Make Art for Your Home With Dollar Store Makeup

6 Materials
1 Day

Powdered eyeshadow can be used to tint pictures and comes in an amazing range of colors to make artwork for your home. We've made a longer video with six project with lots of tips; watch it here. These are the basics to get you started:

This shorter video shows the basics for getting started. Be sure to watch the longer video for many more tips— the link is at the top.

You'll need: 1) eyeshadow; 2) swabs; and, 3) prints on matte paper. Also to remove colors, we recommend emory boards and/or plain alcohol which should be used with care. More on that below.

Here are the swabs we used: A) cotton balls to remove dust; B) long-handled swabs (optional); C) basic round swabs; D) pointed swabs; E) mini swabs. All of these swabs can be found on Amazon.

We bought eyeshadow colors from dollar stores in our neighborhood. We also found a 120-color set from eBay for just $10. Some of the colors are metallic which can be used for special effects. For most of our projects, we used non-metallic colors.

Eyeshadow works on color photos, black and white photos, and sepia (brown and white) photos. We used a photo-editing program to create our prints and had them professionally printed on textured matte paper. Be sure to test your paper and prints to see what works best for your projects.

LINSEED OIL can be mixed with eyeshadow to create vivid colors. It will work on color-resistant paper too. The oil penetrates paper, but dries completely in a few days. We dipped our swabs into a few drops of oil, rubbed it on the eyeshadow, and then colored the paper.

Linseed oil can harden your eyeshadow slightly after several days. We loosened it again with some gentle scraping.

We taped our paper to a work surface. Small pieces of tape work best because even low-tack tape can tear an image when removing.

Vintage Botanical Art. We made a collage of vintage botanical art and printed it in sepia tone. The figures are tinted with eyeshadow, and some areas are left white or black. Download this coloring page here.

Venice Canal. This canal scene in Venice as a free download from Pixabay. We changed it to sepia tone and used eyeshadow and pastels to re-color it for a vintage oil painting effect.

The mini swabs were great for doing detailed work. Be sure to always use a fresh swab each time you change colors.

If you over-color an area, you can use a little water on a swab to help remove it.

We used bright colors for a pop art effect on this vintage photo. Pointed swabs helped make cloud shapes on a white background.

Coloring prints with eyeshadow create an oil painting or antique lithograph effect. Because the powders are semi-transparent, you can see the details of the artwork after coloring.

If you over-color an area, you can scrape a bit of it off with the wooden end of a swab.

An emory board can be used to sand away the eyeshadow to create lighter areas or highlights.

Alcohol on a swab will remove the eyeshadow, but you must only use it on white areas because it will also remove the printed image.

Linseed oil will dry thoroughly, however, we also fixed our colors in place with Grumbacher Matte Fixative. You can purchase this at HobbyLobby or Michael's Crafts.

The Waterfall. We created this image in a photo editing program using lots of free waterfall pictures blended together. Using eyeshadow without oil was perfect for the water and sky. For the richer browns and greens, we mixed the eyeshadow with a few drops of linseed oil. We also used a few metallic browns on the rocks which catch the light from different angles.

Make Pop Art. We downloaded this free image from Pixabay. This image was tinted three times, each layer added more richness. You can make 'pop art' images by increasing contrast in a photo editing program and using bright colors. The mini swabs helped to create sharp edges when coloring.

Visit our photo essay for more links and photos about hand-coloring prints with eye shadow—the link is below. See you later!

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Stephie McCarthy
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2 of 5 comments
  • Suze Suze on Jun 28, 2022

    impressive, ingenious and inspiring. kudos!

  • Jean M Jean M 4 days ago

    Very nice! You can also buy the big eyeshadow palettes when they go on clearance after Christmas.