View Full Version : 80 grit sandpaper for my substrate glued to masonite???

02-06-2015, 03:28 PM
I'm fairly new to pastels and being on a fixed income.....I don't have the budget to buy what I'd like at times.
So I've been using Strathmore 140c.p. watercolor paper and no guesso or acrylic gels and grit or fixatif spray. So that's been a challenge to get certain effects and layering is kept to a bare minimum causing me to really plan out each step and get creative but I'm dying to see the difference so I'm going to use a 5"x8" 80 grit sandpaper I think it's a bit too rough though. I've never seen a sanded pastel paper before so.....???

02-06-2015, 04:35 PM
try it and see.

If you have more of the Strathmore, you can use a gesso on top of THAT, if you have any. It will fill in some of the "pits" in the paper and will give you a bit of tooth too.

One thing to remember....the most expensive outlay is your pastel sticks. If you use a sanded paper, it will EAT your pastels, you will get through them at a much faster rate. Truly, it is the most UNeconomical way to work with your pastels.

If you have any brown wrapping paper, (parcel paper,) pastellists of old used to work on that. Also, much cheaper than pastel paper is "sugar paper" which is an inexpensive paper often used by kids in schools here in the UK, but it is a nice toothy paper and will hold the pastel.

Odd sheets of cardboard from inside or even outside of packing cartons and boxes can be used for pastels too. So can tracing paper.

In fact, just about anything with a bit of substance is fine...you just cannot work well on smooth, waxy papers.

When you get towards the end of a pastel stick, don't throw away the bits. Grind them up into powder, add distilled water v slowly to make a paste like cookie pastry, spread the paste out to dry, either in lines or blobs, and you will have a whole stack of inexpensive new pastels to use! If you mix the colours a lot, you will just get greys, but if you keep them in colour families, you will get a good range.

02-06-2015, 04:47 PM
I think "Sugar Paper" is the same as our construction paper. Am I right?

02-06-2015, 04:52 PM
I'm moving this to Pastel Talk as it's a discussion...but don't worry, I'll leave a redirect...just in case!

There is another way to get sanded paper out of your own watercolour papers or other surfaces...use a sanding primer on it! (http://www.dickblick.com/products/art-spectrum-pastel-and-multimedia-primer/) It works well, and is quite economical, seems to go a long way...

02-06-2015, 05:06 PM
Yes, 80 grit is very rough - you might want to try something more in the 400 grit range. Uart sells a range of sanded papers and their range is 280 to 800 grit.


02-06-2015, 08:20 PM
I think 80 grit would be very rough. Even if you want to try hardware store sandpaper (not worrying about its archival status) there are many grits to choose from...as Don said, probably somewhere 400 or up would be good.
I've also used the sanding primer (art spectrum) on watercolor paper and it has worked well. The primer might be about $25. per bottle/jar, but it lasts a long time. Have fun. Enjoy!

02-06-2015, 09:49 PM
Sheets of common garnet sand paper from the hardware store is a great suggestion from Deirdre. I also read once that pumice in bulk is used by places that treat stone (monument companies, etc.) and may be found very inexpensively. Mixed with acrylic gesso, this can be brushed on any suitable surface- mat board scraps, masonite, etc..

02-06-2015, 11:56 PM
At first glance sanded pastel paper seems quite expensive at $8 a sheet; but its large and can be cut into 4 pieces - and each of those pieces can be used many times. Just brush off your old painting, and if you get the right one you can even wash it. In the long run, its cheaper per piece than hardware store paper and its the right surface for art. Hardware store paper is in no way archival. Canson Mi-Tientes is a non-sanded pastel paper, inexpensive, and I've done many fine pieces on it.

02-07-2015, 03:24 PM
The coarser your sanded paper is, the faster it will eat up your pastels. The sanded primers like Art Spectrum Multimedia (Colourfix) primer and Art Spectrum Supertooth primer are the most inexpensive way to get sanded pastel paper and the grit on those primers is fairly fine, enough that you can still get fine details and don't lose a quarter of a Sennelier just doing a single mass area in a painting.

