How to Add Sparkle to Paint

Updated February 21, 2017

Sure, there's glitter paint available in the stores, but sometimes you need a little sparkle for a custom job and don't want to shell out. Take advantage of the wide colour palette and shimmer intensity in glitter and mica powder crafts to custom-make your own glittery, sparkly paint for that funky shelf, decorating moulding or craft project. You can use pretty much anything shimmery to get a shine, so let your true colours sparkle.

Plan your project first. Think about the colour paint you have, and what shade of sparkle you want to bring. Decide if you want a glittery, vivid sparkle or a subtle, metallic sheen. True, opaque glitter looks best applied on wet paint, but translucent glitters, shimmer sparkles and glitter powders, like the kind seen in glitter make-up, can go right in the paint.

Open up your paint and stir to emulsify it, using a paint stirrer.

Pour 1 cup of paint into a bowl. Add a small amount of shimmer flakes, mica powder or other sparkly substance into the paint using measuring spoons. Just remember how much you added. Stir this with a second paint stirrer to mix the shine into the paint.

Test out your paint by brushing it onto a piece of scrap paper. Hold the paint up to the light, moving it back and forth. Add more sparkle if you think it's too subtle. Test it again. Stop when you are satisfied with the shimmer.

Calculate how much shine you added, and what you'll need to add to the total batch to replicate this. For example, if you added 1/2 tsp to the paint, then another 1/2 tsp you used 1 tsp per 1 cup of paint. If you have a gallon of paint, that's 16 cups. To achieve the same result, you'd need 16 tsp for the gallon -- but you took out one cup, so you need 15 tsp for what's left in your gallon, plus the remainder of your test batch.

Doctor up the glitter paint using your sparkle. Apply the paint as normal.


Glitter looks best when applied after the paint, not mixed into it. If you want straight glitter, paint, then sprinkle dry glitter into the object or wall, or use a special "glitter gun" for a uniform effect.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 paint stirrers
  • Bowl
  • Glitter flakes, mica or other sparkly powder
  • Measuring spoons
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper
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