EDIT: Done. This was fun. Thanks! My name is Joe Coburn, and I am one of the owners of RJA-Plastics GmbH, located in Mohlsdorf-Teichwolframsdorf, Deutschland. One of the videos I made years ago popped up on reddit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwjiMneRnWw and I recently revisited the comments page of the youtube video for a few laughs. Saw a request for a glitter manufacturer ama (about a year old) and it sounded like fun.


Comments: 391 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

skpicky115 karma

Why? Glitter is the herpes of the craft world. It gets everywhere and is impossible to eradicate. Why do you like watching the world burn?

coejoburn139 karma

Fell into it. Family business. Trust me, I don't get butterflies over the sparkle and shine. You spend enough time with it and a bucket of glitter has the same appeal as a bucket of maggots. They move similarly as well.

TheGrayBeard78 karma

i would just like to say thank you for making my time at the strip club so awesome.

coejoburn148 karma

It's moments like this that help me out of bed in the morning.

ockhams-razor77 karma

Sir, I have a beef with you.

Thanks to your product and the shortsided, carefree, lack-of-planning brain in my 9 year old... I had glitter over my entire house 3 months ago.

I still have glitter all over the freaking house now.

My dogs still crap glitter... I still find glitter on all my clothes... there's still glitter in my food.

I have nothing but hatred for you, sir.

coejoburn175 karma

Get in line.

nicolascage167 karma

How the fuck do you get that shit off your hands?

coejoburn128 karma

High pressure air. Only way.

Romanion39 karma

What about us who don't have access to high pressure air? :(

coejoburn112 karma

Nope. Glitter has permanently bonded to the steering wheel of our car. The initial contact is caused by static electricity. (There's metal in the glitter particle.) You could get a can of compressed air, I guess.

LickyBoy67 karma

How often does someone go to medical with glitter in the eye?

coejoburn163 karma

Only the screeners deal with it. And "medical" isn't really a place at the factory. Just go to the bathroom and rinse out with beer.

LickyBoy47 karma

Is there much money in glitter?

coejoburn69 karma

Certainly can be. But tough competition from the East forces manufacturers into smaller and smaller profit margins. We're a small business compared to many in the field. We also manufacture the machines and make the spare parts, so there's another revenue stream.

LickyBoy14 karma

I saw the video. How did you you get into this business?

coejoburn49 karma

My father started the company in 2000. He died 2 years ago and my brother and I were pressed in to glitter duty. We were both in the states at the time.

EvilTech515052 karma

What would you think of a new type of non-lethal riot control using glitter? Something to mark the drunken idiot couch burners for MONTHS? I figure you could pack about 80 pounds of it, and have 1 pound of high expansion propellant to cover a few hundred yards of street.

coejoburn99 karma

Either we work on this together, or I just straight up steal the idea, because it's a good one.

EvilTech515025 karma

I'm thinking for a small version, just use a 40mm grenade launcher base, a biodegradable plastic case thicker than paintball shells, and a fusable element that rapidly goes from solid to gas for the burst charge. Ideally something where nobody would get killed if the shell hit them and burst.

Or you could do another version, package in a 66mm LAW style launcher with a parachute system and a bursting charge. Could do more kick that way, and much more glitter.

For an 80 pound shell, I figure you'd need some sort of steam canon mortar to loft it, and have the launch kick set off the propellant which could just be something that generates lots of steam or inert gas like a compressed nitrogen charge with a diffuser.

No doubt all this talk is going to get the ITAR enforcers into a crazed tizzy when they come back to work in 2-3 months. :D

coejoburn26 karma

There is some metallic glitter (reportedly) in chaff or counter-measures. Good ideas, all of em'.

TheVikingPrince50 karma

Are all your staff FAAAABULOUS?!

coejoburn74 karma

coejoburn28 karma

No. No No No.

jskoker47 karma

Do you feel like there is stiff competition against pocket sand as the worst thing to throw at someone?

coejoburn63 karma

Glitter doesn't fly well. It tends to flutter around. Very effective when dropped.

coejoburn42 karma

Been fun. I have to go and cry now. Maybe check back and answer a few more after some food.

ArsenicAndRoses39 karma

Definitely one of the more interesting AMAs lately. Thanks for your time!

coejoburn27 karma

Sure thing.

