pearl ex cards tutorial | Smudged Design Studio

Top Menu

pearl ex cards tutorial


Want to learn how to make these?

1 - pearl ex cards 1 Lynn Krawczy


2 - pearl ex cards 2 Lynn Krawczyk


Read on. 🙂

One of the greatest joys of being a surface design artist is the wide range of products I can get my hands on to print fabric with. The fine folks over at Jacquard (one of my all time favorite product makers) sent me these and asked me to give them a whirl:


3 - new colors 1


Those right there are the eight new Pearl Ex colors that hit the market on December 3. Want a closer view of the pretties?


4 - new colors 2


Lovely, yes? I’m not a flashy paint kind of gal. To be honest, the only metallics I keep lurking about my studio are by Jacquard and that’s because their metallics are not super blinged out. So the idea of being able to control the amount of shiny I get by mixing my own metallic paints was incredibly appealing and I have to admit, I got enthusiastic.

Which makes this a long review/tutorial. (Sorry ’bout that, haven’t had much studio time lately so I went for it with full gusto. In my defense, the stuff is cool and sort of egged me on to keep going. It has no shame.)

A few different things happened at the same time that inspired making cards. My Ciocia Gloria is an extremely talented card maker. Every occasion finds one of her works of art in the mailbox. And with the holidays upon us, well. Cards are just kind of on my brain. Plus I’ve had a copy of Jeanne Williamson’s book Uncommon Cards staring me down in my studio for a bit now. I did a review when I received the book and I’ve been waiting for the right moment to find some time to work with some of her ideas. I was off and running and you can see that I had a good time.

Grab a coffee, stay a while and I hope you find some inspiration here too. 🙂

The first thing that I did was take a little extra precaution with my work space. I laid down some cotton batting:

5 - worktable set up 

(No, those are not cupcake liners. They are disposable paint mixing cups that I can’t remember where I got them. They’ve got a coating on the inside so the paint doesn’t seep through. So don’t rush out to buy cupcake liners, if I can figure out where I got them from, I’ll post it.)

Why? Because Pearl Ex is a powder. Having worked with MX dyes (which are also powder) in the past, I knew that no matter how careful I was, they would scatter like children on a sugar high if given the chance. Turns out I was right.


6 - cotton batting

The cotton batting clung to it and it didn’t really get anywhere else. (Lynn: 4, Studio: 4,310) I do suggest a face mask, they are very fine and I can’t imagine they would be good if you inhaled them. Oh, and overhead fans? Not a good idea. Trust me. 😉

I chose to mix the powders with Jacquard Textile White paint. I used the Textile White rather then their Neopaque White because the Textile line is more transparent and I wanted the Pearl Ex to be the star. Essentially, I turned them all into my own personal metallic paints, adjusting the powder to my comfort level of shiny. In terms of proportions, I suggest adding a little Pearl Ex at a time, mix, inspect, and repeat if desired. It’s pretty hard to mess it up.


7 - pearl ex mixed with colorless extender


That’s my test paint of all the colors. Aren’t they great? I love that there is a mix of screaming bright down to a lovely dark brown. Something there for everyone. The truth is, you can do pretty much anything with these. Mix them into much more then paint – encaustic, stamping, polymer clay. It’s wickedly versatile stuff.

I decided to flex my printing muscles by printing three 12″ squares of fabric to use on my cards. I printed each one using a different method. So I’m going to walk you through how I printed each one.

Here is fabric #1:

13 - round gelli arts plate with dark brown 6


(That right there is why I keep metallics well stocked in the studio. Covers on dark fabric like nobody’s business. Love it!!! And there are a ton of Pearl Ex colors to choose from so you’ve got many many choices.)

I used the new 8″ round Gelli Arts Printing Plate and Catalyst W-02 tool.

gelli plate printing steps 1-4


1. Mix some Dark Brown Pearl Ex with Textile White. Put a little bit on the Gelli Arts plate and brayer it across the plate so it coats it evenly.

2. Make patterns in the paint by dragging the Catalyst tool across the plate.

3.  Put the fabric over the plate and give it a pat to transfer the paint to the fabric.

4. Viola! Marvel at the beautiful print you just made.

Continue on by putting other colors of Pearl Ex mixed with Textile White onto the plate and printing on different areas of the fabric until you’ve covered the whole surface like the one shown above. The colors I used were Pearl Ex Dark Brown, Apple Green, Citrine and Scarlet (which is more orange to me then red).


Fabric #2 has more details in it but is still easy.

19 - stamping with shimmer violet 7


Here’s how we do it:

stamping steps 5-10

5. Grab a stamp that you like. This is a wood batik block that I picked up somewhere in my travels.

6. Mix some Shimmer Violet Pearl Ex with Textile White and brush over stamp. Stamp along the fabric so it covers the whole surface.

