Hand Painted Finishes – Using Mica and Grit

I love decorating my painted pieces beyond just paint and wax.


I’m excited abt the Mica Powders offered by American Paint Company. They are available in five colors: Metallic Gold, Metallic Copper, Metallic Silver, Metallic Pewter, and Black.

Mica Powders: ultrafine powders made from mica and pigment, are non-tarnishing. They can be mixed into waxes, topcoats, glazes, varnishes, polys, lacquers, and epoxy to create a final metallic sheen effect and enhance detailed areas. When mixing, the effect will be subtle with a mix of 1 part mica to 5 parts wax. The effect is more apparent with a mix of 1 part mica to 3 parts wax.

Don’t mix them with your paints; they will just disappear, and Black has no metallic effect.

I took an old textured board and painted over it with APC Wild Horses, then taped it off to demo the effects of these powders.


The bottom smallest square will represent a ‘flash gilding’, where I rub on a little water, let it soak in a few seconds, then rub the powder over it.


Here’s the order of Powder applied from bottom left to bottom right: Black, Pewter, Silver, Gold and Copper.


Then, I applied the wax with 1 part mica to 3 parts clear wax on one row and a 1:5 ratio on another.


The whole board is complete AND turned upside down, so now the flash gild is the top row,  the  1 : 3 ratio is the middle row, and the 1:5 ratio is the bottom row. The order is Copper, Gold, Silver, Pewter, and Black.


The copper, gold, and pewter act a lot alike – if you use a heavier concentration it will really take over and change your paint color. I prefer the less is more method,  otherwise if you aren’t careful it can really look blotchy. The silver is more like a sparkly accent (reminds me of glitter), and I find it a little odd over dark colors. I think over lighter colors, the silver would be a lovely touch, or even added in with one of the other mica colors.

I mixed the Black Mica Powder with the clear wax and scrubbed on this frame painted with Dawn’s Early Light.


I wiped back the excess. I love to change things up, try new combos, see what works and what doesn’t. I’m not a fan of the Dawn’s Early Light on its own, but I  really like it used these ways.


Let’s look at a few more combinations with the micas. Here are bases painted in APC chalk/clay colors Home Plate, First Lady, Freedom Road, Surfboard, Born on the Fourth and Rushmore.

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I first applied the wax and removed any excess.  Next, I really scrubbed the American Grit into all the cracks and crevices, working it into all the detail areas. Finally, I wipe away all the excess.


Here is American Paint Company HOME PLATE with Clear Wax and American Grit.


Here is American Paint Company  HOME PLATE with Gold Mica wax.


Here is American Paint Company HOME PLATE with Pewter mica wax.


This is American Paint Company FIRST LADY, a pale pink. I put on wax, wiped the excess back, and applied grit.


Here’s American Paint Company FIRST LADY with Grit.


Here’s American Paint Company FIRST LADY with Silver Mica wax.


Here’s American Paint Company FREEDOM ROAD with Copper Mica Wax and Gold Mica Wax on the right.


Here’s one of my favorite colors, SURFBOARD, with Silver mica wax and Copper mica wax. I added some American Grit as well cause I didn’t like the silver by itself.


Next is American Paint Company BORN ON THE 4th with Pewter Mica wax and Silver Mica wax.



This last one is American Paint Company RUSHMORE. I decided to add the Mica Gold with some APC Vintage Dark Wax  since the gold on its own is just a little wimpy to me. I mixed both at the same time and just mixed them into each other.


I added some Clear wax and then Grit. I like these two, American Paint Company RUSHMORE with Grit on left, Gold Mica and Dark wax on right.


Oh, the possibilities.  Having products like these in your “painty tool box”  is a necessity if you are regularly dabbling in furniture finishing.  It allows you more options and more opportunities to create a way cool finish.dsc_6078 You can’t have too many products, and you can’t have too many brushes!



Post courtesy of Patty


  1. love this piece! where can the stencil be purchased?

  2. This is great!! Thanks for sharing this tutorial! :o)

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