Darkpheonix39 karma

If I had your job, I would be the happiest person in the world.

coejoburn92 karma

Funny, I was just secretly hoping that a nebelwerfer would open fire on the offices and blow me to smithereens.

twothumbswayup36 karma

ive always wanted to dump a big bucket of glitter on the express track within the nyc subway so when the train whizzes by the station there is a huge glittery explosion - i think it would be beautiful - how much glitter would you suggest I use?

coejoburn44 karma

10 kg. Might be better to hang the bucket.

theflamingskull31 karma

How much glitter is purchased by strip clubs in an average year?

coejoburn49 karma

That being said, we did sell a specialty order to this cabaret show http://www.lipsilillies.de/

coejoburn48 karma

I wish I could answer that.

pzl22 karma


how does it feel to be the leading cause in wives finding out about the stripper their husband just saw?

coejoburn117 karma

on the contrary, i provide a very legitimate excuse for men who want to tell their wives they've just be on a tour of the glitter factory.

bruddahmacnut31 karma

You're a funny guy. Thanks for the AMA.

Serious question: What is the smallest size you can cut? There's a product that automotive paint manufacturers use called microsequins that is larger than metallic powder but smaller than metalflake. Would this be cut the same way on a machine like yours or is it a different process altogether?

coejoburn43 karma

The smallest that we can cut, while still maintaining a consistent shape (right now at least) is .002". That is incredibly small. Looks like dust. We do sell aluminum particles in this size for an automobile application. I am not familiar with microsequins, or at least that term, but the product "pearlescent pigments" are small reflective bits made from rock and artificial glass. http://www.eckart.net/products/pearlescent-pigments.html

coejoburn15 karma

and glad I could make you chuckle. :)

foodude3430 karma

Do you use your profession to mess with your friends?

coejoburn62 karma

certainly makes gift giving easy.

fingerprince25 karma


coejoburn60 karma

Yeah! Can't speak to the sticking problem, but very dark colors like black, red, royal blue, ect have a hard time holding up in certain lacquers. Nail polish eats away at the coating that separates the outside elements from the dye. Often times the longer the particles are in the medium (polish for example) the more likely they are to have the color stripped away. Glitter does have a shelf life.

NopesandMemes24 karma

Howany fights have you and your SO gotten into over you trying to explain you weren't at a strip club after coming home late from work?

coejoburn122 karma

Not many since she left.

tjuk24 karma

How much of glitter, roughly, would you say is not gold. I have been hearing rumours that not all is?

Nosiege22 karma

How much glitter is made an in hour?

coejoburn29 karma

It all depends on the size of the particle. A large size, .094" for example (that means that the diameter of the hexagon particle will equal 94/1000 of an inch), will be produced much faster than a .004" particle (which is 4/1000 of an inch). The smaller the particle, the more cuts that are necessary, and the longer it will take to meet your yield. Pricing for the product is adjusted accordingly for time required to manufacture.

Nosiege9 karma

Are they all hexagonal?

I thought it was all just little squares, or rectangles for what seems to be cheaper, nastier glitter.

coejoburn25 karma

The knife used in operation will determine the shape and size of the particle. When running properly every single particle will be uniform. We mainly make/sell hex, rectangle, and square. The hexagonal shape actually is easier to make than a square.

thunnus21 karma

Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?

coejoburn78 karma

no, but i've dropped a 25kg box while loading a truck and the contents burst.

LadyPancake19 karma

Nothing to ask, but this is one of the happiest moments for me on Reddit! I remember the request and it raised quite a few questions that I never knew I had. AND NOW YOU'RE ANSWERING (or were)!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

coejoburn21 karma

been fun

brand_new_low18 karma

you must be covered in glitter all the time.

coejoburn39 karma

Absolutely, yes.

brand_new_low16 karma

this is something i wish would happen all the time in my life.. i love glitter.

coejoburn32 karma

It would end up being a twilight zone episode. OCD about getting it off and live out your days picking minuscule particles from your skin and clothing.

Code221116 karma

Can I have some? Or can I work for you?

coejoburn53 karma

Yes? In order to work here you'd need to move to a village with a population that hovers around 120. Trust me, the winters are very dark and very lonely. Luckily the Macedonian wine is priced around $2 a bottle.

Code221125 karma

I'd work for money, but I'd use the glitter for revenge. My friend glittered my car. If I could cheaply acquire massive amounts of glitter I'd completely fill her car, and then bury it in a glitter sandstorm, leaving a trail of it from her front door to the massive pile of glitter where her car is hiding.

coejoburn60 karma

No matter how old your friend is she would never be able get rid of all of it, her whole life. I gotta take a look in dead stock because this may be worth the investment as a performance art piece. You'd end up murdered, though.

