Friday, March 16, 2018

DIY: Eyeshadow to Watercolor Paint Experiment

All right guys, if you know me then you know I like to be frugal. If you've been following me on social media then you know I've been playing around with watercolors which can be pretty expensive if you go for the artist quality which you should totally do. It's worth it. But why don't I use it here? Well my friend, read on.

Ok, the main reason I picked this up at my local dollar store is that I wanted a compact and affordable travel watercolor palette. I've seen loads of people get clever and use Altoid tins and old make up palettes as their travel kits. I thought I'd try it. Whenever I use this up I'll replace it with my artist quality watercolors.

Let me start with the disclaimers.

What this DIY eyeshadow to watercolor paint IS NOT:
  • Quality paint (I do not know the lightfastness quality of these pigments but expect it to be next to nil as this is eye shadow and not meant to last forever. But it's fun if you enjoy a little extra something in your art journals.)
  • Expert opinion (I've not mixed pigments before and have little knowledge other than what I've researched online)
  • Your results may vary depending on the type of eye shadow you use because each brand  makes it differently
Materials I used:
  • Eye shadow palette
  • Water
  • Honey (or an alternative binder like gum arabic)
  • Plastic knife
  • Synthetic brush
  • Ceramic plate
I don't enjoy wearing make up so I knew going in that I'd never use these eye shadows even though I love the colors. I also didn't want the powders to go to waste and decided to give this experiment a try.

It was really easy to take a plastic knife and pop out the eye shadows. You can see how powdery they were when I scraped them out.

Here I started to play around with proportions and the best way to mix the pigments. This is part of the fun. It seemed easier to mix the honey first then slowly add water until it becomes like a paint-like texture.

I used honey because it was on hand and seemed like a good idea because there are a few artist quality watercolors who use honey as a binding agent. I could probably use other items to make the pigments stay better but since it was just an experiment so I wanted to keep the ingredients minimal.

Now my proportions might be different from yours depending on the amount of pigments but I ended up using about two dime-sized drops of honey then mixed it with the synthetic brush and then slowly added drops of water till it ended up the consistency I wanted. It might be better to add as little water as possible or it'll get watery like the jade green (at the top of the picture) in the picture below. I'd say about 2 parts of honey for 1 part of water.

It took a few hours to do this, mostly because I had no idea what I needed, what I was doing and the proportions to put it. It got easier and I was doing this while watching some TV shows. 

Below you can see how the paints looked when I put them back in the palette.

Now I didn't take any photos of the paints in use but I can say it works for the most part.


  • I can say that the paint does work and lay down on the paper BUT once they dry they become powdery again. (It's a bit reminiscent of using pastels when blending. They do lay on the paper a bit streaky but it's easily fixed by blending with a finger. I don't think you can lay more layers on top of these so probably use this as a last step in your art work.) 
  • The eye shadow may rub on the other side of the paper because of the above. These would be fun to use in an art journal or just for fun. You could probably use a fixative if you wanted the powders to stay put afterwards.
  • Colors may shift and the eye shadows aren't as pearlescent on paper as they can be on skin and I suspect it's because of the honey.
One last thing, you could probably spray paint the palette white before you put the paint back in if you want a white mixing well. It doesn't bother me yet but I can fix that once I'm done with these paints and it's warmer outside.

That's all I've got for you today! Let me know what you think! Have you tried doing this before? Was yours more successful? I'd love to hear how you do it! I have other palettes I need to do this to. I'd love any insight on improvements!

Till next time friends!


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