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Mica-Powder on Lusterware

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2008


Once called poor man's silver, lusterware became popular in the 19th century as an inexpensive but convincing imitation of silver tabletop items. Its glaze comes in copper, pink, and silver, but the ornaments here represent only the pink and silver varieties. Even the designs on the ornaments are adapted from the real thing; silver lusterware is known for its imagery of flowers, leaves, and vines, and pink lusterware is often decorated with houses, birds, and flowers. These ornaments gain their two-toned shimmer from a combination of gilding leaf and mica powder. The ornament decorated with a house, center, was made using oven-bake clay and an iron-on transfer.

To create a 2-toned sheen similar to that of pink lusterware, accent gilded and iron-on transfer ornaments with pink mica powder.


  1. In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon mica powder and 2 teaspoons clear gel medium (available at art-supply stores).

  2. Using a fine-point brush, paint over details you want to highlight; leave some parts unpainted to attain a 2-toned effect.

  3. Let dry completely.

  4. Apply paper backing and ribbon details, as described for the jasperware ornaments.

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