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Old 07-06-2015, 05:45 AM   #1
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Default Watercolor powders - product details

I've had a few people ask me to share more info about products such as Brusho, Bister, and Color Burst - properties, differences, quirks of each, etc. I will have more info on my blog soon and a tutorial and gallery are in the works, but I thought I'd share here too. So here goes:

What are they?
These are a water-soluble, powdered or crystalline paint product. The product can be mixed with water and used in many different ways. Powders can also be mixed with other liquid, gel, paint and paste mediums to customize the colors of those products. Within each pot are a blend of several colors that create a unique blend when activated. A few of the colors look completely different in powder form than they do when activated, especially those with a high mix of yellow in them. The colors may remain separate with a light misting of water. With more water or blending, they will combine to the intended color.

Brand specifics...
Brusho is a product from the UK which has been produced by Colourcraft for over 50 years (there are 3 generations working at the factory now! Love that.). The product is available in 32 colors at this time. A tub of powder retails for close to $5, with 15 grams of product per bottle. The colors range from vivid colors to deep neutrals. I love the color range in the Brusho line - the blends within each color are fascinating to me. The powder dissolves completely in water, and reacts with bleach, both properties of dye-based inks. The product is described as 'crystalline' which is an accurate description - this brand is much less powdery than the others, which is useful for product placement and distribution (though there is variation from one color to the next - some are finer than others). The packaging leaves a little to be desired, but I've found a way around that, which I'll share below.

Pros: amount of product per pot, best price per gram, vivid colors
Cons: Poor package design


Color Burst is made by Ken Oliver Crafts - it's a relatively new product with 12 colors total (there were 6 in the original release, and 6 more are shipping to stores now). Unique to Color Burst is its eye-dropper packaging - the small nozzle allows for more direct application of the product, and a light shake or squeeze of the bottle is enough to easily direct powder to your project. The bottles retail for about $5 each, with about 8 grams of product per bottle. Again, the powder dissolves completely in water, and reacts with bleach. Color Burst powders are very vivid colors - the first release was all primary and secondary colors. Because these powders are very fine, they react very quickly and dramatically with water.

Pros: packaging, reactivity with water
Cons: price, limited color selection


Lindy's Stamp Gang Magicals are another dye based product. These powders are also very fine. There is a wide range of 91 colors, which includes the shimmery Magicals mixed with mica powders, and Flat Magicals which are just pure color. The powders come in sets of 5 colors for $17 - there's about 3 grams of product in each pot. The colors coordinate with other products in the Lindy's line, from sprays to embossing powders. I have the least experience with these powders, but they're beautiful, and I love that the range of colors extends into pastels and metallics, in addition to some unique colors that don't appear in the other lines (especially pinks). Their main use seems to be as a base for mists, or mixative with paint or other mediums. The mica shimmer in the Magicals is beautiful.

Pros: vast/unique color line, mica shimmer
Cons: price, only sold in sets


Bister is traditionally made by boiling the soot of wood, and is used for pen and wash drawings or as a wood stain. The line of Bister powders that is sold by I Brake for Stamps comes from the Netherlands. There are 8 colors in the line. They come in a small pot (about 3 grams of product) and retail for $1.65 each. This product has the heaviest 'grain' of the 3 compared here - the product is actually almost flaky, and very inconsistent in size, as if it were crushed by hand rather than being produced mechanically. The colors are more earthy and dark than the other synthetic products. They can be mixed into spray mists, but they don't seem to fully dissolve like the other powders. I love the brownish tones, as my palette tends to be more earthy.

Pros: organic quality, earthy colors
Cons: small pots, few colors

Here's a small price comparison chart, just for fun:

Product
Colors in range
Price per container
Product per container
Price per gram
Bister
8
1.65
3 g
0.55
Brusho
32
4.94
15 g
0.33
Color Burst
12 (soon)
5.00
8 g
0.63
Magicals
91
3.40
3 g
1.13
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Old 07-06-2015, 05:46 AM   #2
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Here's a quick explanation of how I repackaged the Brusho, Magicals and Bisters:

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Old 07-06-2015, 05:57 AM   #3
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:26 AM   #4
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What a nice explanation of the varieties of these - thanks!

I have Bister and Brusho, and also a few Lindy's sprays. I hadn't even heard of Color Burst.

I absolutely love Brusho - amazing effects. I purchased mine in sets at Dick Blick on sale for about half price.

Dina, I also like an earthy palette but haven't played around as much with the Bister yet. If anyone's interested, I purchased it at I Brake for Stamps at the price you list above .

