Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How I Add Colour to My Acrylic Nail Powders With STAEDTLER Karat Soft Pastel Chalks

I've been looking for a more consistent way to add colour to my acrylic powder mixes. I have been using eyeshadow, but once you run out of a colour finding the same one again can be a challenge. I decided to try an old friend. STAEDTLER Karat soft pastel chalks are great to have in your art cupboard for a bunch of uses. We use them to add colour to all sorts of projects from paper mache to school drawing assignments. I decided I would get a colour I could rely on and go back to again and again if I mixed my own acrylic powder with these highly pigmented sticks.

Here's how I did it!

Things you'll need to mix your own acrylic powder colour:

STAEDTLER Karat soft pastel chalks in the colours of your choice
STAEDTLER Lumicolour permanent black 0.6 F marker
Nail file medium grit
Sheets of plain white paper
Nail brush
White acrylic powder
Clear acrylic powder
Sparkles in the colour of your choice
Small seal-able containers to hold mixed powder
clear nail tips
Monomer liquid
#6 round brush
Paper towels

Pick some colours that you would like to mix. I chose different gradients of blue for a future frosty project. Make sure your work surface is clean and protected. This can get messy. Lay out a sheet of clean white paper.

Put the tip of the nail file onto the center of a plain white piece of paper and file the tip of one of the chalk colours you have chosen until you have about a quarter teaspoon of colour on the paper.

Use the nail cleaning brush to clean off the nail file. Scrub it over top of the paper to collect the mess. Use the sheet of paper to pour the chalk powder into a small container. Repeat as many times as you want with as many colours as you'd like. Clean the file and brush between colours and use a new sheet of paper for each colour. I also find it helpful to start with the lightest colour first. It keeps colour contamination down.

Here's what I came up with. Four hues of blue. Approximately a quarter teaspoon each.

I decided to add sparkles and mylar flakes to the lightest two colours. I picked similar shades, but interesting combinations can be made by choosing contrasting sparkles. Mix in as much or as little as you'd like. I used about an eighth of a teaspoon each.

I added two scoops from my cuticle pusher, about a quarter teaspoon, of white acrylic powder to each pot.

I added ten scoops from my cuticle pusher, about one and a quarter teaspoons, of clear acrylic powder to each pot.

Seal up the jars and roll them around a bit to mix the ingredients together.

Huh.... They look pretty good so far. I'm going to have to test them to see if they are what I was looking for.

I wet my brush in monomer and picked up a ball of coloured powder. It instantly darkened. Most coloured powders you buy commercially darken when used, so I'm not worried. It's why I added white powder to my mix. Smooth the ball out onto a nail tip and shape it. Set it aside to cure and repeat with the other colours you've mixed.

I coated each test nail in a clear coat. They look great. The pigment in these little chalk sticks is pretty intense. A little goes a long way.

I grabbed my black Lumicolour to mark each tip with the corresponding colour number so I could keep track of my mixes in my colour diary. I really like that I can blend my own colours. The colour choices are endless now. Staedtler Karat pastels come in sets of up to 48 colours and they can each be blended together to achieve an uncountable array of rainbowy goodness.


Lisa Somerville said...

How fun! Now you can have a rainbow of nail colors!

Kellie Mowat said...

Hey Lisa!

I think I need more fingers............

Anonymous said...

Awesome Tutorial and you have given me some great ideas!! Thank you!!!

DLo1992 said...

How much is the chalk?

from Kellie said...

Hello DLo1992
If you follow the link to the STAEDTLER page (by clicking on the chalk link in the post) and contact them, they will get you in touch with the STAEDTLER retailer nearest you. They can be purchased separately or in a kit. They are a pretty versatile medium. Thanks for asking.

zhaimerah khan said...

That was awesome, so what would have changer if you did not add the white powder, cause most tutorial I've seen only say add clear

from Kellie said...

Hey there zhaimerah khan,
Thanks for asking.
I added the teeny bit of white to help make the colour a bit more opaque. It didn't lighten the tones at all, just gave a denser colour.
The chalks are super easy to use and STAEDTLER has a great pigment base for colour blending. Hope you try it.

Anonymous said...

Can I use any type of chalk?

Kellie Mowat said...

I only have experience using STAEDTLER chalk. It's a better grade of chalk and has a high pigment load. Great for colour mixing after the acrylics have been blended. Well worth the bucks. Hope you try it!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful but i can't get to the link

Kellie Mowat said...

Thanks for the heads up. STAEDTLER has recently rearranged their site so some of my past tutorial links aren't as accurate as they use to be. I've repaired this posts links for you.
Hope they work now. Great products! Hope you check 'em out!

Anonymous said...


tankyshop said...

i wonder if the chalk powder can be mix into clear UV gel?

Kellie Mowat said...

Hey there Tankyshop!
I did a tut on blending the chalks with gels here on the blog.

Cut and paste the link into your browser to follow.

Thanks for writing!

Moe Brown said...

This is great. I want to know will this work the same if I use the soap powder in colors and mix it with acrylic? Have you ever tried that?

Kellie Mowat said...

Hi Moe!
Unfortunately, I don't know if soap powders will work. I chose STAEDTLER chalks because their pigment load is good and their colours are true mixable art grade pigment. I wanted to make sure that if I mixed red and blue I got purple, not mud. I'm curious to hear how it goes!
Let us know.
Good luck!

Unknown said...

I tried this technique and the mix had dark specs of chalk what should I do

Unknown said...

I tried this technique and the mix had dark specs of chalk what should I do

Kellie Mowat said...

I think that your powder grind was maybe a bit coarse. I would try a finer sandpaper or nail file next time. You might fix the current blend by adding some more finely ground powder. Good luck!

Kellie Mowat said...

I think that your powder grind was maybe a bit coarse. I would try a finer sandpaper or nail file next time. You might fix the current blend by adding some more finely ground powder. Good luck!

Interested in DIY Nails said...

Great information

Thanks for sharing

Aria Livingston said...

Can u add food color additives in acrylic powder

Kellie Mowat said...

Hi Aria! Thanks for writing.
I haven't tried to add food grade colour powder.
I think it depends what the carrier is.
I used an art grade chalk made by STAEDTLER.
The carrier is a neutral non reactive chalk.
The pigments are true art grade colour, easily blended into new true colour. For instance, Blue and yellow does make green.... Not a muddy green but a true crisp green that can then be re-blended to make other greens.
If the carrier in the food grade colour is a perishable product, I wouldn't use it in nail art. It could "go off" and create conditions for mold or fungus growth.
I think it's best to stick with product that is either intended only for nail use, or an artist grade product.
Good question!