If your clay project needs a little bit of shine and sparkle, glitter or mica powder will do the trick. However, though they may look the same, there is a difference between mica powder and glitter. These materials will work differently on polymer clay, so clayers need to know which sparkly material is best for their needs.

Read on to learn more about the difference between mica powder and glitter.

How to Tell the Difference Between Mica Powder and Glitter

Glitter is plastic pieces cut into small or larger sizes. Some varieties look more like sequins or are made out of glass or metal. Because it's machine-made, every glitter flake is the same size. If your material has a sand-like texture, and the pieces are a square, rectangle or hexagon shape, you have glitter.

Mica is a natural material that's mined from the ground in sheets. These sheets are colored with dyes and pigments and ground into flakes to make mica powder. The flakes vary in size for different looks. Some brands of mica are synthetic, which have a brighter sparkle and a specialty coating. If your material feels like powder, and the flake shapes are irregular, you have mica powder. Larger mica powder flakes are often mistaken for glitter sequins, and small pieces look just like glitter.

How to Use Mica Powder and Glitter

When working with glitter on your clay project, you need to first mix the glitter with liquid clay, glue, varnish or similar. Apply this mixture to the clay. If you put the glitter onto polymer clay without an adhesive, it may not stick. 

Mica powder sticks to polymer clay without an adhesive. For projects where you want to mix the sparkle into the clay and cut it into pieces, use mica powder. The flakes will not create draglines and will be less likely to move into areas of your project where you don't want it.

Mica Powder and Glitter Clay Craft Ideas

When paired with a clay piece, glitter can add just the right amount of sparkle. Apply liquid clay to your project and sprinkle glitter on the area for a scattered look. For a multi-texture effect, mix different glitters together.

With the various mica powder application techniques, you are sure to find a creative way to use mica powder in your project. When applied to a textured clay, its shimmer helps the pattern stand out. Mica powder also increases the shine of alcohol ink and gilders paste.

Use Sculpey® Clay for Your Shimmery Projects

The next time you use mica powder or glitter for a project, pair it with Sculpey® clay. We have a wide variety of polymer clay brands so you are sure to find one that will make your project radiant.

Visit our clay lines page to buy your Sculpey® clay today. For more ideas on mica powder and glitter projects, check out our clay craft ideas page!