Metallic Fabric Paint

I paint my own fabric for clothes and am currently working with metallic paints.  Here’s green:

green paint 1 green paint 2

The first picture is an area of somewhat dense paint and the second is the edge where the paint is much less thick.  I think the multi-colored shards are what make it a metallic paint.  I was able to compare to a green non-metallic paint made by the same manufacturer and those colorful bits are not present.

Here is purple, with much the same colorful pieces embedded in the background color:

purple 1 purple 8

And finally, silver, where the shards are really clear:

silver paint 1

For comparison, here is the non-metallic green paint from the same manufacturer:

green fabric paint 2 green fabric paint 1

It does not appear to have the same colored bits in it, though you can see that it is made up of different colors.

The two paints look like this out of the jar, metallic on the left and non-metallic on the right:

green fabric paint metallic green fabric paint

I also looked at something called Edible Gold Glitter.  The ingredients are gum arabic, mica, titanium dioxide, and yellow, red, and blue food coloring.  Yum. The colorful bits in this look quite similar to the ones in the metallic paint, so I am guessing that the paint uses something like mica to achieve the metallic affect.

edible gold flakes - mica - 3 edible gold flakes - mica - 1

Finally, this got me interested in what actual gold looks  like so I extracted some of the flakes from Goldschlager, supposedly real gold.

gold flake 1 gold flake 2

Hmm, looks like a bunch of mountainous brown stuff with tiny little bits of gold.  Maybe those edible gold flakes in food/alcohol are mostly something that is not gold.  Some sort of substrate to hold the microscopic gold?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    That’s incredible. Many colors are in fact made of tiny bits of other colors. So what’s going on? Can you share what kind of paint this is? The flakes are quiet uniform and incredibly beautiful.


  2. mherring says:

    The multitude of colors, even in paints is amazing! From the macroscopic view, is the paint very monochromatic? I wonder what the manufacturing process for those thin, scale-like structures is… and whether they always lie flat, parallel to the surface?

  3. smk says:

    Good questions – the paint is Speedball Screenprinting Ink for fabric. I will upload some pictures of the paint itself – it is very uniform. I will also upload the photos of the non-metallic green paint from the same manufacturer for comparison – it is much less shiny but also uniform and does not appear to have the same colored shards in it. I think the colored shards are something like mica that adds the metallic sheen without significantly changing the color.

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