Thanks, Dina!
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:31 AM   #5
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Default (1) Thanks and (2) Color Lab powders

Thanks for doing this, Dina. The product comparisons are very helpful and I just followed your lead re: the dropper bottles and bought them plus the funnel on eBay.

Marion Smith recently came out with Color Lab water soluble pigment powders (both flat and shimmery colors) and I like the idea of using her powders in the same way as the Color Bursts might be used so I wanted to mention them here for anyone interested. Color Lab pigment pots can be purchased individually or in kits. Disclaimor (of course, LOL), this is just some good old SCS enabling - I am not affiliated with Marion Smith in any way, shape or form..........

To Marion's website:
Color Lab Paints | Marion Smith Designs

One of Marion's Color Lab YouTube videos - she has more than this one:
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:34 AM   #6
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Ooh thanks for sharing, I hadn't heard of these!
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:47 AM   #7
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:55 AM   #8
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Oh, Queen, I'm not sure if I love you for mentioning this or not, LOL!

I've never heard of Marion and the products look beautiful. I'm wondering if the mica pigments will work just like other mica powders (Perfect Pearl, Pearl Ex, etc.) also. She has interesting combinations of color in them.

Seriously though - thank you for sharing!
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:58 AM   #9
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(Not in response to anyone, just musing...)

There is a difference between pigments and dyes - I think we use the term pigment as a general term for whatever colors our art media. There is a distinction though - dyes will dissolve completely in water, while pigments are held in a suspension which includes a binder, and they will settle or separate.

I guess I'm thinking of artists crushing minerals into their own paint mixtures when I also think that pigments are natural and dyes are synthetic, but there are plant-based dyes and synthetic pigments, so that's not a correct distinction.

Not important, just me overthinking like I do!
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Old 07-06-2015, 07:19 AM   #10
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Dina, A very important distinction IMO and thanks for making it !

I have the Color Lab powders (in addition to the Brushos and Color Bursts).

When I get my dropper bottles from eBay, I'll do a Color Lab test with both the shimmery and non-shimmery Color Lab powders and will post the results on this thread.
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Old 07-06-2015, 08:15 AM   #11
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Hi Dina, love this video! I bought the Brusho's a few weeks ago, and am yet to try them out. I know, I need to get my ***** in gear, lol. I just wanted to mention that many users over here recommend jabbbing a couple of holes in the top of the Brusho lids, and then shaking the crystals out. Following on from that, as I was writing it, I thought maybe a salt/pepper shaker might also be a good solution, for anyone who can't get the little bottles you used?
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Old 07-06-2015, 08:31 AM   #12
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I did try that - my concern was humidity affecting the powders (which is probably not really an issue, but I lived 9 years in the tropics so that mentality is stuck), and also having those openings 'open' on my desk.

Stamphappy1650 has her powders in makeup shaker jars - maybe she will chime in here with more info.
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Old 07-06-2015, 08:43 AM   #13
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I did see one video where the person put foil with punched holes over the tops of the jar. Not sure if that's how she left them to store or not.

I wondered about the single hole and humidity, Dina - until I actually received mine and saw that they were meant to be poked!

I even saw a video of someone pinching a bit with her fingers. Not sure I'd be very good at that.

I keep mine in Snapware Snap 'N Stack storage container so at least the openings are not always exposed.

Just took some photos of a set of notecards my daughter and I made, and I'll upload them to the gallery. I have plans for a larger illustration using Brusho. I love the quality of this product .
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:07 AM   #14
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Oh Nancy, your notecards are wonderful! The color interplay and patterns are so artful

Watercolor powders used as you did on your notecards and alcohol inks dropped onto Yupo are the 'Forrest Gump' of art techniques....."...you never know what you're gonna get". How fun!
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Old 07-06-2015, 12:54 PM   #15
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Thank you so much, QueenOfInkland!

That's my next challenge... to bring more control to Brusho. Although I like the plain old magic of letting them do their own thing, I have seen it done with some purpose and I'm going to be experimenting.

