I love adding color and sparkle to my soap. It’s such a fun and easy way to give my projects lots of personality. Micas are a great way to add both color and shine to a wide variety of projects. They work great in melt and pour soap, bath bombs and more. Unfortunately, some micas do morph in cold process soap. This means that they may change color, or even turn to a dull gray. This can make adding micas to cold process soap tricky. Click here to learn more about micas.
Mica painting is a fun technique that allows micas to be incorporated into cold process projects. It even works with micas that morph in cold process soap! Mica painting refers to adding a mixture of oil and mica to the top of wet cold process soap. This mixture is then swirled in various patterns. As the soap hardens in the mold, the oil is absorbed into the soap and leaves behind beautiful swirls of mica. It usually takes a full day for the oil of the mica mixture to sink back into the soap. Mica painting washes off once introduced to water. See the photo below for some fun mica painting examples!
To prepare micas for mica painting, they first need to be dispersed in a lightweight liquid oil. I like to use sweet almond oil or sunflower oil. Other good oil options include avocado oil, canola oil or chia seed oil. Disperse 1 teaspoon mica into 1 tablespoon of oil. Then, use a mini mixer to help get rid of any clumps.
If you’d like the mixture to be highly pigmented, you can add up to 2 teaspoons of mica per tablespoon oil. If much more mica is added, the mixture is more likely to be thick and may not swirl as well. If more oil is added, the oil may not soak back into the soap, leaving behind an oily top. When you are finished adding your mica to the top of the soap, spray very lightly with 99% isopropyl alcohol. Spraying too much can disrupt the swirl and cause the mica paint to expand and spread.