How to / Tutorial

How to: Depot Mac Shadows (with heat)

Here is a step by step tutorial of how to depot your MAC shadows so you can put them into your various palettes!


–       Something with a thin tip, I’m using a nail tool

–       Tweezers, preferably a dull pair or one that you don’t care too much about

–       Candle – for this tutorial heat is needed! Be careful please!

–       Cotton pads or an old wash rag

–       Nail polish remover, or if you have it: acetone

–       Permanent marker

STEP 1: Pick out the shadow you’ll want to depot for your empty palette, I’m using Cork by MAC, which has a satin finish.


STEP 2: Take your tool with the thin tip and place the point somewhere along the pot where there is a seam. It may not seem obvious where these are but take a closer look at your pot and you should see them. My favorite points are where the hinge of the lid is, and above the small clasp on the exact opposite side. Take your tool and begin carefully wedging the tip into the seam. It’ll take a bit of work but once you are in, the pot surrounding the pan should separate completely from the larger pot.


STEP 3 (optional): If you want to use the sticker from MAC on the bottom of the pot instead of writing what the shadow is in marker, take the outer pot with the lid. Use your tweezers to hold onto the lid and hold the pot, sticker side towards the flame just for a few seconds. In the center of the sticker your should see a small bump getting progressively bigger until it finally gives way and pushes itself to the outer edge of the sticker. Take the pot away from the flame and with the tweezers carefully remove the sticker and set it to the side, I like to stick mine to the edge of my desk. The pot will be hot at this point so try and use your tools instead of your hands as often as you can!

DSC_0198_mini DSC_0199_mini

STEP 4: Using the tweezers again, grip the edge of the inner plastic pot immediately surrounding the pan and shadow. Hold it relatively close to the flame, not so it is touching though! Again please be careful and don’t let the tweezers get too hot!


STEP 5: Probably the least exciting step: wait. Make sure you are constantly checking the pan, this is not the time to absently hold it over the flame while you are doing something else. After a while you should see a detrition of the plastic in the center of the plastic pot. You are very close now! Keep holding it over the flame until you can see the barest hint of metal pan in the center.

DSC_0210_mini DSC_0211_mini

STEP 6: Take the pot away from the flame, and if you’d like at this point you could blow out the flame. DO NOT TOUCH THE PAN OR THE PLASTIC. They will be extremely hot! So using the tweezers in your non-dominant hand, hold the edge of the plastic pan with the opposite edge resting on your work surface. Using the tool you used to pry the pan away from the pot in STEP 2 in your dominant hand, press the thin tip into the center of the plastic where it is mostly melted/burned away. Be careful here as well, your pan may not give away so easily and if it’s a bit more difficult you don’t want to break your shadow by smacking it into your work surface too roughly.


STEP 7: Let the pan, and the remaining plastic cool completely. Go read, paint your nails, or catch up on your favorite shows. *Unless you followed STEP 3, skip this step and go onto STEP 9*

STEP 8 (optional): Once the pan has completely cooled its time to begin, arguably the most frustrating part of this process.  Take one of your cotton rounds and apply some nail polish remover or acetone. Gently rub the pad across the back of the pan to remove the excess glue until it is completely smooth.


STEP 9 (optional): If you’ve chosen to use the sticker from MAC instead of the marker, do not remove the glue. It’s best if the pan is still warm, if you’ve let it cool use your tweezers to run the pan over the flame for a few seconds just to warm up the glue. Do the same with the sticker we removed earlier, do not burn the sticker, just warm the glue. Then with your tweezers, gently place the sticker onto the back of the pan, and viola! You are done!

STEP 10: Once you’ve removed all the glue, use the permanent marker and label your shadow however you see fit.

STEP 11: Place your pan into your palette and enjoy your easily accessible shadow!

Bonus: Save all your black pots, and once you’ve collected 6 empty mac containers (face wipe packaging included!) you can bring them back to mac to receive a free lipstick at any counter, and (I’m pretty sure, but don’t quote me!) at freestanding stores you can get a lipstick, eye shadow or one of the smaller lip glosses! Now I know some places only accept eye shadows with the metal pans, but I’ve never had trouble at the MAC I go to, trading them in without the pan. If the counter or store you go to won’t accept them go around to the nearest one and see if they will! If you want more information, here is MAC’s full explanation of the Back-to-MAC program.

Good luck, be safe and until next time . . .




2 thoughts on “How to: Depot Mac Shadows (with heat)

  1. Veronica,
    Wonderful post!
    I’ll use this tutorial soon! It was very helpful. 🙂
    I was also happy to learn about the Back-to-Mac program. I have a few unused potion pots that I’d love to exchange!



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