Sunday, March 2, 2014

DIY Tutorial: Pressed Eyeshadow Palette

Greetings from the Dark Side~

Are you tired of having a bunch of loose eyeshadows? Do you want a better way to use and store all those jars and baggies of loose eyeshadows? Well you've come to the right place because today I will show you how you can turn those loose eyeshadows into some pressed eyeshadow palettes! It is not as hard as you might think and the result can be phenomenal! 

                                                                      Before You Press...                                                                 

Before you jump in and turn into some crazed pressing machine, there are some things to think about. All eyeshadows will press differently depending on the ingredients in them. In some cases, pressing can alter the color and/or texture of the eyeshadow slightly. Be aware that certain eyeshadows (like mattes and or those containing Ultramarines) will not press well and you should be cautious of pressing them. My suggestion is to test out pressing with eyeshadows you don't particularly care for. Try pressing eyeshadows with different finishes to see if they come out alright. I will delve into these matters a little more in the post, but I just want to get you all to think about what could go wrong. If you still have some concerns about pressing, you should go to the sub-Reddit IndieMakeupandMore. This is a great place to look for information on pressing or to ask questions that you can't find an answer to.


TKB Pressing Kit

One very popular method for pressing is to buy and use the TKB pressing kit. The pressing kit includes everything you will need for pressing: two magnetic eyeshadow palettes, 8 26mm eyeshadow pans, a Tamper Tool, a pres tile (to press down on the eyeshadow), a binder, a pressing ribbon (to give the eyeshadow a textured look), a press base, scoops, a spatula, gloves, and zip lock bags. This is an easy way to get everything you need to press and it comes with detailed instructions. It costs $14.95 plus shipping costs. I personally did not go for the TKB kit because I wanted to press my eyeshadows into bigger palettes (instead of the two four-panned palettes that come in the kit). I did not want to spend $15 for the ingredients when I could spend less money using products I already had. So let me break down other options you have for pressing.

Without the Pressing Kit you will need...
  • Paper Towels 
  • Empty eyeshadow palettes or eyeshadow pans (aluminum or tin, although tin ones can rust)
  • Rubbing Alcohol 
  • Binder (Glycerin) 
  • Pipettes or droppers 
  • Small spatula or mixing tool 
  • Coin for pressing 
  • Textured cloth

Palette/Eyeshadow Pans:
If you want to press eyeshadows into bigger palettes, you can do what I did an buy a 12 26mm pan eyeshadow palette from eBay. I bought one palette for $6 on eBay; you can find a lot of different empty palettes on eBay or Amazon. TKB also sells palettes HERE. I did this because I want "themed" palettes where I press all of my eyeshadows from one collection into one palette. For example, I wanted to press my Shiro Cosmetics The Notebook collection into one palette to have a Death Note themed palette. 

You can also just buy a lot of empty eyeshadow pans an put them in magnetic palettes (e.g., MAC palettes, Z-Palettes). You can eyeshadow pans from TKB, eBay, and a bunch of other places online. The palette could look something like this:


Rubbing Alcohol:
This is what is going to make your eyeshadow easy to mix and press. 91% rubbing alcohol will evaporate the quickest and thus allow the eyeshadows to dry quicker. However, you can use any type of rubbing alcohol you have. I already had this at home so I didn't have to waste any more money.

If you are pressing indie eyeshadows or any mica-based eyeshadow, you will need a binder. A binder will basically allow the eyeshadow to stick together and prevents it from falling apart. Some types of eyeshadows, like MAC pigments, already have a binder infused in them. If you are pressing MAC pigments, you will not need to add the binder. 
If you do not want to order the binder from TKB, you can use 100% vegetable Glycerin. You can buy Glycerin from most drugstores or health food stores. I bought a big bottle at a local co-op for $2. 
I can't speak from personal experience, but I know many others use fractionated coconut oil as a binder instead of glycerin. 

