosh, thanks so much for posting this! I was having a hard time getting my pigments to press! Guess I just needed a binding agent! Great step by step pictures too (:

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  4. This is super helpful information. Thank you! If you want your pans to be full, how long do you wait to add more to your already pressed pan?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Can you repress the pressing eyeshadow when they crumble from old palette??

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