As a crafter, it is likely you know what mica powder is used for, but do you know much else about it? Do you know where it comes from? Whether it is natural or manufactured? Perhaps you have some idea about it but don’t know much else about mica.
Whatever the answer, just know that you need not look any further. Here in this article, we are going to be telling you all there is to know about the sparkly substance known as mica, including where it comes from, what it is made of, what it can be used for, and anything else we think you should know.
So if you are a curious crafter looking for answers about your favorite glittery material, keep on reading.
What is mica?
Before we begin to explore what mica powder may be, it will be helpful to establish what mica is. Mica powder comes from mica. Mica is a natural substance belonging to the mineral family.
There are different types of mica, known collectively as ‘micas’. Their outstanding feature is that micas can be mined and cut to produce extremely thin pieces of the mineral, hence why the substance lends itself so well to being used as a fine, sparkly powder.
A well-known type of mica is a crystal known as lepidolite, often sold commercially by New-Age and spiritual; shops for its properties that are thought to help relieve anxiety.
Mica is commonly found in schists, granites, and pegmatites, often in large quantities sometimes a few feet wide. However, the types of mica used for mica powder production tend to be muscovite and phlogopite.
It is found in many places around the world but it is most commonly mined in India today. They are by far the biggest producers of mica as they have the world’s biggest known deposits of Mica.
in particular, the two regions of India that produce mica are Bihar and Nellore in Madras. In fact, it is thought that over 50% of all the world’s mica comes from these two regions.
Why is mica used in the crafting industry?
Mica, when it has been ground into a fine powder, has the benefit of being reflective and refractive. This is what gives it the glittery and sparkly effect.
Because it can be ground up to a super fine substance, the tiny particles mean that a little goes a very long way, allowing you to use just a small amount of mica powder for lots of sparkles.
What makes it so popular is that the sparkle mica powder gives is very subtle. It is not an over the top amount of glitter like that you may get from plastic glitters, but rather it gives a sheer, elegant sparkle.
For this reason, it has been used as a glitter substance for its shine in many products over the years. It is often used in the automobile industry as a way of adding shine and sparkle to vehicle paints.
It is also used in the cosmetic industry, being added to a variety of products such as eyeshadows, blushes, tinted moisturizer, eyeliner, lip gloss, mascara, and lipstick. It is also commonly used in nail polishes, particularly glitter polishes and any cosmetics that give a metallic effect.
In the crafting industry, you will often find it in different types of paint and ink. This is because of how glittery it is, adding some much desired sparkle to your crafts without the need of choosing a plastic filled glitter.
It has become even more popular in recent years because of this, with crafters moving on to find plastic free substitutes for glitter and other crafting materials.
What can it be used for in crafting?
Whilst you may find it as an added ingredient to paints and high quality inks, mica has also been commonly used as a substance in its own right by crafters.
It can be used with substances such as epoxy to create a glitter resin. Resin crafts have become extremely popular recently, with many crafters specializing in decorative resin plates and dishes as well as jewelry, bookmarks, and even mirrors.
Mica can make these resin crafts sparkly, taking them to whole new levels.
You can also get mica in order to mix it with pigments to add sparkle to a color of your choice before using it in your craftwork.
It can also be incorporated into stamp work where you sprinkle it on a freshly stamped patch before the ink dries, and then decant any loose mica back into the bottle, leaving behind a gorgeously glittery stamp to take card making and scrapbooking to the next level.
Rather than splashing out on expensive sparkly paints, you can add mica to your favorite plain paints to create something completely unique, adding some luxury to your creations.
Likewise, you can even add it to your clay, whether that be simple modeling clay or clay for baking. Lots of jewelry designers and homeware designers who use clay for their crafts have been using mica to add sparkle for years!
Is mica safe to use?
In general, mica used for crafting and in cosmetics is classed as ‘cosmetic grade’. This means that it has undergone testing to ensure it can safely be used on the skin, around the eyes, and on your lips without the risk of nasty side effects.
In fact, it is not uncommon for mica to be used in whitening toothpaste! Mica is a natural substance, and if you purchase an all-natural mica, you need not worry about harmful chemicals.
That being said, because of the fine, dust-like properties of mica, if you are using it as a raw ingredient, it should be handled with care. This is because it can be an irritant to your respiratory system and eyes.
Consider wearing a face mask and eye covering if you plan to use mica in any amount in your crafting.
We hope you can see now that mica is more than just a glittery crafting material.
It is a natural substance mined largely in India and used by many industries for its reflective and refractive properties, giving sparkle and shine to everything from lipstick to automobile paint.