Misc. Tools
The other tools you will need are optional. I like to use some droppers which make adding rubbing alcohol and Glycerin an easier process. I already had these at home, but you can find these in places like Walmart or CVS. If you do not have a dropper/pipette you can improvise and use a straw. You can use the straw to pick up a little bit of product and use your finger stop the product from falling out of the straw. 
The other handy tool I use was a part of a manicure kit. It is a small scrapper that is really great for mixing up my eyeshadows with the alcohol and binder. You can use anything you have lying around that will be helpful with stirring your eyeshadow mixture.
You definitely should have some paper towels on hand. Lay them over your work area because pressing can be quite messy.

Once you have your eyeshadow mixture done and the eyeshadow is slightly dry, you will need something to actually press the eyeshadow. An easy way to do this is to get a coin that fits the eyeshadow pan good. For a 26mm pan, a quarter works pretty well. You will also need a textured cloth that will give the eyeshadow a nice design on the surface. I use an old 100% cotton t-shirt. I cover the coin with the T-shirt, and then press my eyeshadow (you can see how I do this in my tutorial below). Other textured materials you can use are a panty hose, paper towel, ribbon, etc. 


Now that you have all your materials gathered, let's get to the actual process of pressing. This should give you a better idea of how you actually press eyeshadows and how you use each material you gathered. 

1. Gather one empty eyeshadow pan and the eyeshadow you want to press. 
Here I will be pressing the entire jar of eyeshadow (this is "mini size" from Shiro Cosmetics) which has a bit less that 1 gram of product.

2. Place of few drops of alcohol on the bottom of the pan.
I am not precise with the amount of alcohol I use, I just eyeball it. I use enough to cover the bottom of the pan with alcohol.

3. Place one generous drop of Glycerin into the pan and mix it with the alcohol.
*If you are using the TKB binder, follow the directions for that product. 
*If you are pressing a MAC pigment, skip this step!
For Glycerin, I use 1-2 drops for 1 gram or 1 small drop for smaller samples. I recommend you play around with this and see what amount you like best. I find that too much Glycerin makes my eyeshadows a bit rough in texture so I stick to 1 drop most of the time. 
I like to place the Glycerin into the alcohol first to make sure that once I add the eyeshadow, the Glycerin will be distributed equally (since it is oily, it is harder to mix if you add it directly over the eyeshadow). In the photo below, you can really see the oily drop in the center. That is the Glycerin. 
If this method does not work for you, I suggest mixing the Glycerin in last (in other words, adding it after you have mixed the alcohol with the loose eyeshadow). I have had good results in putting the glycerin in first, but results vary from person to person. Try it both ways and see which way you like best.

4. Add your loose eyeshadow. 
You can add all the eyeshadow at once and mix. Or, you can mix it slowly. I prefer to mix it in slowly and to slowly add more drops of alcohol as you go.

5. As you are adding you eyeshadow in, mix well making sure there are no lumps.
When you are adding the powder in, mix it. If the mixture is too dry to mix, add a few more drops of alcohol.

6. If you have more loose eyshadow, keep adding it in. And add alcohol if you need to.

7. Keep mixing it!
Keep mixing the eyeshadow until you have added all the powder in. I like the consistency to be goopy, almost like a thick lipgloss. This makes the mixing process easier. You can get a good result with a drier mixture (drier mixture=less alcohol and faster dry time), but it makes mixing harder and more time consuming. If you don't mind waiting about 2 days for the alcohol to evaporate from the eyshadow, definitely try to get this goopier consistency.

8. Now we play the waiting game...
After your mixture is done (like in step 7), let it dry for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. You can't press an eyeshadow when it is wet. You have to wait until it has dried enough that you are able to press down on it without messing up the eyeshadow. 

9. Get your coin and textured surface ready!
To press the eyeshadow, you will either need a fancy presser (which you can get from TKB) or you can use a coin. I am using a quarter :) Make sure to wrap the quarter in a textured material. I am using a 100% cotton t-shirt.

10. Press!
After you have waited the 30 minutes to 1 hour for the eyeshadow to dry slight, you are ready to start pressing. Take the coin, and place it over the eyeshadow. Press down as firmly as you can. For me, pressing once or twice was more than enough. If you think your eyeshadow needs to be pressed more, wait another 30 minutes and press it again.