(Off topic: Alcohol inks are fun, too, and I've seen Yupo, but I've yet to give it a try. Along the lines of "controlling" or really painting with Brusho, the community art center here has had a class for painting with alcohol inks. It's pretty amazing what they do. Although I haven't taken the class yet, I've seen them on exhibit and they somehow manage to make pictures and still keep that polished stone look of the alcohol inks. Pretty neat.)
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Old 07-06-2015, 03:38 PM   #16
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Dina thanks so much for your detailed explanation of the different products. I own the Color Bursts, and some of the Magicals, as they came in a "package deal" with a set of sprays and bursts I was purchasing - a great deal!! Love Lindsey's products, they have such a unique look to them.
The Color Bursts were a recent purchase, and I'm having a blast playing with them. They look fantastic, and my head is racing with possibilities for uses!! I can't wait for the next set to come in at my LSS.
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:09 AM   #17
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Thanks for the great information! And to QueenOfInkland for pointing me here!
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muscrat View Post
Thanks for the great information! And to QueenOfInkland for pointing me here!
Yay, you found us!
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:19 AM   #19
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For more info and links to other tutorials, see this earlier thread in the forum :

http:////www.splitcoaststampers.com/...s-t597424.html

It was about bister and brusho but is applicable to all of these products.
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Old 07-08-2015, 01:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dini View Post
Here's a quick explanation of how I repackaged the Brusho, Magicals and Bisters:

I'm such a recycler that I saved reinker bottles that came in very handy for my Bisters - holds smaller amounts.
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:10 AM   #21
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Ok. Here's my quick review: Very small amounts of the Color Lab powders are very reactive with water. The non-shimmery color (magenta) was vivid and beautiful. The shimmery color (Aqua) had great shimmer and the intensity of the aqua color varied based on the angle at which you looked at the paper; looking at the paper 'head on' showed the most intense shimmery color.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:05 PM   #22
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i want to buy the bottles for repacking, what kind, size, etc and where do i get them? Thanks.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:14 PM   #23
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I got mine on ebay, Lori - they are 15 ml bottles. The ones I got aren't squeezy - I feel like I have less control with squeezy, so I got the hard PET bottles. The ones I have are similar to these but I bought from a different seller.

5 10 15 20 30 ml 5 100pcs Pet Eye Dropper Bottles White Cap Long Tip Vape | eBay
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:34 PM   #24
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Thanks for the tip on the bottles. I just ordered some. I ordered a set of Brusho's today. I can't wait to get them and play.
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Old 07-11-2015, 05:50 AM   #25
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Default Squeezable PET bottles and weak hand strength

Hi.

This is just something for those with not much hand strength to consider: I am having trouble using the squeezable PET bottles in any way that is enjoyable or controllable LOL.

I have to squeeze really hard (because of my diminished hand strength) to get any powder to come out and when I do get the powder to come out, I have very little control.

These are the bottles that I purchased: http://www.ebay.com/itm/111692950229...#ht_794wt_1124

No big deal - the bottles were not that expensive - but I wanted to share this experience as just something to consider.

The jury is still out for me re: whether or not I can use these PET bottles; if I cannot, I will get a softer/different type of dropper bottle which, as Dini points out, gives her less control, but which may work for me due to my issue with the squeezable PET bottles that I purchased vis a vis weak hand strength.

POWDER ON EVERYONE - all powdered products in this thread are awesome (the only one I cannot speak for is Bister because I don't have those).
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Old 07-11-2015, 06:08 AM   #26
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The lady at the art store triednto talk me into buying pastels and grating them. I didn't bite, but wondered if anyone tried doing that. Wonder if it would work the same. I will check with my LSS to see if she has bisters or brushos or maybe could order them for me. Otherwise I'm sunk. I don't think Michaels or acmoore carries them.
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Old 07-11-2015, 06:22 AM   #27
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It wouldn't work the same, because pastels aren't water-soluble. I don't know that you'll find them locally.
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Old 07-11-2015, 06:37 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muscrat View Post
The lady at the art store triednto talk me into buying pastels and grating them. I didn't bite, but wondered if anyone tried doing that. Wonder if it would work the same. I will check with my LSS to see if she has bisters or brushos or maybe could order them for me. Otherwise I'm sunk. I don't think Michaels or acmoore carries them.
Kathy do you have an art store near you like a Jerry's? If not you can send me a check and I can order some for you if you want.
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:35 AM   #29
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It wouldn't work the same, because pastels aren't water-soluble. I don't know that you'll find them locally.
You would think an art store worker would know that! I'm glad I asked here before trying.
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:40 AM   #30
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Kathy do you have an art store near you like a Jerry's? If not you can send me a check and I can order some for you if you want.
No Jerry's....only Michaels, ACMoore, JoAnns and I could get to Hobby Lobby with a little travel time. I went to an art store locally, but they didn't know what I was talking about. I will do a search for art stores. Maybe there are some I am unaware of locally.
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:45 AM   #31
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Do you think Dick Blick brick and mortar would have them? I found one in Allentown PA which is about an hour and half drive but do-able. I suppose I should take lots of money if I make that trip? LOL
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:57 AM   #32
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Any big stores (HL, Michael's) are one hour for me, and the best LSS is 1-1/2 hours. To have a Dick Blick store one hour away?!?! Holy cow. That would be SO cool.

