View Full Version : Reassembling a crumbled pastel stick

04-01-2008, 05:38 PM
When I opened one of my drawers in my wooden pastel box this morning, there sat one of my new Sennelier demi-pas sticks in pieces and dust. I know that many artists make their own pastels. . . but is there any way for me to reconstitute and reform my one crumbled stick so I can use it? :(

I haven't even had a chance to use the new set yet. . . darn! Any helps or hints are appreciated. . . . :)

04-01-2008, 05:54 PM
very simple--you can take a damp paper towel and wrap the pieces in it til its a bit softer, then put in a bowl and smash this with the back of a spoon (i use pestel and mortar) and add more water if needed, making a play dough paste. roll into your shape (i like triangle shapes) and let dry on a dry paper towel. of course, do not use this bowl for anything else again.

you can save your dust off your easel and make pastels or add 2 chunks together, blend well and continue, making your own custom sticks. i do this all the time. there is enough binder left in the dust and in the sticks to wet and re-roll with no problems.

04-01-2008, 06:32 PM
:D Sennelier- get used to it.... :D

but seriously- it is indeed enough to make grown men and women weep.... I have not only crushed a great deal of pastels in drawers that I found out too late were slightly too small... but have dropped a small fortune on the cement floor...but the worst to date was a brand new just opened box of unisons... sitting on my desk... my cat leaped on top and knocked the entire box off - of course it was open- and I found pastel dust and crumbs for weeks afterwards...

well good luck in reassembly...

04-02-2008, 02:39 AM
Ar-r-r-rgh! :eek: I hate when that happens! I have had pastel disasters before, but usually with used sticks. I did a little searching on the internet and found a similar suggestion to chewie's idea. . . and now am drying my first self-hand-crafted pastel stick.

I bought the half sticks because they are more substantial, and I hate the way Sennelier crumble. . . . but that is what you chance when you get such intense pigments!

04-02-2008, 03:42 AM

Also, sometimes pastel sticks are just plain crumbly. Since I mixed up some of my own gum tragacanth solution, and I had some way crumbled Diane Townsend pastels that I had already tried to reconstitute with plain distilled water already and they were still too crumbly, so I gave it another go, and I added a few drops of a weakened solution to try to get it to hold together better, and that seems to have done the trick. Karl Kelly mentioned he uses methyl cellulose to make Mount Vision pastels, so you could try that if you wanted to instead of the gum t. Hope this helps, too.

04-03-2008, 11:32 AM
I am still trying to wrap my mind around the image of an entire box of Unisons biting the dust... er, as it were. Oh, Linda, how sad. If it were me, I'd be down there with tweezers, sorting out the bits into separate ice tray compartments. I don't think I am kidding.

CMV, eh? I have some for another purpose, didn't realize it might work for assembling dust.

My biggest problem with Sennelier has not been crumbling (though I've experienced that too). I got several that were too hard to use, including a couple that wouldn't even dissolve and one that would only break into chunks when I pounded it.

I love the rest of my Sennies, the texture is perfect for the way I work I think for a while they had some real quality control problems. This was a couple of years ago; I read that they've since worked on correcting the problems, but have not bought any since then so don't know if they are different from what I have.

Dayle Ann

04-04-2008, 07:26 AM

If some of your pastels are too hard, I read something when about making pastels that the binder solution may not have been diluted enough, or adding a bit of Champagne Chalk might help it be a bit softer. The first time I dabbled with making pastels a few years ago, some of them were really way too rock hard and scratchy when dried, so last year, after I'd read more from other people, when I mixed up my pigments and added in a bit of Champagne chalk to all (it is supposed to not alter the color of the pigment), and that helped to make the pastels very usable when they dried. I got that at Sinopia and it really works great. Probably if you're trying to do a single pastel stick which probably is about 1 tablespoon of material, you could add like 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of C. chalk to see if that would help its consistency after it dries. Hope this helps and at least gives you some ideas.