7. Mix some Citrine Pearl Ex with Textile White and paint in some random details of the the print to add a bright pop. (Notice how good the Pearl Ex prints on fabric that has color in it? Excellent coverage. The color of the Pearl Ex stays true, love that. Citrine is one of my favorites, it’s bright but not smack-you-in-the-face kind of bright. Wonderful for adding contrast to your printing.)

8. Admire your work.

9. Use a small section of construction fence as a stencil and place it over your fabric (after the other painting has dried of course). Inspired totally by Jeanne.

10. Mix some Sapphire Blue Pearl Ex with Textile White and paint it in the openings of the construction fence. I found that the Sapphire Blue Pearl Ex was pretty transparent. So it might work better in a paint that has more opacity instead of just the Textile White. But a more timid color is always nice to have on hand as well.


And finally fabric #3:

21 - swipe printing with multiple colors 2


This one is SO simple and fun to print you won’t be able to hold yourself back from printing one square (don’t ask me how much fabric I’ve done with this method, it’s an addiction.)

I printed this with what I call swipe printing. Which is just this:

swipe printing steps 11-12


11. Mix some Emerald Pearl Ex with Textile White, dip your sponge brush in and start painting in broad strokes across the fabric.

12. It always looks like a hot mess at first but keep going with more colors to fill up the fabric and you get a nice mottled background. The other Pearl Ex/Textile White mixtures I used were Magenta, Citrine, Shimmer Violet and Apple Green.

The thing I had trouble with when taking the pictures is that they just don’t show the nice shimmer of the Pearl Ex. All of a sudden, the sun hit my print table just right and lit up the fabric so I took a shot of it in full on sunlight:

25 - shiny


I’m still not sure it does the Pearl Ex justice but heck. It’s a picture of printed fabric. What’s not to like?

So now? We make cards! 🙂

22 - card supplies


These are the cards I bought to add the fabric to. I’m a big fan of kraft paper/cardboard type cards. (You know how I love my earth tones.)

I did some basic cards by cutting 3″ x 4″ pieces of fabric and attaching them with a little bit of Mistyfuse to the front of the card:


23 - mistyfuse fabric to card


Simply cut a little square of Mistyfuse, put it on the card, lay the fabric over top and give it a super quick iron. Just a quick tip: The Mistyfuse did a really great job to attaching the fabric to the card. But make sure that you iron is set to no steam, the cardstock has it’s limits. I added a very small amount of glue to each corner after the fabric was attached because I didn’t fuse all the way out to the edges. And then I weighted them down under a book for a coupe of hours.

They look like these:

2 - pearl ex cards 2 Lynn Krawczyk


Then, feeling brave after all the wonderful examples in Uncommon Cards, I cut some different size pieces of fabric and shoved the whole card under the sewing machine:

24 - sewing cards with machine


(I didn’t fuse these down. Just sewed slowly and did okay.)

That’s how I ended up with the ones standing up in this picture:

1 - pearl ex cards 1 Lynn Krawczy


So simple yet so fun and quite frankly, incredibly addictive. I ended up making 23 cards. I’m thrilled with how they came out and am looking forward to doing more!

I hope you found something in this review/tutorial that inspires you as much as all these wonderful tools inspired me – particularly the Pearl Ex! It’s some incredibly cool stuff and I’m all about a product that allows you to choose the way you use it. Those are some of the most powerful tools you can have in your studio.

Happy creating!! 🙂


blog divider



, ,

10 Responses to pearl ex cards tutorial

  1. Lisa Chin November 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Very very nice Lynn! I can see how these powders would be a lot of fun to use! Love what you did with your new Gelli Plate too!

  2. Lynda December 1, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Lynn, great tut! Those powders look awesome and love your cards!

  3. Jean K. December 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Lovely cards. Will try this soon. Thanks for the great ideas.

    • Starleigh February 27, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

      When I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there any method yo21;8u&7#ll be able to remove me from that service? Thanks!

  4. Margaret December 1, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Great work. I need a play date for myself soon. Love the new look and brand. Well done.

  5. Margaret December 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Is it true? I just saw on amazon you have a book coming out next year? Congtaulations

  6. Jeannie December 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    Wow! I am not big into shimmer and shine, but I do like Pearl Ex and those new colors are fabulous!!! I love the violet and the brown. I see my Christmas list just grew a bit thanks to this post and you solved the problem of the final gift for my sister who is a card making fiend. (We make each other creating boxes for our repective media, plus a zinger to challenge the other.) Thanks so much for the inspiration!!!! (I am still working away at the writing exercises and enjoying every minute. )

  7. Robbie Payne December 4, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Great post! Talk about inspiring us! Wow!

  8. Jo vdmey December 24, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    Great tutorial and so inspiring. I received pearl ex powders from a friend and really haven’t used them. Now I think I will be bringing our the gelli plate and giving it a whirl.


  1. x-fi titanium professional review - September 22, 2014

    x-fi titanium professional review

    Smudged Textiles Studio — pearl ex cards tutorial

Leave a Reply

Get the latest blog post in your inbox

Connect with me

© 2016 Smudged Design Studio. All Rights Reserved.