[Archive] Making Shimmer Ink

First Posted Feb 4, 2020

These inks were created in collaboration between Kai and myself. They’re available on my online store!

Coloured Shimmer

Upon making plans for the pen show (which ran back in October) and looking into sourcing, we came across something that we were interested in trying - coloured shimmer.

This was different to us because we figured that the coloured shimmer would be able to add an additional element to the ink, another layer on top of just shiny gold or silver, which was already so readily available in commercially produced ink. There was so many options. So we opted for something that would help us narrow down and figure out combinations that would work for us.. swatches.


We decided that she would handle the mixing of the batch while I worked on creating samples/swatches of the colours. The plan was to use two different types of paper, and create a factorial which would create intersections between ink and shimmer.

This meant a 14 shimmers x 15 inks x 2 types of paper = 420 swatches.. thinking about it now, I’m surprised I thought this was a good idea haha - I went forward with it anyways.

Initially, my plan was to start with one shimmer at a time and work my way through by putting in a couple drops of ink into each before applying it onto the paper, creating an area from highest saturation and slowly watered down throughout the allocated swatch area, creating a gradation to see the shimmer and ink interaction, as well as how the ink reacted as it was pulled outward through osmosis.

I realized soon-after, it was a lot easier to work through the ink colours as opposed to the shimmer colours.

This was predominantly for two reasons: the limiting factor in this scenario was the amount of ink I had sampled from the larger bottles that were with Kai, and secondly, the shimmer ink was a small particulate that had ability to get airbourne.. albeit in a small quantity, I didn’t think it was smart to have shimmers sitting in the pan to potentially either spill or be breathable while I worked through each of the ink colours.

Comparing them on two different papers and also across the row with one another in the same ink was pretty neat. When working across the page, it also meant I could skip between boxes and come back to the remaining ones once dried, less the waiting time and potential cross contamination between swatches.

Due to wanting to use different qualities of paper for testing, I ended up cutting them all to a smaller size, which meant having 4 sheets each of the 2 types of paper.

I think this worked in my favour since it meant that I could tape the pieces together later on so they could be folded up, instead of trying to fold them after all the ink has been applied (since they were thicker paper stock - watercolour paper and bristol).

420 swatches!! Seeing them all lined up altogether was so satisfying. A good day’s (er, more like week since I did a couple per day) work.

Ink Lineup

Finally, after all the swatches, we were able to choose among the colours and see which ones would have the biggest impact, or created a variation that differed the most from readily available commercial selections. Some shimmers definitely highlighted certain inks a lot better and were complementary..!

I put all the colours and their respective combinations below for viewing and for archiving - in no particular order. The names for each sample were written using a glass dip pen!


Since we are new to the idea of ink and/or mixing, and also are mostly conducting these projects to help curve a curiosity itch, we have decided that we didn’t want to provide these ink samples at a large scale. Each colour/variation is be available as samples (1.8~2 ml size) and in limited quantities (around 20~30 of each ink, so around 10~15 of each variation)!

Thank you for those who support our tiny production and use the inks too! It’s so interesting to see how people use them and enjoy them as well!

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