If you have powder makeup in any form, chances are you’ve dropped it at least once, and now it’s all broken and crumbly. Or maybe you have a bunch of loose-powder eye shadow that you bought not realizing how much of a hassle it would be to deal with. Never fear! I’m about to teach you how to take all those “mistakes” and turn them into gold, i.e., your own custom-made pressed-eye-shadow palette.

What you’ll need:


  • Broken or loose eye shadow
  • Measuring spoons (preferably metal)
  • Small metal pans for your shadow—you can use the super-affordable $1 E.L.F. pans, or buy them in bulk from TKB Trading.
  • Rubbing alcohol (at least 70% pure, but the higher the better)
  • Something to mix the powder with—a bobby pin or Q-Tip will work (I used a mini spatula).
  • Something to tamp the eye shadow into the pan—I used an extra eye shadow pan and a lip gloss jar.
  • A storage case for your eye shadow—a CD case is a great temporary fix, but you’ll want omething airtight for long-term storage.
  • Lots of paper towels


  • Pressing binder (exactly what it sounds like—it makes the powder easier to press).
  • Pressing ribbon: This stamps a pattern onto your shadow (fancy!).
  • An eyedropper (useful for super-accurate measuring)

Before you start, wash your hands and sanitize EVERYTHING with rubbing alcohol—the measuring spoons, metal pans, mixers, or anything not made of paper. Remember to sanitize again before starting each shadow.


1. Scoop ½ teaspoon of your loose/broken shadow into the tablespoon, where you will do your mixing. WARNING: It will be messy, so be sure to put paper towels under every part of this process. You can use a small metal mixing bowl for this step if you prefer, but that just means more stuff to clean later.


2. If you are using pressing binder, add it now—just one drop is fine—and stir well. I used TKB Pressing Binder to make it easier to press.


3. Add just a little bit of rubbing alcohol—maybe 10 or 11 drops—and mix. If you don’t have an eyedropper, you can use a straw or spray bottle. Your consistency should be crumbly but wet:


Keep adding rubbing alcohol until your mixture is completely wet but not soupy. If it looks like this:


you’re good to go.

4. Put it in the pan!


Scoop the shadow into the pan, only filling it halfway at first. Spread it out evenly, making sure there are no air bubbles. (I used the mixing end of my mini spatula for both the scooping and the spreading.)

5. Tamping time: Place a paper towel over the wet mixture, put another eye shadow pan on top of the paper towel, and gently press down. This will even out the surface of your product and get rid of excess moisture.


Repeat this step until you don’t get a lot of makeup on your paper towel. Then scoop in the rest of the wet mixture (to fill the pan) and do this whole tamping process again.


Ta-da! This is what your new eye shadow will look like if you have pressed your shadow with a textured paper towel, like I did. If you have a pressing ribbon, now is the time to use it if you want a profesh look. Or you can experiment with embossed paper, a rubber stamp, or whatever you come up with!

Let your eye shadow air dry for a few hours in some sunlight, or leave it out overnight. Some of your colors will probably turn out better than others, depending on each shadow’s texture, brand, and color. But I’ve used this method a lot, and most of the time it works just beautifully. ♦