“Depot MAC eyeshadows” was a line item on my to-do list for probably about a year. Maybe even a little longer. I had seen a DIY Pinterest post on how to do this and decided I wanted to try this out. I love the freedom of creating my own MAC eyeshadow palettes / quads and had been collecting single eyeshadows for a while.

I woke up one Saturday morning and decided to get my bum in gear and do this so that I could enjoy the end results and finally tick this off my long list of incomplete tasks. (I completed the task but then procrastinated until now to get my bum in gear to write this post for you all.)

There are a few things which you will need to do this:

  • MAC single eyeshadow pots or pans
  • MAC empty quad / tray
  • Tin foil
  • Hair straightener
  • Tweezers / pocket knife
  • Board or magazine to work on

You need quite a large working space in which to do this, especially if you are depotting as many eyeshadows as I did. This project also requires heating plastic and metal, so if you have little kids or a curious pet (who wants to help you with everything like Jack does) then make sure this is all out of reach. I used a sharp knife too, so keep this far away from little hands. I started by getting my surface ready and laying out all the tools that i needed as well as reading through the post I had seen once more to make sure I was clear on all the steps.


The first step is to start removing all the eyeshadows from the pots. I used a pocket knife for this but a tweezers will also do. If you look at the front of the pot, there is a tiny groove. Place the knife in the groove and push the knife edge upwards. The eyeshadow should pop out of the container. Once you have done that, place the eyeshadows on your working surface.


Once you have done that get your flat iron ready on a flat surface where it won’t fall over. Place a piece of tin foil over the heating plate so that the eyeshadow pot’s plastic doesn’t heat up directly on the plate and switch the iron on. This part of the process gets quite hot and can burn your fingers, so be careful. The reason you need to heat up the pot is that the metal pan that the eyeshadow is in is stuck to the plastic pot with glue. It’s not possible to pull the pan out of the pot without damaging the eyeshadow itself, so heating the pot will melt the glue so that you can lift the pan out.

img_8749-copyOnce the pot has been on the flat iron’s plate for 30 seconds, use some tweezers to lift the pan off the plate and put it on your surface. Then use a sharp knife and wedge the blade between the edge of the metal pan and the plastic pot. Do this carefully because the metal pan and plastic will be very hot, and if you can damage the corner of your eyeshadow which I did to two of mine. Once you have lifted the pan out the pot, flip it over with the shadow facing down so that the pan can cool down and the glue can dry out. Once it has cooled down, flip the pot over. In order to remember the different colours of the pans, try keep them near the bottom of the pot that has their name on.


Once you have depotted all of your pans, you will need to mark them with their names so that you remember which are which. I used small round stickers I had bought and a black pen. The stickers were a little bigger than the pan, so I just cut them smaller and stuck them on the back.


The one picture I forgot to take is putting the magnets behind the pans so that they stick inside the empty quad or tray. I had magnetic tape that I cut small pieces from and stuck it behind the pans. You can find magnetic tape at most craft stores and can find it as a roll of tape. Once the magnets were on, I placed them in the quads I wanted them in. Quads are so much easier to carry around so I chose to make two small ones and place the leftover colours in an empty MAC tray I had bought. The tray is great for adding blush pans and lip liners so that I have all my make-up in one box while travelling. If at any point I want to change up the colours I simply pop the eyeshadow pan out of the quad and switch it with another one. I really had a lot of fun doing this, but you need to make sure you have enough time available to do this so that you don’t rush it and burn yourself.


The advantages of buying loose MAC eyeshadow pans are:

  1. They are cheaper than the eyeshadow pots
  2. They have magnets and the shadow name on the back making this whole process much easier because you can simply remove them from the packaging they come in, and drop them in the empty eyeshadow quad or tray.


Did you know? For every 6 empties you take to a MAC store, you get a free lipstick of your choice. This is part of the Back-to-MAC programme. I was lucky enough to pick two lipsticks because I took 12 empty eyeshadow pots back to the store!