Who doesn’t love a bit of shimmer? While shimmer inks like Silver or Gold shine bright on their own, sometimes a little color brightens the whole print. Mixing colored shimmer inks takes a bit of experimenting, and can be super fun to test out. Here’s a three-step guide to mixing colored shimmer inks.
STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR BASE
Shimmer inks can come in many different colors. The most popular two are Silver and Gold metallic inks. These print great on their own but can be mixed with color to achieve awesome shiny mixes.
One thing to note when choosing a shimmery base for mixing colors is mesh count. The metallic flakes in these types of inks can be of different sizes. For example, the flake in FN-INK™ Metallic Silver is much smaller than the flake in FN-INK™ Metallic Gold. Silver can print through high mesh counts without losing any glimmer, while Gold needs lower mesh counts or Curable Reducer to help it print through higher mesh counts.
When you’re choosing the base for a colored shimmer ink, take a look at the art you’re about to print. If it’s got super fine detail, do a few tests before mixing in color to make sure the flake passes through the screen and creates that amazing shine you’re looking for.
The next step in the process is all about color.
STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR COLOR
Metallic inks like Silver and Gold have an inherent color. Silver is gray, while Gold contains yellow. Because of this, some colors will have more success than others. A color like Kelly Green into Silver will clash with the gray tones, while the same Kelly Green color in Gold will turn brighter and look much better. Basic knowledge of color theory can help you determine the best colors before mixing ink.
Colors that look stunning mixed with Gold and Silver depend on the opacity of the color itself. Colors without opacity boosters, like magenta or navy, will allow the metallic flake to show up more clearly. The cleaner the color, the more it will shimmer. Ready-for-use (RFU) inks may require a bit of experimentation. Some color combinations may be surprising, like Kelly Green and FN-INK™ Silver. Do some small tests to make sure the mixed color turns out as expected.
Once you’ve landed on the perfect color, it’s time to get mixing.
STEP 3: MIX THE COLOR
When mixing colors into glitter ink, there are a couple of factors to consider. First of all, each metallic ink includes an optimal mixing ratio on its product page. Use this guideline — generally between 10% and 20% — to start mixing. Mix in small batches so you don’t waste a ton of ink.
Another factor to consider when mixing color into shimmer inks is covering the metallic flake. Certain colors, like white or black, are super opaque and can cover the flake. When you print the ink, it will have less shimmer than you might want. Mix a small test batch and print it to ensure the color turned out as you envisioned.
Not sure if a color combo is going to work? Don’t want to waste ink? A great way to dip your toes into mixing colored shimmer ink is to use your fingertips (no, not like finger painting). Take a dab of the metallic base on one finger. Then, take a tab of colored ink on another finger. Rub the color into the metallic base with your fingers and check out the result. If the mix doesn’t look right, you didn’t waste much ink at all. Satisfied? Mix a small amount and do some testing!
There’s more to watch for when mixing colored inks: color shift, printing over a base vs. direct to fabric, and more. The best method to mix ink is to experiment with different color combos. Don’t be afraid to make some mistakes, and remember to record your failures and successes so you can replicate them later. Mixing colored shimmer ink can give your designs an extra boost and elevate your artwork.