Friday, 16 October 2015

Card Factory 2015–Florabunda Mandala Cards with Perfect Pearls

The first of two posts for today.

My next collection of cards is the Floral Mandala design, which I decided to colour with Perfect Pearls, to give a rich, jewel-like shimmering effect which would emphasise the complexity of the design, which has a somewhat Islamic feel.

15 Four Finished Cards

The original design, printed on the laser printer.

04 Floral Mandala - Sept 15

Some time ago, I created a Perfect Pearls palette to make painting easier. I used a Tim Holtz ink palette, and followed the instructions from Creations by Christie. Here is my palette, together with the first Mandala that I painted, using a fine brush dipped in water, and picking up the colour from the palette.

01 Painting with Perfect Pearls

The completed painting.

02 First Mandala Painted

A word about one of the amazing properties of Perfect Pearls. Some of the colours exhibit interference properties. A good explanation of how this works can be seen here. The mica flakes in Perfect Pearls and other pearlescent/iridescent or interference pigments act like a diffraction grating, and the same principle  can be found in action in the iridescent and shimmering colours of peacock feathers and certain butterflies’ wings and beetles – these are not actual pigments but are visible as the result of how light is reflected and refracted off different surfaces at the microscopic level.

I suppose it’s because I am such a fan of bling and shimmering and metallic colours that I love this effect so much!

I recently had a foray into Twinkling H2Os which work on the same principle, but I did not find them as satisfactory as the Perfect Pearls in my palette – with a moistened paintbrush you can apply these fairly thickly and you get a very rich, iridescent and shimmery effect.

Several of the Perfect Pearls are labelled as “interference” colours, such as “Inteference Red,” and “Interference Blue,” but some of the other colours exhibit this property too, such as “Berry Twist” (one of my favourites) and “Blue Raspberry.”

When viewed at one angle, the colours appear somewhat dull and dark, but turn the piece into the light at another angle, and the shimmering colours emerge. I have photographed each of my pieces in turn, showing first the duller version and then the bright, shimmery version, so that you can see this principle in action. Some of the colours just appear brighter, while others actually change to a different colour. Compare the two pictures and see. These photos also serve to give you a close-up view of the drawing and painting.

First, the card with the red mount (the first one I painted).

03 Mandala with Red Mount - Interference 1

04 Mandala with Red Mount - Interference 2

The card with the blue mount.

05 Mandala with Blue Mount - Interference 1

06 Mandala with Blue Mount - Interference 2

The card with the purple mount.

07 Mandala with Purple Mount - Interference 1

08 Mandala with Purple Mount - Interference 2

Finally, the card with the orange mount.

09 Mandala with Orange Mount - Interference 1

10 Mandala with Orange Mount - Interference 2

Now a picture of each of the finished cards in turn, with details of the matting and layering.

For the red one, I opened a pack of decorative papers that I bought simply donkey’s years ago – so long ago that the shop closed a long time ago! This paper is rather thin, but it works fine for this. This card first had a 1/16-in matt layer of gold mirror card.

11 Mandala with Red Mount - Completed Card

For the blue one, I created a 1/16-in matt layer with green mirror card from my stash. I didn’t think I’d be very likely to use this one, which someone gave me some time ago, but it turned out to be perfect for this card, with its blue-and-green colour scheme. The wider mount was created from a piece of scrap blue card which is quite thick and excellent quality, with a slight hammered texture, which had been the cover of a brochure (never throw anything out lol!).

12 Mandala with Blue Mount - Completed Card

For the purple one, I chose a piece of gold wrapping paper for the 1/16-in matt layer. The gold Perfect Pearls I used for this design was “Heirloom Gold” which is a softer, less bright gold than “Perfect Gold” which I used for the others, as I wanted a more subtle effect, and I thought that regular gold mirror card would also be too bright. This gift-wrap paper is quite thin compared with the gold mirror card, but it worked just fine. For the wider matt layer I used some more of the glitter card that I used for the narrow matt layers in my Brusho Trees cards project the other day.

13 Mandala with Purple Mount - Completed Card

For the final card, with the orange mount, I again used gold mirror card for the 1/16-in matt layer, and some orange glitter card as above.

14 Mandala with Orange Mount - Completed Card

By using different colours, and emphasising different areas of the same design, it is amazing the different results one can get, which makes them look almost like different drawings! It has been great fun experimenting with this, and certainly something I would wish to continue with.


  1. These are all stunning Shoshi! They must look even more striking in real life when the light hits the Perfect Pearls to make them shimmer! I can see the shimmer in some of the photos, so lovely!

  2. Oh, gosh Shoshi ---these are so beautiful! I made a card once with Interference Red perfect pearls powder and loved the effect. Now I'm inspired to try it again.


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