Introducing… Faerie Fridays!

May 23, 2014 in blog posts, faerie fridays

Anima has consulted with her fae friends and has decided to share their wisdom with the interwebs on Fridays. Stay tuned weekly for creativity with a touch of enchantment!

Faerie Dust for Mortals: A Primer

In their neverending quest to recreate the magic and spirit of the fae, humans have developed a substance they call “glitter.” Though it has none of the powers of true pixie dust, this substance does help them replicate the look of faerie sparkle fairly well. This exposé from your friendly fae at the Faerie Factory will serve as an exploration of the all the uses of and variations on this substitute the inventive short-lifes have come up with to make themselves more like us.

Different Kinds For Different Uses

Humans find that glitter has many uses in crafting, makeup, and decoration, and have even developed edible variations to garnish cakes and pastries. The properties of this manmade faerie dust are governed by the size and shapes of its flakes, as well as the materials of its composition. The most common glitter shape is the hexagon; other popular shapes include stars, circles, squares, and hearts. While the least expensive types of glitter are made of metal, there are a number of types of plastic glitters that are frequently used for different purposes. For instance, an inert medical grade plastic is used in human makeup, as well as the sort of glitter used for scattering that might be accidentally ingested or come into contact with a human child’s eyes. Glitter is often made of the same film that humans punch sequins out of. Occasionally, you can find glitter composed of the needle holes scooped out of the human machines that create spangles. Humans have taken an idea from our friends the mermaids and use finely-ground fish scales to add to makeup to create an iridescent look. They have also invented special glitters optimized for use in paints and in crafting that requires heat processing.

Faerie Dust

There are three types of glitter that most closely resemble our own faerie dust. These are very lightweight so that they give the illusion of floating on air on their own, and are extremely sparkly as to mimic the presence of magical properties.

  • The first kind is made of ground-up holograms and comes in gold or silver. Each of these metallic colors is opaque with an iridescent rainbow shimmer. If the holograms are ground too finely, they start to lose their prismatic effect.

  • The second sort is iridescent and translucent, with a color and texture reminiscent of ground-up soap bubbles. This type is made of medical grade material and comes in different color tints, such as green, lavender, and blue. When finely ground, this version is the closest substitute for real faerie dust. It floats well (even if it is, unfortunately, ultimately confined by the laws of gravity) and clings to fabrics and surfaces, yet is inert and non-irritating to human allergies. Its texture is also much less rough to the touch than the metallic type. It is the most expensive variety of glitter humans produce, generally costing five times as much as the metallic type, but appears to be well worth the price.

  • The third class is the most common. It is much rougher than the two previous kinds. It is often sold at craft stores or makeup counters. Its main drawback is that it is rough to the touch and so it does not feel good on the skin. On the plus side, it is does not cling to unwanted surfaces nearly as stubbornly, and is also much cheaper than other types. The main way to tell the difference is by its feel. This cheaper variety does not float as well, but still makes a beautiful substitute for authentic pixie dust.

Spray Sparkle

Most canned spray glitter isn’t the humans’ finest achievement in replicating our faerie shimmer. In order to fit through the spray nozzle, the glitter flakes have to be so tiny that they’re almost not worth using for decoration. If you do want to use spray glitter to give an object an overall gleam, pick a spray appropriate for your project and note that this method will often use up significantly more glitter to achieve coverage. Apply using caution to keep the spray from getting places it shouldn’t adhere to, and be aware of the spray nozzle pattern. Spray glitter often has a higher shed ratio than other methods, and sometimes the glue remains tacky and will continue to want to adhere to itself.

Edible Glitter

Edible glitter is for more than just food! If you need a biodegradable substance to throw as shimmer, using edible glitter in place of standard glitter will allow remnants to melt away at the first rain. It is also very good for use around very young children if ingesting thrown glitter is a safety concern. Edible glitter can be purchased at specialty baking shops and some human craft stores. It is made of sugar and comes in a large sparkly flake that floats in the air nicely, unlike the colored granulated sugars commonly used for decorating cookies. Remember, though – real faerie dust is not fattening, so approach this substitute with caution if hungry!

Glitter Mixtures

Out of laziness, it seems, humans have created glitter paint, which is a very poor substitute for real pixie dust. It is a mixture of glitter with different mediums that allows them to decorate their clothes. It is not anywhere near a sparkly as regular glitter, but it’s quite often washable or even flexible. If you’re planning on buying glitter paint, read the label carefully to make sure you’re aware of its intended uses.

Glitter hot glue sticks are also available in a variety of colors. The effect is more dimensional but has less sparkle in the sun than regular glitter. However, it does seem to have a lot of other crafting uses which we will address in next week’s exposé.

Glitter Powder

Humans also sometimes finely grind materials into a powder which is used for purposes such as makeup, embossing, and bronzing. Us fairies have found a use for it, however, as powder when changing baby pixies to keep the diaper rash away. Products that are marketed as makeup can be toxic to you frail humans, though, so follow the instructions carefully!

“Kitty Glitter”

When working with large amounts of glitter, do not let the cats know! No kidding – the fae are friends with cats that will even knock over entire containers to use it for their business! Whether it’s that they find it more aesthetically pleasing than the (g)litter they are supposed to use, or the fact that ammonia is used in the production of iridescent plastic, be careful to avoid the faint whiff of “oh no, did the cat do something?” around your sparkly faerie recreation items!

Next Week:

Glitter tricks, tips, and resources from the fairies!