View Full Version : how do you keep your pastels clean?

09-08-2000, 09:21 AM
I'm using oil pastels. I have been wiping them off with a towel before using to keep color clean. Any other suggestions on how to keep your sticks clean? Also, they always break and I break break them on purpose too. How do you store all those little pieces so that you can find them and keep them clean?



09-08-2000, 09:55 AM
Hrm, I use soft pastels, so my chamois method of keeping them clean probably won't be very useful. I do have some oils that I keep in rice -- plain rice, not instant rice -- in an old pencil box. They keep quite clean that way. I don't know what the effect the rice may have on them, tho, cause I rarely use them. Now that I think of it, it might be possible that the rice might "soak up" some of the oil . . . just a thought.

I do, however, keep all my soft pastels in wooden cabinets -- arranged by color and color family. Even the small pieces are stored with their family. Any dirtying I get is usually from its neighbors and not a big deal.

When I start a painting I pull out my plastic pastel tray and select 3-4 basic colors. Those and their values are put in the tray slots and I add more as I move along. This helps me restrict my palette and keeps me from getting too carried away with colors.

Dunno if this helps at all.


If emailing me, please remove "nospam" from the email address.
Mran taing agus mar sin leibh an-drsda,


09-11-2000, 07:06 AM
Cindy: The rice idea works for me too, but this is how I do it. I don't store my pastels in rice, I just store them in the tray they come in. You can buy empty trays at most art supply places to put the pastels in that you make yourself. About the rice.... I took the lid from a shoe box and put the rice inside and use it like you would use a palette. I place my sticks on the rice when I am not using that particular stick and the rice help keep the sticks from touching each other while I am painting. Also I try to keep my hands clean using baby wipes between using each color. When I am finished with a painting session, I put my sticks into the tray. You can use the same rice over again until it gets really dirty. Yes the trays do get dirty too, but you can use one of those hand held mini vacs to clean up an empty tray. Also a can of air comes in handy.


See you in the Cafe Chat Room (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/WetChat/index.html) Or ....stop by the Virtual Cafe Guerbois (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/cafe/) today!

09-11-2000, 07:16 PM
Baby wipes are God's gift to the pastelist!

About the chamois I use -- I've never tried it for oil but what the heck. It might work for you:

When I'm painting fast and continuously, I use 5x7 and larger pieces of chamois to wipe my hands, pastels, and my color shapers (if I'm using them). The chamois is dry, does a great job and washes out in soap and water for soft pastel. When they get really dirty, I use the Master's cake Artist's soap to wash them with. That stuff cleans almost any art medium, so it will probably dissolve oil pastel too.

If for some reason they dry out and crack -- like if you use some sorta cleaner on them *whistle* -- pour mineral oil (mink oil is best though. Always use animal based oils on leather) on them and work it in. Then wash. Almost like new!

Little hint on the chamois: I don't buy chamois from art stores -- the prices are silly. I buy huge pieces at an automotive or hardware store. I soak it in dish soap and water overnight and throw them in the washing machine with a few loads of laundry. That gets rid of the oils. Then I cut it into the size pieces I need.

Fisg mr agus mar sin leibh an-drsda,
"Mhair i fs, is cha tid a glir air chall dh'aindeoin g is moruin mhir nan Gall."
<FONT size="1">-- Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair</FONT s>

09-14-2000, 05:39 AM
Hi Cindy,
Again Im a soft user. I kepp mine in trays with corugated paper liner in bottom and when and if they get dirty put them in Rice Flour and shake it all about.
Keeping hands clean by either wearing medical inspection gloves or rolling up a big sausage of Blue Tack and keeping it in the hand while painting.Its also good for acting as a putty rubber.
My the things we learn from forums HeHeHe.

09-14-2000, 03:16 PM
Cindy, I do the same thing you do and wipe them with a cloth after using a stick. I have never found a better way to do it.


09-15-2000, 05:31 PM
Unfortunately, you've gotta wipe em. Using separators for each individual stick will help, returning each stick to it's little spot as you work.

LDianeJohnson.com (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com)

09-18-2000, 09:50 PM
Originally posted by Sandi:
jeans. preferably Levi's. God's nicest gift to all artists. . . .

As you're wearing them? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

Seriously tho, are you talking of using old jeans as a wiper or are you referring to wiping your hands on your jeans as you work?
As a wiper, I'd like to try that :P

I do have a habit -- I've tried to break -- of wiping my fingertips on my t-shirt as I work. I don't even think, I just do it. *groan* It's pretty embarassing when I go get the paper at 7am and I'm wearing a white t-shirt with burnt umber fingerprints and splotches all over it.

Mar sin leibh an-drsda,
"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

Gail Pastel
09-19-2000, 11:32 PM
Hi everyone, I keep my pastels in a plastic fishing tackel box with the plastic dividers that come with it. Bought it in walmart. Also I know the rice works too! If you are a starving artist,you can always cook it. HA HA . I also use a rag or wetones that I keep in my box. Well Happy Painting, everyone!!!!