View Full Version : Old pastels

11-26-2005, 02:41 PM
A man just gave me a box (no name brand) of old pastels. Is there any way to still use them? They are very dry not the good kind of dry. Like a rock! :confused:

11-26-2005, 03:49 PM
Odd - I have some really old pastels inmy pastel box and they aren't hard like you describe. Are we talking soft pastels or oil pastels?

If they are softies - I wonder if you wouldn't soften them a bit by grinding them down and reconstituting them with a little distilled water or alcohol....add in some marble dust if you want to give them a bit smoother feel.

11-26-2005, 03:53 PM
They are soft pastels. Never been used, but he had them for many, many years. I broke one and tried to use it - No output at all. I ground it down and got some color from it, but I wonder if I want to mess with them. I'll give it a try and see what happens. Thanks.

11-27-2005, 02:30 AM
Be sure to post how it goes. This thread would be a good reference for others....

Good luck!

K Taylor-Green
11-27-2005, 11:24 AM
I am moving this thread to the Soft Pastels Studio. You will get more response. The Library is not for new threads. :)

11-27-2005, 12:55 PM
Well, if you don't want to mess with them, send them to Cori- this is right up her alley!!!

11-27-2005, 12:59 PM
lol, Linda. But if she did it herself, she would be able to have some of the fun and I could share in it by living vicariously! :D

11-27-2005, 01:19 PM
Thanks you guys and gals. I need to get to the store to purchase some marble dust. That takes me a little while. In the meanwhile, .............I don't even have any alcohol.

11-27-2005, 01:22 PM
you can use distilled water - just add a very little amount at a time until it forms a stiff paste and form it into any shape you want....let it dry a few days and you're set.

11-27-2005, 01:30 PM
Ta DAH. Thank you. Will do. I crushed one of them down (the brown) and used a cotton ball on a piece of Canson. There is color there. TA DAH! With a little bit of distilled water I just might have some useable chalk. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (When I was little I used barbaque brickettes to draw with. This is much better.)

Golden Kfir
12-05-2005, 07:18 PM
if you add mineral spits to OIL PASTELS then they will soften. You can do this by making a sandwich, put them between two paper towels that are saturated with mineral sprites, then put aluminum foil abound it to prevent evaporation and odor. Check on it Intel its soft, but not too soft. It take a few hours or even days. Its like a taco but different. lol

12-06-2005, 06:43 PM

I just had this nonsense idea : what about putting them over steam ? Could that make them damp ? Like re-hidrating ? Or should I stay shut ? :-)



Phil Coleman
11-21-2009, 06:17 AM
It is interesting to hear of others using the older sets. I have quite an old set of Giraults which contains some 500 pastels, they are all still very soft and the set is like new but i emailed the company with a view to dating these and to finding out if any dangerous chemicals could of been used for the manufacture of them. I was mainly concerned with such chemicals as Lead and Chromium but they did not respond to my mail. One site dated them from the last century but they could not offer any information relating to their chemical composition.

I also have an older set of Winsor and Newton dating perhaps from the 50's, these are somewhat dry like the ones which you own but i dont have any intentions of using these since i have other sets on hand.

One possible way to rehydrate them could be place them in a bowl on some wet kitchen towel and to microwave them lightly, it works wonders with bread...lol. Either way it is still nice to own some of these pastel from a bygone era!

Phil Coleman
11-21-2009, 07:17 AM
Do Not Microwave Them !!!!

Just Tried It And One Disintegrated Into Dust, Possibly Due To The Metallic Content Within Them !!!

Phil Bates
11-21-2009, 10:31 AM
Midge (I hope I got that right), you say they are very hard, but have you tried them on sanded paper? I doubt they are as hard as the grit used in UArt and Wallis ---although I could be wrong. I find hard pastels very useful in the early stages of painting on sanded paper.

Just a thought.


Deborah Secor
11-21-2009, 12:11 PM
Wow--another resurrected thread from 2005....

Phil, I suggest you discuss the Girault pastels with the woman who imports them from France here in the US, Michele Aplin (http://www.pasteletc.com/emailus.html). Explain that you love and use them, but wish to know whether it's necessary to protect yourself in any different way.

As for your W&Ns, try using a damp tea towel placed directly on top of the dry pastels overnight. Water won't hurt them in any way. If they are particularly crusty, you can also roll them over fine sandpaper, and then try rehydrating them with the towel. And at the last, if they are too hard and unusable, I'd pound them to dust in a mortar and add a few drops of distilled water, then wearing gloves (or inside a plastic bag), roll them into sticks and let them dry.


Phil Bates
11-21-2009, 02:54 PM
Wow, I feel silly. I guess there is a TINY chance Midge is still out there wondering what to do with her old pastels. :) Midge, are you out there?... Midge?....

Thanks for the tip Deborah. Do you know something I don't know about the ingredients of Girault pastels?


Earth to Midge...

Deborah Secor
11-21-2009, 04:19 PM
I see Midge is still active, just not in the forum much...

Girault pastels? I know nothing. Nothing. Except I like them a lot. I just noticed there are two Phils here and my Girault comments were to the other Phil. Coleman... :D


Phil Bates
11-21-2009, 06:17 PM
Wow, I'm really clueless today. Now I'm really embarrassed. Nobody read this thread... ;)


11-23-2009, 07:51 PM
tee hee this is kind of funny:) in a good way Phil:D