August 9, 2019 4

Mixing Pearl-Ex pigment for calligraphy with the Luis Creations Soap magnetic ink stirrer

Mixing Pearl-Ex pigment for calligraphy with the Luis Creations Soap magnetic ink stirrer

So today I received my Soap ink mixer, and
I am super excited about it. You’ll have to forgive the awkwardness of
this video. I don’t usually do videos. This is obviously me opening it. That’s Luis’s logo. Designed in Australia, made in China. Luis is a local artist who I love supporting.You
have probably seen his penholders. So the way this works is there’s a spinning
magnet in the Soap and you put this little white bar in a jar – any jar – on top of the
Soap and you turn it on, and the bar spins and it agitates whatever liquid you’ve got
in the jar. So it’s great for keeping pigments suspended
in an ink or an ink solution. What I’m doing today to show it off is mixing
some Pearl-Ex up in it. This is Super Copper Pearl-Ex, I think. I wouldn’t put it in with the bar spinning. I’d be worried that the pigments would fly
everywhere, because as you can see this stuff is really delicate and light. So I usually start by putting just a little
bit in. You can always add more later if you didn’t
have enough, as you will see at the end of this video, but I prefer to start small. I add gum arabic, which is a binder. You can get this in pretty much any art shop
and it’s pretty cheap. I have mine in a little drip bottle and as
far as amount goes, I really just kind of wing it. You want quite a bit of gum arabic if you’re
mixing Pearl-Ex, because it’s the only binder. Pearl-Ex is just pigment; it doesn’t have
anything to glue the pigments together. So I usually start with about half gum arabic
and half water, I think, which is quite strong, but as you can see this is just a paste at
the moment, it’s not an ink, and the ink stirrer is not going to help. So that’s putting some more water in, a lot
more water. With this ink stirrer it’s best to make sure
that the liquid covers the little white bar, at least when it’s at rest, so I haven’t got
quite enough there so I will put a little bit more gum arabic in. I mix it up a little bit with a spoon at the
start, because I think that the stir bar would send the loose pigment flying. Just make sure that it’s all under cover and
all doing all right. And as you can see there, there’s a lot of
water on the top and a few little – a few little parts of pigment floating. Once you turn the stirrer on, which you do
just by turning the side dial, you can see that the agitator bar starts spinning and
it starts mixing for you, which is the entire reason that this little magic tool is worth
it, because you can just leave it running – I think Luis has tested it for up to – running
up to 10 hours, and – which is as long as you’re ever going to need. Now I’m just looking at my mixture there and
thinking that’s too watery. I need more pigment. I don’t have a recipe; I know that you can
get some recipes online, but I find that the exact quantities of water and gum arabic to
mix really – it depends on so many things. It depends on how hot the day is. It depends on the humidity in your studio. When you’re working, you’ll be adding water
every five to 10 minutes anyway, when it’s a day that’s as hot as today is, because otherwise
you’ll lose a lot of fluid to evaporation. So I’ve never bothered to sit down and record
exact amounts. I just go until it feels right or until it’s
a good consistency. Which probably isn’t best practice, but there
it is. And you can see I’ve just put a lot more pigment
in, and then I decided that although I’m loving this, I really – I need to match a slightly
more coppery tone, so this was a pigment called, I think, Super Copper, and all that weird
background noise right now is me ruffling around in my shelves until I can find the
Brilliant Gold Pearl-Ex, which I also use a lot. With Pearl-Ex, most of the pigments
are great and will mix really well, and as you can see here, I don’t even stop the stirrer. I just dump it in and watch it blend until
it’s a consistency that I’m happy with. Until I’ve got the right colour. The Brilliant Gold is a really good one for
adding a little touch of yellow to anything that you’re mixing up, or a little touch of
gold. I did stop the stirrer here because that little
dollop that was sitting on the bar was annoying me, so I turned it off, let it mix in, and
hit go again. It takes a couple of seconds to spin up to
speed. If you have got one of the IKA lab mixers,
which I also do, it will spin up much faster, but that’s I think a function of it being
attached to the wall instead of portable like this one is. And so now I’m just testing my ink. You can see it’s not quite right; you can
see I’m having a little bit of trouble with skipping. So I’ve added a little bit of gum arabic and
trying again just to see how fluid it is and if I’m getting a better flow, which I am. When you mix up Pearl-Ex, you always want
to test it before you commit to your real paper. For one thing, you need to know what consistency
you have got it to, but you also really need to check – once it’s dry it doesn’t blow away. And if you don’t have enough gum arabic in
the mix then you won’t have enough binder holding it to the paper. So you need to test it, let it dry, run your
fingers over it a few times, and then – and then you’re ready to start your actual piece. And once you’re finished you can just turn
off the Soap. I have still – I’ve actually left the bar
in this one. I don’t think I bothered to take it out, because
I will be using this all afternoon, so I will be storing this ink mixture in the jar. Hot tip, you can actually use any empty glass
jar that will fit on the Soap, and Calligraphy Supplies Australia sells one that’s the perfect

4 Replies to “Mixing Pearl-Ex pigment for calligraphy with the Luis Creations Soap magnetic ink stirrer”

  • Rudy T says:


  • MrCherod says:

    Would this do the same thing? NEW Taylor 9265 Magnetic Stirrer Speedstir Start-Up Pack w/ Stir Bar + Batteries

  • Megan McCarthy says:

    Wow! Never heard of such a tool. How ingenious yet simple and would make the creative process a lot easier – will have to find one in Australia or online. Thanks for this. My arms get so tired after constantly mixing pigment inkers to dislodge the pigments! 🙂

  • Alexander Guard says:

    would these work for fountain pens? ??

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