View Full Version : Zest-it Obvservations

06-18-2006, 07:07 PM
Got my Zest-it citrus solvent from UK yesterday. Today had a chance to play and am loving the stuff.


A few observations for anyone interested.

1. As expected, it really makes the OPs easy to spread-- but does not appear to change or weaken the color.

2. It dries quickly (just a few minutes)

3. The thinned OP seems harder/dryer than regular OP.

4. Because of (3) it's much easier to layer more OP and also CP on top of the thinned layer without disturbing what's already down.

5. It makes color mixing even easier.

6. Very easy to apply or manipulate the thinned OP with a cotton bud, brush, etc.

I bought the product they call Pencil-blend (all formulas are the same- just marketed differently). Shipping to US cost more than the the Zest-it did but still wasn't bad.

One puzzle-- it is listed as totally safe and non-toxic on the site and on the label. But the label also says may cause lung damage if swallowed!?! Still, the fumes are evidently harmless and that was my main concern. Smells quite pleasant.

I have started a still life using this stuff and will post when finished (this week I hope).

Just thought some of you might be curious.


Pat Isaac
06-18-2006, 07:53 PM
I am curious, Brad. Do you have a website address for the zest-it?


06-18-2006, 09:08 PM
Just thought some of you might be curious.
thanks for the follow-up, DrBrad, i'm very curious about this, especially since i was under the false impression that anything that said "citrus" was safe (like Grumtine). the Zest-it site expressly says no citrus oil hydrocarbons are used in the product.

i'm sure i'm not alone in lookig forward to your further impressions.

06-18-2006, 09:22 PM
Pat, Here you go:


Laika, Yes-- and this one really is supposed to be safe from other things I've read too. Just don't drink it I guess ;-)

06-18-2006, 09:32 PM
Very interesting, Brad. Did you order it from the jandtblackman site? and how much was the shipping, if you don't mind me asking. It sounds ideal for blending, and I like the idea that its quick drying. Can you clean your brush with soap and water? Thanks for testing out this product and letting us all know about it. Jane

06-18-2006, 09:53 PM
Brad, this looks very interesting. I've been looking for something non-flammible I could takeon plane trips.
I went to the Zest-it site and followed the link to the store site. You're right, it looks like it will cost more for shipping than the small bottle! But from what you're describing, this is the product I've been looking for.

06-19-2006, 11:40 AM
Brad, thanks so much for sharing this. I love the idea that the surface is harder so you can layer more one. I'm going to get some next month (boring budget concerns!!)

BTW, I just watched your pet grief dvd and this will be just what my friend needs. I'm giving it to her today. The beautiful music, artwork, therapist's words and interviews are very touching, gentle and healing. Thanks so much for recommending this. I'll let you know what my friend thinks. Can I post a photo and review on my blog?

06-19-2006, 12:10 PM
Lindsay, when you're ready to order, let me know. We can go in on it together and save some shipping costs.

06-19-2006, 12:16 PM
Hi Brad,
Would you say that Zest-it outperforms regular turps., in terms of the effects that can be achieved with OP? Or is it's main advantage that it is (relatively)non-toxic. Appreciate you testing it out and sharing your experiences!

06-19-2006, 06:00 PM
Jane, Yes-- I guess they run the Zest-it site too. The shipping wasn't bad-- but it's odd when it's 2x the cost of the product. (I think the Zest-it was about $6.00 and the shipping $12 or something close). It came within 2-3 days-- really quickly. It's definitely worth it! It is a brush cleaner too-- and further cleans up fine with soap/water.

Leo-- I don't use regular turps but I understand it behaves very similarly. Can't help with a direct comparison though.

Lindsay-- Thanks re: the Pet Loss DVD. Please feel free to blog and use an some images ;-) A link to the site would of course be most appreciated! The therapist is a wonderful person and it was fun to work with her.

Pat Isaac
06-19-2006, 06:16 PM
Thanks, Brad for the link. Sounds like an interesting product.


06-19-2006, 09:40 PM
Brad, Thanks for the info. I going to order some - it sounds ideal! Jane

06-19-2006, 10:48 PM
Interesting- thanks, Brad!

06-19-2006, 11:30 PM
One other thing I've discovered-- it's best to transfer it to another container ;-) The squeeze bottle it comes in is VERY liberal in its dispensing! I've probably spilled more than I've used at this point-- hard to get just a couple of drops out. Minor quibble but hate to waste it!

The Art Corner
06-24-2006, 07:00 PM
Thanks a lot Brad!!!

06-27-2006, 04:46 AM
Hi DrBrad,

I'm a new member, just getting the hang of WC!...recently began working in oil pastel again. First I've heard of Zest-it, sounds interesting! Have you tried the Weber product that has citrus base and is supposed to be non-toxic? I found it to be slower drying than odorless turp (which I've been using). Wondering what type of ground you use? Paper? thanks!

07-29-2011, 07:50 AM
What support did you use for working the oil pastels with zest it can you use watercolour paper or would I need to use canvas or colourfix paper? thanks Lesley

07-30-2011, 01:52 PM
If you are using Zest it or turps or mineral spirit on paper supports, it would be wise to gesso the surface first, or at least put a wash of acrylic paint as an underlayer before using the oil pastels with thinning agents, as you may find it could have an adverse effect on the paper eventually.

07-30-2011, 06:57 PM
Thanks for the information I was wondering if it would affect the paper would gesso be better to use than just putting down a layer of acrylic ? I have used zest it before for oil paints will have to invest in some more thanks Lesley

08-01-2011, 08:59 PM
Lesley, if you are using pastel paper, it would be difficult to gesso it without it buckling I would think, I don't gesso pastel paper, but if using water colour paper or canvas I would gesso or apply a first layer of acrylics paint to the support.
Are you using the Zest it for an initial wash of colour or just to help with the blending of the pastels? I would not advise using it for initial washes of colour on just pastel paper as it can leach through, I think it would be fine with supports such as colorfix though.