View Full Version : Dry Fingers

12-11-2003, 07:56 PM
Can I ask what pastelists use to keep their fingers from drying out? I use my fingers but after a while, they feel so dry.

I was also wondering when the makers create pastels, do they only use the gum or do they use some kind of oil to make them more buttery? It seems the Schminke are easier on my fingers, so I was wondering what other ingrediants are used to make a pastel softer.

Is it a good idea to make our own pastels or is that really a good way to waste pigment if you mess up? I'm thinking that if a pastel breaks or crumbles into something useless, I've lost alot pf pigment. Mixing oils with pigment is much safer. Any idea's?


12-11-2003, 08:04 PM
Hi Kelly, Welcome to you. there are several things you can use instead of your fingers for blending, such as cotton buds, tortillons, shapers, paper tissue etc., some wear finger stalls to ease the wear on the finger tips.
Oil is only used in Oil Pastels, I recommend that you check out the Sub -Forum the ~~Pastel Library Archives. ~~ at the top of the page and you will find no end of information there for you.


12-11-2003, 10:56 PM

I can't find the sub forum. I've been using chapstick on the pads
of my fingers to put moisture back in them. Since oil is already on our fingers, when we blend the soft pastel, some oil from our fingers gets in there. I know that there is a certain gum in soft pastels and so if the oils in my fingers don't hurt the chalk I figured a drop of oil in the pastel stick, when made, wouldn't be a problem.... I was curious.. I also have the full Sennelier oil pastel set, so I do know alot of wax and oils go into those.

The tools for pastel I do not like. I don't get the same control. It's still a new medium for me, I just find myself putting lotion on during my painting.

Thanks for your reponse. If you can point me to the sub forum that would be great.


12-11-2003, 11:08 PM
The Library is directly above this forum.

If the pastels seem to dry your hands, you can wear the sheer plastic gloves (like medical gloves). They are usually sold in art stores, drug stores and even the grocery.

Actually the pastels are not what dries out your hands....it's all the washing that we do which removes the moisture. You can also use a product called ArtGuard for the hands while painting. It seems to make it easier to clean the hands.

If you're interested in seeing how to make your own pastels, we have a great tutorial where Phyllis Franklin shows how its done and gives the ingredients used.


12-11-2003, 11:10 PM
at the very top of the page where you see all the threads is the Library archive, click on it...when you get there click on the library contents thread...tons of info...

try cleaning your hands with baby wipes with aloe...I used them for soft and now for my oil pastels...helps a lot...also if you wash your hands with soft soap it helps keep them softer.

12-11-2003, 11:18 PM
Here's the link to the Library: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=65


12-12-2003, 12:35 AM
Here's the link to the How To Make Pastels article.



12-12-2003, 01:14 AM
Thank you for this. Great info!

12-12-2003, 04:39 AM
if it makes yo feel any better..................I once watched a video, where the artist was using a pair of what looked like surgeons gloves and I thought well OK, if they can do it, so can I.

Since then, I have always used these gloves. They do not interfere with my ability to paint............and now, for the first time in years, I have wonderful nails, pastel-free, and they stay that way!

The ones I use are called "soft hand LATEX examination gloves. They bear no resemblence to horrid big floppy kitchen gloves; these are soft, tightish, and you get them in big boxes of 100 and they do not cost a lot.

They are also environment friendly - latex gloves decompose naturally, apparently, without the need for incineration.

Another thought, if you decide against the latex gloves- load lots of vaseline or something similar on your dry hand at night, and put on a cotton glove. By the morning, your hand will no longer be dry.

Deborah Secor
12-12-2003, 12:32 PM
Living in dry, dry, dry New Mexico (the humidity is about 9% today) I've had a lot of trouble with cracked fingers. I've found that finger cots can help a lot. That way I can cover the finger that's cracked and even use a bit of moisturizer under it as I work. (If you aren't familiar with finger cots, they're the fingers from gloves--not the whole glove--but these are made of leather so they're not as hot or cumbersome. You can find them at Dakota.) I use Carmex on the cracks, which are usually at the edge of my fingernail. If you have any open sores on your hands you should definitely keep them from getting into the pastel.

http://www.dakotapastels.com/index_frames_misc.shtml (http://)
Here's Dakota's info. Go about halfway down the page...


12-12-2003, 12:35 PM
(Hi, Deborah! Glad to see you here!)

I use barrier cream on my hands, and that does a good trick of keeping them from drying out too much. "Invisible Glove"..."Magic Glove"...any of these will work. And finally, LOTS of hand lotion when I'm done!

Deborah Secor
12-12-2003, 12:49 PM
(Hey Michael! Is it dry and/or snowy there? Glad to see you here too...)

Barrier cream helps but I wash all the time and it gets expensive after a while. I mean, I wash it all off! Sometimes I try not to wash so often but it never lasts long. You can reuse the finger cots too--and I don't use them all the time.


12-12-2003, 09:05 PM
I love to blend with my fingers. Even on the sanded papers, nothing else compares. My wife got me some cheap moisturizer which works really well as a hand cleaner too. Not any particular brand, just something at the dollar store. I've always had problems with my skin drying out anyway, and I like in the Pacific northwest, I'm probably the only thing that is dry. ;-)


12-13-2003, 01:29 AM

Thanks for the idea's. I never thought of gloves because I figured they'd get in the way, but hey, if Jackie Simmonds can wear them, then I will try:) My ritual is to paint, wash and then dip fingers in olive oil, rub it in, dry off excess and pick up next color, so I will try the gloves and finger cot's from Dakota.


Thank you for the link to paking pastels. This is cool and much more detailed than I thought. Seems like alot of fun though.
Seems like it's something that should be done in a group so more can benefit from all the ingrediants to be purchased, like cookie making parties at Christmas, everyone pitching in.


Thanks again!

12-13-2003, 03:03 AM
Hey Eisenhower

After trying many products, I finally came up with my solution. I have been using surgical gloves (the textured kind) except I cut off the fingers and just wear the finger tips. This works great. You get a whole bunch out of a box and you still have the freedom/comfortable flexibility, I even sometimes have one for each color and they can go quite a long way. I have a little box with a bunch of finger tips in it.

Trust me on this one,



12-13-2003, 04:38 AM
Hey Gerry, great idea, I am going to try that. I find that the whole glove works well, but goes get a bit hot in the summer months, so just using the fingers is a nice idea.

That should amuse passers-by, when I am out painting on location! As it is, I always get funny looks when I am wearing a latex glove. Or maybe its my painting getting the funny look............