Coloring 101: Eyeshadow Backgrounds

Coloring 101: Eyeshadow Backgrounds

Shelly Pfeiffer recorded a video for us this month showing how she and her mom use eyeshadow to create lovely backgrounds on the designs she colors. Watch the video below, or read the step-by-step instructions to learn how she does it!

Why eyeshadow, you ask? Well, I’m sure most of us ladies have eyeshadow languishing in our makeup drawers. Colors we don’t like, or that are old enough we don’t want to use them on our delicate eyelids. A clever colorist or two decided to try using them on a coloring design, and shared her results. It gives you a delicate look reminiscent of pastels.

If you don’t happen to have eyeshadow sitting around, you don’t have to purchase an expensive set from a major beauty brand. Check out your local dollar store!


materialsIn addition to the actual eyeshadow, you’ll need something to lay down the color. The easiest, of course, is to just use the eyeshadow brush that comes with the eyeshadow. If you’ve lost that tiny little sponge-tip brush – or the sponge tip has been destroyed over time – your dollar store probably has some of those as well. Or, if you want something easier to hold, pick up some makeup sponges, or use cotton pads, cotton balls or q-tips. You could even use paper towels or your finger in a pinch!


There are two basic techniques you can use to lay down the color. Both are simple, but can give you some great effects.


dab1Dabbing involves tapping the color onto the paper with a light touch. In this sample image, I’ve dabbed using a light purple shade. Don’t worry if your first few dabs seem to lay down too light of a color. Just continue to dab more color onto the paper until you get a depth of color you like. I put down four-five layers in this sample to get a purple I liked. You may also notice that some eyeshadows put down a deeper color with fewer layers than others. The black color in later examples only required a couple layers to give the result in the images.

dab2Dabbing works best using a tool with a distinct tip, so that you lay down small dots of color with each “dab.” You don’t have to limit yourself to a single color. In this next example, I used a black and a gold color. The image doesn’t show it very well, but the gold actually has a shimmer to it, like many eyeshadows.

That’s one of the great things about using eyeshadow instead of pastels. Pastels can be used in a similar fashion, but don’t generally have the same range of shimmery or sparkly colors.


brush1In the second technique, you brush the color onto the paper using light strokes. Depending on the tool you use, you can lay down narrow strokes or brush over large areas. You can also leave the strokes as individual streaks of color as in the example Shelly created for her video, or you can smooth the strokes together for a more solid coverage as I did here.

brush2As with the dabbing, you can use just a single color, or combine colors for other effects. As with the dabbing, I used both black and gold on this example.

You can also experiment with combining dabbing and brushing. For my final sample, I brushed down a solid layer of purple, then dabbed both black and gold over it. You can see how the purple underneath changes the look of both the black and the gold.


See, simple! So dig into your makeup drawer or bag, pull out those old or unused colors, and have fun with it!

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