View Full Version : soft pastels dry out?

bill hansen
04-04-2017, 06:08 PM
Just that - can soft pastels dry out if they're stored without a cover? Most of my pastels are stored in a four drawer US Art Supply wood storage box but a dozen or so new arrivals are stored in the drawer of my box easel, without cover. Should I cover those in some way? Could they dry out over the course of a few months?

I know that at least some people who provide lessons and tutorials online, store many hundreds (thousands?) of individual pastel sticks in large open trays. But they use those sticks very frequently, and they do some larger paintings. I use up some pastel sticks in a couple of weeks, but others might take more than a year to use up.

Bill Hansen

bill hansen
04-04-2017, 09:19 PM
Okay - 19 views, no replies, so I guess I'm not going to get an answer to my question. The thread "Age of Pastels" may be my answer. Many of you have sticks and sets which are decades old, and which work as well as when they were new. Over and out -

Bill Hansen

04-04-2017, 09:38 PM
Bill, Welcome to the forum! I should mention - especially as you are new - that it is not uncommon to get 19 or even far more views without a reply. Not everyone may know the answer and people often wait for more experienced folks to reply to questions.

You should have no worries. Pastels last for decades. I know of no pastel box covers that are air-tight, so I don't think covered or uncovered makes any difference in terms of longevity.


04-04-2017, 09:39 PM
Your pastel will not dry out....they are already dried out. Just like charcoal sticks or pencils wont "dry out". Store them how ever you wish.....nothing to worry about.

water girl
04-06-2017, 01:58 PM
Welcome, Bill! As Don mentioned, not everyone has an answer. Eventually, a member will chime in with that information you are seeking. Don't worry about the pastels drying out. So many artists leave them in opened boxes in their studio. They are just fine.

04-07-2017, 09:24 AM
Some of my pastels have been sitting out in the open in my studio for over ten years and they are as good as new. One "benefit" with them being out in the open and separated in hues and values, is if you have some fugitive colored pastels, you will see a grey pastel that doesn't belong. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it is easy to cull it.


bill hansen
04-07-2017, 02:57 PM
Thanks to everyone who replied. Your answers are very helpful. Now back to sorting out all my colors, maybe in a more open storage system.

04-11-2017, 10:43 AM
I thought about this on my way to work this morning, and I would expect most pastels to have a moisture content similar to their surroundings. And to an uncertain extent as humidity changes, their moisture content would fluctuate somewhat which is probably dependent on the stick's ingredients and manufacture. In extreme conditions, this could affect the application of the color onto the paper. Of course, humidity would affect the paper too. I could see where the rain forest and the desert would be a couple of extreme examples to consider. The paper('s moisture content) could be more influential than the pastel in application. But then, I don't think this is of any importance since most live in highly controlled environments.

04-11-2017, 11:06 AM
I made my own pastels, and the drier they were, the better. Literally turned awesome, many months after making them. Had to be air dried in shade. The ones I put in the sun, or oven or under hair drier, became too hard and sometimes brittle.

04-28-2017, 08:42 PM
I did not know that, Thank You