Coloring epoxy and gluing magnets

I have read, a few times over the past few years here on Orchid, of
adding color to epoxy. I’ve never used epoxy much, but have occasion
to use it now.

I’m wondering what sort of color to use, if any. Would artists
acrylic work, or would it have to be a powder? If I did introduce a
semi-liquid such as acrylic from a tube, I would imagine it would
weaken the bond.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Hi Tess,

I have had nice results making colored epoxy inlays with 2-part epoxy
and colored powders such as: powdered eye shadows, ground turmeric,
ground cayenne pepper, even poppy seeds. Check your local drugstore
for the eye shadows. I buy them when they go on the clearance shelf.
Often they are little cakes that break up easily enough when you
crush them into powder form. Have fun!

Elizabeth Watson
Woburn, MA

Rio has something called “Colors” (a “cold enamel”) which is really
just epoxy that you add colors to. You can purchase various colors in
transparent, opaque and opalescent to get the effect you want.

In Wisconsin where the snow hasn’t even stopped falling, never mind

Rio teaches a Colores class occasionally. I took the class in Feb
2005 from Bruce and he was a good teacher. In the class, we
practiced on wax paper. After I bought the kit, Anne Larsen allowed
me to use her studio with five of her students and we “played” with
Colores. Everyone was trying something different. Ideas were flying
all over the room. Someone was always saying " Look at this!" and we
all learned significantly from working around the same table and
reviewing each others experiments.

The positives are fantastic color; non-toxic; clean-up with soap and
water then Goo Gone; you can drill with a flexshaft cleanly through
Colores on sterling; you can wipe the plastic cups clean and use
again; you can knock a mixing cup of Colores off the table onto the
floor and it stays in the cup when it hits the floor.

The negatives are difficult instructions; long drying time often
dependent on weather and humidity; it will finger print at 72 hours
under some conditions; Colores can spill during shipment even though
it appears very tightly closed; difficult to achieve hi lite effect
as it is not possible to duplicate “puffing”; you must work on a
completely level surface or your work can slide; if you use an oven
to dry the first color, you cannot use the oven for a second color
without damaging the color of the first layer; you need color mixing

However, even with these negatives I love it and will be using it
again later this month.

Good luck. It is a medium worth learning.

Mary A

P.S. Colores requires a minimum temperature for use. I cannot use it
in deep winter in Boston because my basement is not heated and is
generally around 50.

my husband suggested that perhaps the tints used by auto-body
shops to color epoxy paints might work, but that you should


I'm wondering what sort of color to use, if any. Would artists
acrylic work, or would it have to be a powder? 

You can use anything, spices, eyeshadow, paints… the challenge is
that with some of those things may not be stable long term. Dr.
Martins watercolors have been recommended to me.

And I suspect pigments would work well, you can buy them heRe:


Hi Tess,

I like to buy dried watercolors, pop the little circle of color out
of its tray and then just use a fine nail file to “shave” off the
powders for pigments. They mix really well with epoxy and you can
even mix the powder to just about any color. Also, you can shave
pencil leads; I prefer the “Koh-I-Noor” brand colored pencils. They
come in a woodless color pencil so the entire pencil is usable, and
they mix really well with epoxy and give a really rich, saturated
color. I have also used them to color liquid enamels (for “cold
enameling”) in some applications. I mix up liquid enamels, let them
dry into a solid mass and then carve that into different shapes and
parts. I learned some of this from a work-shop with artist Diane
Falkenhagen, but then took what I learned and experimented around
with other applications.

There are so many things that can be done with cold enamels and I so
wish I had more time just to play around with them. It is really fun
to experiment, and I learn so much just from playing around and
trying new things. I recommend to any jeweler or artist to give your
self time just to PLAY. It is amazing what you can learn, and even
though it seems you are taking time away from “work” you are actually
enriching your experiences, and stretching your skills so that it
does actually pay off in the long run.

If things fail, they are still all kept together in a box of
"experiments" to refer to any time I need to trouble-shoot something
or just want something to inspire me to a new project. I never know
what is going to come of these trials, but often I will find myself
going down a new artistic avenue of thought.

I am not typical of many Ganoksin-land posters here in the forums. I
WISH I were working in a job in my field, but alas I am doing a 9-5
in a glass dealer (I also have a background in glass blowing) to
catch up on the mountain of bills that developed while I went to
college. Most of my jewelry work right now is in the occasional
commission and the rest is what I do with my artwork over weekends or
when I can steal an hour in the evenings if I am not too exhausted
hope to start a local jewelry gallery/classroom/studio within the
next couple of years as the economy settles) As of right now I am
allowing myself to find my niche in my artwork and jewelry making
and I explore as many avenues as I can in the meantime.

Anyway, Have fun! Make New & Pretty Things! Enjoy Yourself!