This topic has 7 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 11 months ago by Angelique Powers.

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    I’ve had quite a bit of mica powder donated and want to know what you all recommend for suspending/binding it for interior metallic finishes.

    Yes I’ll use a mask when I open the powder containers.

     Lili Lennox
      • Experience: 15-20 years
      • Scenic Status: Full Time Freelance

      Partner Member

      I’ve used it suspended in water-based clear sealers and shellac… I recall the shellac giving a much more lustrous metallic finish (I think we used amber)… it didn’t hold well, though. Only mix as much as you need in the immediate future.

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

       Jason Strom
        • Experience: 15-20 years
        • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

        Shellac is by far the best for suspending mica powder. It will reveal tons of brush strokes, and I have had great success putting it through an HVLP. Appropriate PPE please! It will sink, being a mixture, so stir often. I prefer dewaxed shellac.

        Water based stuff just doesn’t give the clarity that the mica needs. Looks flat and boring.

         Angelique Powers
          • Experience: 20+ years
          • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

          Member Member

          Keeping to the Mica Powder theme, has anyone actually been asked to apply it to wall to create better reflectivity for a projection surface and did it actually do the trick?

          I am not convinced that the extra cost in materials and labor actually pay off.

          Especially when I keep seeing projections just thrown up anywhere and everywhere, and the only thing that made it better was how dark the rest of the room was compared to the strength of the lamp in the projector.

          – Getting off soap box now-

           Jason Strom
            • Experience: 15-20 years
            • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

            I would be interested in that discussion too. We looked into it last year for a production, but it turned out to be cost prohibitive.

              • Experience: 20+ years
              • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

              Regarding the economics and directionality of brushed suspensions of mica powder:

              One way I’ve used mica powder before is to “flash guild”, if that’s the right term: lay down a coat of Wunda-Size or Dux, or other water-borne size as you would to apply metal leaf, then apply the mica powder (as a powder) over the surface, moving loose particles around with a chip brush or similar until all the size is covered. If the adhesive surface is *totally* covered, you can burnish a little with a soft cloth and remove any excess powder in the process, putting it back in the original container with no contamination.

              WundaSize, Dux and their friends (basically less viscous/more watery- kinds of contact cement) seem to level fairly well. You have to be careful that only the mica gets fixed by the adhesive, not your sleeve or the brush you’re using to move the mica around.

              The size stays open up to 36 hours.

              The size does remain kind of soft even when dry– that is, especially if you lay it on generously for better self-leveling, it’s susceptible to impressions and scrapes. But, still might be easier to fix than a paint.

              Mica applied this way won’t show the direction marks of brushing metallic or mica paint, though, of course, it will show any application marks of the size step and flaws in the substrate.

              It takes less mica than mixing it in to a binder.

              A color-supportive base coat is essential as the mica is still translucent.

              I can’t remember ever putting an additional sealer coat over mica used this way, so not sure how that would affect the apparent luster.

                • Experience: 15-20 years
                • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

                I was wondering if anyone had updates to this thread -especially about using mica as a reflective projection surface.

                The designers request is to suspend mica in a flat sealer and spray over the painted surface so it reflects light when lit a specific way.

                I’ll start testing, but was curious if anyone knew about preferred mica types to achieve this – the designer does not know & has only heard of this technique.


                 Angelique Powers
                  • Experience: 20+ years
                  • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

                  Member Member

                  Thanks for the reminder!  I have some of the results from my mica tests!

                  In a short answer yes – Mica will ‘reflect’ with light when mixed into a proper glaze, but I did not mix it with a flat, as I wanted more open time before it dried. (The Glaze already had a slight eggshell sheen) And I would say that it was more reflective than a shine from say a gloss paint, if that makes sense, but still shiny.

                  I did not spray, as I didn’t want to introduce mica powder into the air.

                  I used “Super White” from Sepp products via Rosebrand.  One 3.5 jar cost 20$ plus shipping

                  It feels like you are mixing with powder sugar, and I would highly recommend a dust mask when mixing.

                  My first ratio was 1 tablespoon to a cup of Ben Moore Glaze and when applied over my surface it felt like a super shiny eyeshadow on Saturday night for clubbing.

                  The second ratio was 2 cups glaze to a tablespoon and it was more subdued, but still reacted with light.

                  I was testing the mica as a possible enhancement to surface receiving projections.   It did make darks darker, but the difference was very very minor, and we saw no effect on color boosting.  We also found it to be more distracting than helpful where the light areas were as it was shinier in those spots.

                  I used the 1tbs to 2 cups ratio and mixed in some Vandyke to create an ‘aging glaze” and it made a  pretty sheer metallic.

                  I applied it over my cement block hoping to combine and aging layer and mica in a pass to save time/labor. And the results were mixed.  It created a nice subtle effect that would have been cool for something that wanted to be more glamorous but we wanted depressing prison.


                  I am hoping to do a more formal “photo shoot” later this fall with our lighting class. But these were the best photo than came out of

                  In this photo you can see better where I applied the mica mixes over grey paint, it didn’t photo well on the white – but in person, it was shiny like the grey sample.


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