So your question prompted me to check the site to see if you can find out if a product is available in a certain store - nope. There was a note that inventory can vary between stores and the internet and that each one is independent. So, definitely call first if that's a must for you to make the trip!

And, I discovered that there are three stores in my state! One is still 2+ hours away, but the next time I'm down that way, it will be on my itinerary
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:25 AM   #33
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Hi Dina, love this video! I bought the Brusho's a few weeks ago, and am yet to try them out. I know, I need to get my ***** in gear, lol. I just wanted to mention that many users over here recommend jabbbing a couple of holes in the top of the Brusho lids, and then shaking the crystals out. Following on from that, as I was writing it, I thought maybe a salt/pepper shaker might also be a good solution, for anyone who can't get the little bottles you used?
That's what I did with mine. No worries about humidity either, since they are then stored in one of those Click and Lock containers, which should be pretty airtight.
I erred on the side of caution the first time I pierced the holes, and have had to enlarge most of them! I also stuck round white labels on the lids first, with the name of each colour written on it.
This is brilliant info - thanks, Dina, for compiling it all.


Kathy, I'm sure pastels won't work. BUT, if you do have some chalk pastels lying around; if you fill a shallow dish with water and grate/scrape them all over the surface of the water, you can lay cardstock down on top of it and lift it out and it makes a cool background. I can't remember what it's called . I guess it's a simple take on marbling.


ETA - did a quick look in my gallery, and yes, it appears to be called Marbling with Chalk. Here's my try-out:WT279 Lizard in Chalk. It's something I've been meaning to do again!
But, LOL, since you sensibly didn't buy pastels, this probably isn't for you.
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Old 07-11-2015, 10:27 AM   #34
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I just received my Brushos yesterday, awesome shipping since the estimate was July 24th. Joann's has some of the Color lab kits. I have the Bister's but haven't had a chance to use them yet, I may finally have time tomorrow to try these out.
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Old 07-11-2015, 10:27 AM   #35
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Nancy, I sent off an email to the dick blick site to see if they carry them in that store. Good advice, although I'm sure I could find something else to spend my money on while there! LOL
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Old 07-11-2015, 10:55 AM   #36
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I decided to call. Its much quicker. Unfortunately they don't carry brushos or bisters. Maybe I'll just go look around anyway or go to hobby lobby instead. I'm planning a getaway trip for a small distraction.
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Old 07-11-2015, 11:35 AM   #37
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I've been trying to source Bisters in Europe rather than the US because the exchange rate is so bad just now. First of all I have to spell them the European way, Bistres - and then, I can only find 80 gram pots which would probably last a lifetime. The set of 8 in that size would come to more than my 24 Brushos. But I need to wait till we're in a new VISA bill before I even think about it.
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Old 07-11-2015, 02:21 PM   #38
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Hi.

This is just something for those with not much hand strength to consider: I am having trouble using the squeezable PET bottles in any way that is enjoyable or controllable LOL.

I have to squeeze really hard (because of my diminished hand strength) to get any powder to come out and when I do get the powder to come out, I have very little control.
Queen of Inkland, given your hand strength issue, have you tried just piercing the hole in top of the Brusho container and shaking the powder out like a salt shaker? That is how the company recommends doing it and it's what I've always done and find it very easy. Since I got used to using Brushos that way, I put my Bisters in a similar container and use them the same way.
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Old 07-11-2015, 02:30 PM   #39
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I've been trying to source Bisters in Europe rather than the US because the exchange rate is so bad just now. First of all I have to spell them the European way, Bistres - and then, I can only find 80 gram pots which would probably last a lifetime. The set of 8 in that size would come to more than my 24 Brushos. But I need to wait till we're in a new VISA bill before I even think about it.
Sabrina, here is a great website in Europe for buying Bister/Bistre - they ship to the UK (I got mine through SCS member "calex" when she went to visit relatives in the UK - we had the Bister shipped to the relatives so I know they ship to the UK). It is cheaper than American suppliers charge.

BISTER + COLORIT

Just FYI - it doesn't come in the little jars in the photos - it comes in little ziplock bags - I then put mine into plastic containers.
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Old 07-11-2015, 11:43 PM   #40
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Thanks, Susan. I'll bookmark that and see when the set of 8 comes back into stock. I certainly don't need the 80g jars!! Except that I could share them round .
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