DiggerNicks1316 karma

How does it feel being a sadist?

coejoburn38 karma

Dead on. We manufacture millions of individual bits of distraction every day. It may sparkle, but it's still just a hairbrush.

designgoddess16 karma

Why is glitter so expensive? I had to buy some for work and was stunned at how much it cost.

coejoburn26 karma

Typically it's because you can get a lot of product out of a relatively small amount of glitter. Screen printing glitter onto textiles can really maximize output, because the coverage area in ratio to weight and cost are pretty incredible. It's most expensive when used as a craft supply and dumped onto some glue. The high cost has also always been justified by the uniqueness of the product and the difficulty in making it. You could watch one of the instructional videos for our machines and not really 100% understand exactly what is happening.

dmt767916 karma

How much have your sales increased since kesha?

coejoburn52 karma

Still holding out hope her people will call for a machine.

princesskittyglitter14 karma

Thank you for making my life sparkly and awesome. Glitter is probably my favorite accessory. Everything is better with glitter!

coejoburn49 karma

We spread happiness, what can I say. I read this and "Ode to Joy" came blaring down the hall. Turns out Die Hard was on tv.

etahp14 karma

Someone said it best, "herpes of the artworld"

coejoburn76 karma

Glitter is that and more. It's an attractive person you see out, maybe at a bar, but are warned by friends or locals that they are the resident slut. Case in point is glitter, on display, at a trade exhibition. People are drawn to it by the sparkle and instinctively want to touch. They know not to, because the stuff just sticks to you forever, but they can't. Like moths to a flame. I watch them walk up, scratch at a display piece and, after asking questions or just eyeing up the booth, struggle to shed the glitter as they walk away. Hand furiously rubbing hand. I just shake my head.

AintNoFortunateSon14 karma

How about some biodegradable glitter?

coejoburn28 karma

The problem is durability. For the most part glitter is PET or PVC film cut into tiny pieces. These plastics don't degrade quickly at all, but they do stand up to the mediums and applications our customers use them in. Needless to say, we'd love to have this.

AintNoFortunateSon11 karma

Durability is the problem. Sometimes you just want a little sparkle and don't need it to last forever. Imagine a wedding where guests threw glitter into the air without having to worry about where it went because it would degrade naturally inn a few days or in the wash.

coejoburn22 karma

The particle's plastic can be clean (no heavy metals, toxins, dyes, ect) and metallized with a pure earth metal (silver, gold, alu, ect) so as to be completely non-toxic. That said, it's not going anywhere.

coejoburn19 karma

Glitter can be cut from standard paper, but it lacks the effect.

ArsenicAndRoses13 karma

Rice paper with gold leaf? It would have the added bonus of being edible as well...

coejoburn18 karma

Now we've just got to get enough of it on a long enough roll.

sovietskaya14 karma

When I was in HS centuries ago, it was popular to put glitters on face, hair gel, etc. it was fun back then. These days what is the main purpose that people buy glitters?

coejoburn43 karma

Still popular for cosmetic uses, especially nail polish and lip stick/balm. Huge market for glitter in wall coverings, such as wallpaper. It is found inside molded plastic for children's toys. (High temperature injection molding) Greeting cards. Holiday decorations such as Christmas balls. Really any potential craft use you can imagine. And, of course, strip clubs.

Cykuta10 karma

I always thought glitter was a by-product of some other plastic processing, not specially manufactured! What on earth do people use glitter for? I can't remember when I last saw any... christmas cards, I think...

coejoburn21 karma

First part, glitter is the only part of the process. If everything is running smooth there should be no waste, only uniform glitter particles. Second, that $#%@ is everywhere. Just look closely at consumer goods. Some giant manufacturers in the states and East Asia/India sell a hundred tons or more a year. The amount of wallpaper, worldwide, peppered with glitter should blow all of our minds.

UnrustledJimmie9 karma

Did you provide the glitter for the Twilight movies?

coejoburn26 karma

No, but we did provide the aluminum glitter they spread on the floor for this fashion show. Life's work, trampled. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGYR5D-6gG8

Mr246019 karma

Do you sell wholesale or direct online? Lots of manufacturers sell on Amazon now.

coejoburn15 karma

Wholesale. Some of our customers then sell small packages, like what you see on amazon. Without being certain I think that most of the offers on amazon are not coming from true manufacturers which, in the Western hemisphere, are few.

XSrcing8 karma

How long have you been making stripper vomit?

coejoburn18 karma

the company is 13 years old. I've been involved in small ways for years, but heavily involved over the last 2. Family business.

-fluffs8 karma

Is someone going to develop glitter that doesn't stick to stuff like napalm?

coejoburn18 karma

not me. i'm done.

