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The Basics of How to Press Loose Powders

The Basics of How to Press Loose Powders

The mechanics of pressing loose powders for personal use isn’t very hard and doesn’t require expensive machinery. You can press your own shadows, blushes, foundations, or just about any other loose powder with just some minimal supplies found at TKB and/or a local hardware store. This is a step-by- step demonstration written by one of our customers on how to press a loose powder into a pan.

What you will need:

  • Paper to cover your work surface (nobody said pressing wasn’t messy!)
  • Alcohol to sterilize your equipment and pans
  • Gloves and inhalation mask
  • Measuring spoons, and ideally, an inexpensive scale that measures to the .01
  • Press base mix of your own creation, TKB’s MyMix Press Base 
  • Small Seal Top bags
  • Liquid binder of your choice or TKB's MyMix Pressing Medium
  • Pans, TKB tamper tools
  • Sieve or mesh strainer
  • Microspatula or coffee stir sticks
  • Q-Tips or makeup brushes to test color transfer
  • C-Clamp
  • If using oxides: mortar and pestle or small grinder, such as a coffee bean grinder
  • Optional: decorating tools: ribbon, craft stamps, fabric, etc. to add a design onto the top

Step 1: Create your color
Grind your base ingredients and any oxides together, using either a mortar and pestle or coffee bean grinder. Add your micas and blend together. 

Always use sanitary practices: a sanitized work surface, equipment sprayed with alcohol and flashed off (let air dry), gloves and mask, etc. For the most accurate recipes, weigh your ingredients rather than relying simply upon the number of scoops.

Perform a “drawdown test” to make sure that your colors are evenly mixed. A drawdown test can be done by placing a small amount of your powder onto white paper. Using a finger, “draw down” on the pile, making a line of color. If there are no streaks, your color is well mixed.

Step 2: Liquid binders
Add your chosen liquid binder to your colored loose powder  The amount of binder to add will vary by type of binder used, particle size of the powder (matte, shimmer, sparkle), & amount. Basically, you want to get the material to be like "damp sand" so that it can hold its form.

Run the powder through a sieve or strainer with a paintbrush to make sure that all of your particles are the same size. This will help you get a more uniform press.


Add an additional drop of liquid binder to the bottom of your pressing pan. Using a Q-tip, spread the binder all over the pan.

Step 3: Pressing your loose powder
Pour 1/3-1/2 of your powder into the tin. Using a microspatula or coffee stir stick.  Spread the powder somewhat evenly to all sides and corners. It doesn’t have to look pretty:


Cover the powder with part of your used seal top bag, or cover your TKB tamper tool in plastic wrap. Press gently over the tin. You don’t want to press too hard, or your first layer will not bond well to the second. You just want to press with enough pressure to make some more room in the pan.


Add the remaining powder, making a mountain of powder in the center, then spread to the edges as done previously. If you want a design on your finished product, place your texture (ribbon, in this example) between the powder and the plastic bag, and place the acrylic disk on top.

Place all three layers into a C-Clamp or use the TKB Press It tool. If you’re using a C-Clamp, make sure that the clamp comes down in the center of the disk. For the TKB Press It tool, push once in the center, then again on all sides.


Remove, and congratulate yourself!

TKB offers an affordable little kit which has most of the tools you will need for this project:  Press Your Own Makeup Kit.

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