11. Ta-da! You have successfully pressed an eyeshadow!
Now that you have pressed and textured your eyeshadow, you are done. Now you will have to wait 1-2 days for the eyeshadow to be completely dry and ready for use. Oh and in case you are wondering, the eyeshadow I'm holding below is NOT the one I was using in the photos above. This is the shade 'Task Force' from Shiro Cosmetics, while the one above was 'Shinigami'.


So here is the result of my first pressed palette! I think it turned out pretty well! 10 of the eyeshadows here are from the Shiro Cosmetics The Notebook collection and the other two (the two on the bottom row) are Victorian Disco Cosmetics 'You're a Wizard Harry!' and MAC 'Melon' pigment. 

So how do the pressed eyeshadows compare to their loose couterparts? Well, let's look at one eyeshadow: Task Force. Task force is left eyeshadow on the bottom row from the palette above. Below are swatches of the pressed form and the loose form:

The shade on the left is the pressed one, and the one on the right is the loose one. The pressed one is actually a bit more pigmented, but it does not have as many sparkles. But you can see that the eyeshadow does sometimes change a bit, as is the case with 'Task Force'. But I'd say it looks really good pressed! The rest of the colors turned out really well too. The MAC pigment is just a good pressed as it is loose, and the VDC eyeshadow is a little less pigmented but still looks wonderful! I am very happy with the way everything turned out~

                                                                    Additional Notes                                                                       

  • If you are having problems pressing, I urge you to use IndieMakeupandMore. It is a great resource for finding information and asking questions.
  • You can press matte eyshadows, but the process is a little trickier. There is a tutorial on IndieMakeupandMore that you can check out HERE. I have not tried pressing mattes yet, so I can't say much on the topic. But I do want to try it out in the near future.
  • I mentioned that there are certain ingredients know to cause problems when it comes to pressing. One popular troublesome eyeshadow is Shiro Cosmetics 'Evolve' and it is because it has the ingredient Ultramarine blue. Another ingredient that has posed problems is ferric ferrocyanide. Make sure you keep the ingredients of the eyeshadows you are pressing in mind. You can read a little bit more about what eyeshadows you should or should not press that contain these two ingredients HERE.
  • Other pressing tutorials: drivel about frivolMakeup Alley , Rookie
  • HERE's a tutorial on how to customize your palettes by decoupaging them.
  • HERE's a really useful FAQ on pressing that you can check out as well!


 Facebook | Twitter | Google + |  Bloglovin' | Instagram Giveaway     


  1. Great tip

    maybe you have a tip for me how to remove 2 eye shadow pan from 6 pan pallet, I actually use only those too and will be great If I can carry those 2 with me.

    1. Hm, I've never actually depoted eyeshadows before so I have no idea how to do that! Sorry! Maybe look up a tutorial on Youtube?

  2. whoaaa, great idea. thank you for sharing <3

  3. I love doing this with my loose shadows...btw I am in LOOVE with your new layout. Its amazing and so chic.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful review!
    Nice tuto !beautiful palettes!
    Have a great week!

  5. Pressing eyeshadows can definitely be addicting. I think I spent a good 2 weeks...maybe 3 last year. And yeah...I did end up ruining some. Thanks for the lovely tips. I'll have to give pressing a try again. :)

    1. I am obsessed with pressing right now. I need more palettes though!

  6. Like this is the best tutorial ever, great explaining, I din't know about the glycerine thanks a lot!!!! :D

  7. Thanks for this tutorial! I know this is something I definitely need to do with my loose eyeshadows!

  8. Can you do this for blush, bronzing powder, etc?

  9. Please not that glycerin and alcohol are not binders. Glycerin is a humectant and will attract moisture from the air which you don't want in your eyeshadow, alcohol will dry up and eventually your powder will simply crumble again. If you want to make your own binder use jojoba oil at 10% and blend, blend, blend.

  10. The eyeshadows I made aren't drying. How do i rectify that. Please help

  11. No preservative?! Rebecca said glycerin attracts moisture. Do you people want an eye infection?


Thank you for taking the time to comment <3 I appreciate every single comment I receive ^_^