Friday, July 15, 2011

Perfect Pearl & Pearl Ex - Dusted Images

Disclaimer: Please note that this test was performed because I receive many e-mails with regards to the permanence of these types of pigment powders.  One of the most asked question is why do they rub off even minimally when used as directed (or not).   Even though I have posted directions on how to properly use Perfect Pearls in the past sometimes you just want to experiment and use it your own way which I understand.  This post and examples are not intended to slam one product or another.  It is just the unbiased results using this particular technique that seems to come up most in question.

One of the most popular ways to use mica pigments is to dust images that have been stamped with either a clear or colored embossing ink or a pigment ink.   Many people claim that Pearl Ex flakes off where Perfect Pearls doesn't so I decided to put it to a side by side comparison. 

Note:  Someone brought a different type of pigment powder (Magical Micas) to my attention.  I've never played with them nor do I have any so I couldn't include them in this test.  If I acquire any in the future I will always go back and share a new and updated comparison.

For this test I am using 3 colors of Perfect Pearls & Pearl Ex on both white and black cardstock.  I am using Rangers Perfect Medium as the embossing ink for both powders.

As you can see the PP Purple color is a bit off compared to the PE Purple. The "Pearl" and Turquoise(PP)/Sky Blue (PE) is a tad bit different shade but both are very similar.   I must say I did notice a difference in particle size.  PP is a much finer powder where the PE has a larger particle size making the mica much more noticeable and sparklie (IMO).  A good comparison in my mind is the difference between cornstarch powder and talc powder.   

PP vs PE - Dusted Images 001

Now for the real test.  I heated* both powders (*NOTE - I heated it to speed drying, you can of course skip this step and let them dry naturally) and then let them cool.  Once the powders were cool I took the fat brush that comes with the PP kit and wiped it across all of the images.  As you can see BOTH powders easily dusted off, the Perfect Purple PP held up the best with about 50% of the powder still adhered to the image.   The rest are hit and miss at best.   After I took this photo I swiped my finger across the remaining bits and again BOTH powders came off on my fingertips.

PP vs PE - Dusted Images 006

So I moved onto the black paper using the same colors, stamp and ink.  The first image was taken with a flash, the second without. 

PP vs PE - Dusted Images 003

PP vs PE - Dusted Images 005

This time I misted BOTH the PP and PE with a sealer**.  In this case some mist hair spray (what can I's what was handy - lol).  I then heated both sets of images to dry and let them cool.  This time BOTH images were set into the paper and did not swipe off with my brush or finger at all!

**NOTE: It was brought to my attention that PP should be misted with water to make them "permanent".  In my experience (which is extensive btw) even if you mist Perfect Pearls with water as suggested by the mfg, some of the powder will still rub off which is why I skipped that step for the Perfect Pearls and went straight to the sealer.   If you're a purist you may choose to mist the PP with water and leave it at that.

PP vs PE - Dusted Images 007

My Results: 
Over-All Impact:  I found that because of the particle size Pearl Ex had better coverage, more color and sparkle impact than Perfect Pearls. 

Wear & Tear:  Both powders performed extremely similar in the adhesion department ~ both brushed or wiped off easily without some sort of sealer while they both performed perfectly with a sealer. 

Again, these are my unbiased opinions for this particular technique.

So as my Dh's half a dozen of one or 6 of the other.
I think it all falls down again to personal preference.  If you're used to working with one or the other; if you've got this in your stash instead of that... it's all good.
Both products offer a beautiful shine and shimmer that you can't get with plain old ink or embossing powders. 


  1. I did my own quick bit on Magical Micas with Versa Mark. If you want to use the photos, please feel free.

  2. Thanks for the comparison!

  3. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you have put into this! The information is very helpful and enlightening! We really appreciate all you have done! Thank you!!

  4. thanks for the test.... interesting.

  5. Thanks for the interesting post :)
    Trying to catch up on all the things I've missed!

  6. Thanks so much for this comparison. I have Series 2 of the PearlEx bought before I became aware of Perfect Pearls. I've never used them to date. Thanks to your time and effort I feel better about giving them a try and knowing what to expect. Rereading this comment, I recognize I quite apparently don't have much desire for experimentation! Shame on me! So thanks again for the helpful nudge.

  7. Hi,

    I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your site and this post. I never heard about pearl dust before. You make some very informative points. Keep up the great work!


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!