I would not want to waste good pastels on cheap hardware store sand paper. Much better to get pumice grit from the hardware store and acrylic gesso to mix it with, or marble dust.

Keep in mind that the best way to make these supplies cost effective is to sell some paintings on Etsy or Ebay or at local art fairs or something, or occasionally do commissions to buy supplies. Reaching the point where it pays for your supplies isn't that hard.

I use good watercolor paper and pastel primers when I want sanded paper, though recently I've been buying big sheets of Uart and cutting them down to convenient sizes and multiple paintings per sheet.

Canson Mi-Tientes is a good inexpensive non sanded pastel paper and the smooth side is great. Be careful of a weave texture on the "up" side in pads because the weave is coarse and distracting, may interfere with doing fine details or be too regular and distracting in broken color.

An inexpensive paper similar to the kraft paper, grocery bags texture is Bee Bogus Recycled Rough Sketch Paper, which comes in pads of 50 cheap sheets and has an amazing deep tooth. For studies and sketches the Bogus paper is incredible, though if something salable comes out well on it then I have to use the Make It Acid Free spray on the reverse as it doesn't say Ph neutral or anything. It's a cheap paper but on the whole probably not quite as quick to rot as actual brown paper grocery bags.

With Uart you can get samplers with the different grits to tell how each of them handles. This is good for judging what grit is right for your technique. The plus side of sanded papers is you can layer more. It holds more pastel. The down side is you use up more pastel. If it's coarse it will also be harder to get fine details except by negative painting them. But it will be easier to get painterly effects such as layering clouds with tints of orange, green, violet and pink to make grays with nuances.

I have a lot of supplies mostly purchased before I moved to San Francisco where my expenses went up and tried a lot of different pastel papers. Strathmore Artagain is frustrating and better with hard pastels than soft ones though its colors are beautiful.

We're lucky to have a wide variety of papers and pastels to choose from.

Here is another point of costs: the softest pastels cost more being pigment rich and wear down fastest being super soft. I use those on last layers sometimes and will paint under them with medium soft less expensive pastels like Rembrandt, also block in with hard pastels that cost the least and are good enough for first layers.

Good paper and being aware of which pastels work best on which papers matters a lot. Charlotte Herczfeld aka Colorix has a wonderful video on "Pastel Brands Matter" which explores three different types of pastel surfaces and three categories of pastels on them in little sketches. Here's the link: Pastel Brands Matter. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQgXuMI1eKY) What's great in the video is she shows the different results with different combinations.

Try the little demo she does, she repeats it so many times you can get a good idea of where to use what colors. Give it a go on as many different papers and surfaces you have, and with different kinds of pastels. The best way to grasp this is doing it yourself.

PastelMat is a different surface from plain or sanded, it's coated with a soft primer that holds a lot of pastel without being gritty. It is very smooth. I love it for Pan Pastels because it holds them like the sticky side of tape. But it will work well for other kinds of pastels too.

02-08-2015, 05:57 PM
Wow thank everyone so much for the informative responses!! I own a great book called Artists Manual a complete guide to painting and drawing materials and techniques I have read,re-read and read again!! I think it's a awesome and very informative book.

02-08-2015, 11:44 PM
I've seen that and it was very tempting. Of course it'd need constant updating because it seems like every year something new and awesome is created.

I love the sanded papers, so the sanded primer is my choice. Especially the clear, because being able to wash under it with watercolor for an underpainting is so handy. I did try it once with a metallic watercolor to try to give a metallic background to a painting of a bird. It lost the metallic effect and just looked like yellow ochre, so I washed again over it and found it was still thin enough to get that tooth. There's the advantage of sanded papers.

But fine grits seem easier to handle to me than coarse ones. Uart 400 is about as gritty as I care to get. Watch for sales! The online places compete over the holidays and all through the month with discounts, if you save up to make a bigger order over $99 or $150 or whatever it is for the site you can get huge savings on everything.