DUBZ167 karma

Where is the weirdest place you have found glitter in your home/car/body/etc... and asked yourself how did that even get there?

coejoburn47 karma

It gets everywhere. The ears, nose, bellybutton are standard problem areas. Every article of clothing. Every shoe. Big issue with eating it of course. My brother had some get into an open cut on his finger, which promptly became infected. Anything you routinely touch. I mentioned the steering wheel of our car. My wallet is bedazzled. It simply gets everywhere.

talltroll37 karma

Do you guys offer internships for Materials Engineering?

coejoburn16 karma

While we do make the final product, we do not manufacture all the raw materials. Not sure your talents would be put to use.

Bike_Mechanic_Man7 karma

You should work with Kesha. I bet an endorsement from the Glitter Queen herself couldn't hurt business.

coejoburn33 karma

She keeps bothering me.

mandapanda2267 karma

Have you lost friends? I'd imagine that no one would want to be around all that glitter unless they had to be

coejoburn18 karma

nothin from nothin.

Professional-Genius7 karma

You have a great excuse if your SO ever finds glitter on you and accuses you of screwing some raver whore.

coejoburn44 karma

The problem now is being visually identified as the raver whore myself.

legs2yaya7 karma

What is the difference between eye safe glitter and non eye safe glitter? I recently bought some cosmetic glitter to use as eyeshadow and am wondering how different it is to what I can find in the craft store.

coejoburn19 karma

Glitter for cosmetic applications has to meet tough standards for safety. (These also apply to baby clothes, and some toys. Plenty of other things I imagine.) The requirements obviously call for nothing toxic to be present. Heavy metals, like mercury. Also, the colors used must be safe to consume. Some dyes are toxic. I'm oversimplifying, but everything must be ok to get in the eyes or mouth. Here's a real answer: http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditivesinSpecificProducts/InCosmetics/ucm110032.htm

bruddahmacnut1 karma

I'll let glitter guy answer definitively but I would imagine rounded corners?

legs2yaya1 karma

Yeah, I was thinking craft glitter is chunkier with sharp edges hence not eye safe. I just didn't know if it was anything else like the material they use.

coejoburn3 karma

Yeah, you gotta beware of cheap cosmetics that contain glitter. Not because of sharpness, but because of certain processes that are ok for industrial glitter and not for cosmetic. Think formaldehyde. :(

jellyfishin6 karma

How exactly is glitter made? (sorry if this is a really big question...)

coejoburn19 karma

Simple, short answer: Polyester film is fed through a rotary knife cutting system resulting in uniform particles with zero waste. Kind of a combination of a paper shredder and a wood chipper. Here's a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0QNxKnG-dk

Caddy6666 karma

are you to partially blame for twilight?

coejoburn21 karma

I don't control the earth's rotation around the sun. i make glitter.

moraismeep5 karma

Sooo....how dangerous would you say your product is?

coejoburn17 karma

depends if you upgrade to the explosive coating. No danger unless you fill your pepper mill with it.

boredguy125 karma

do you support obamacare?

coejoburn22 karma

Tough question. Eliminating the "pre-existing condition" status of my glitter machine operation carpel tunnel would go a long way.

boredguy123 karma

follow up: what percentage to you place your income over your workers?

coejoburn58 karma

they get all the glitter they can eat, i get to keep all that i can carry.

QuicksilverRain5 karma

Someone once told me that if I was planning to throw glitter at people (as sort of a "yay! You're an idiot!" Sort of thing) I should use makeup quality glitter instead of craft glitter, because the (craft) stuff has bits of glass in it and might cause damage if it got into my victims' eyes. Is that true, or have I been lied to? (As an aside, I haven't bought the glitter yet, I was waiting until I had time to research this quandary)

coejoburn17 karma

Should never be glass. Never ever. Go with real cosmetic glitter, probably from a makeup company you trust. You'll pay more, but no glass.

LilacquerPolishes3 karma

Hi there, nail polish designer/manufacturer here! I just wanted to say thanks for doing what you do, I love playing with glitters and I LOOOOOOOVE having sparkly nails!

coejoburn5 karma

It's people like you who keep the business going. Generally the manufacturers rely on artists, like yourself, to create new uses for the product. It should be me thanking you. So I will. Thank you.

ecbremner3 karma

What was the single largest order you ever had to fill?

coejoburn16 karma

2 tons a month of a very small size.

Smoochtime2 karma

There's nothing worse on Earth than glitter. Needless to say you're responsible and I hate you.

coejoburn7 karma


DangerAndAdrenaline2 karma


coejoburn41 karma


paulHarkonen1 karma

What on earth do you make the stuff out of?

coejoburn5 karma

Mostly our products are cut from 23 micron thick polyester (PET) film, with a slippy water-based coating.

obuibod0 karma

You're a monster.