View Full Version : Pastel dust question?

05-28-2008, 12:11 AM
Hello my name is Bonnie.
I am very new to pastels, and am excited about them already! ooohhhh the lovely colors. I do mostly graphite and colored pencil. But i've always wanted to try pastels. And all the wonderful work i've seen here shows the possibilities of pastel. I can't wait to try my own piece!
Although i do have one question, i know pastels are a dusty medium. But can they be done in a bedroom with minimal dust?
I have a friend who isn't able to use anyother part of her house to do pastels,as there are children around a lot. And she would like to learn along with me,and her bedroom is the only quiet private place to do them in.
unless she is at my place, which she can't always be.
ok.. any help or ideas would be appreciated
thank you :wave:

05-28-2008, 02:28 AM
Hello Bonnie,

Several things come to mind about keeping the dust down.

Try not to leave the pastels uncovered while not being used. Close the boxes or make a cover to place over your pastels.

One should never blow the pastel off of the surface. If you need to remove a passage or get rid of the build up of dust take the piece outside and bang on the back of the board/paper.

If you/she can work on a porch or outdoors sometimes this would be great.

If you are working upright, place a dust tray underneath your board, this can be as simple as a long narrow piece of paper wider than your easel and folded upwards to capture the dust that falls.

You can also place a large towel on the floor surrounding your work area to help keep the dust from the rest of the carpet/floor. This then can be carefully folded up taken outside and shaken.

Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth as often as possible, preferably after a session. Damp is important so that the pigment will attach to the cloth and not get blown back into the air.

I work almost everyday in my studio, and keep a lid on my large rolling palette of pastels when finished painting, or doing anything like framing or sketching etc. Even laying still the dust can fly when a light breeze hits the pastels. I have an, www.artistsair.com, an air purifier and vaccumm that works splendidly to keep the dust down. Expensive, but well worth the price when one is worried about health issues and keeping the area clean.

Hope some of these ideas help.

Happy Painting!

05-28-2008, 04:06 AM
Hi Bonnie,

You may also want to try the new Pan Pastels. They are totally different in regards to how you use them and less dust.

I personally use all of them including Pan Pastels. My worry is my cats so as for dust getting everywhere, I would say have a vacuum cleaner on hand to suck it up, I wear an apron because if dust gets on it then that is okay and it can be washed.

I also put on 'Invisible Gloves' on my hands before I start working with pastels. It keep the pigment out of my pours.

Also what Kim has said is true for the sticks and pencils and with the dust shake it off outside.


05-28-2008, 12:34 PM
Ditto - the dust tray - I make this by cutting a 4-5 inch wide by 20 inch long piece of mat board. I then partially score it length-wise with a blade and it bends there.

To minimize dust I know some folks put a piece of wet paper towel in this as well so that the dust sticks to it immediately.


05-28-2008, 04:36 PM
I use an old Reynolds Wrap box for my dust tray. And I keep my vacuum cleaner (with brush attachment) right next to my easel to vacuum the tray and surrounding areas.


Deborah Secor
05-28-2008, 05:31 PM
I guess I'm messier than these guys, so I suggest that a bedroom will need more dust control than a tray. I'd suggest using a cheap plastic tablecloth, the kind with the felt-like backing that you get at the dollar stores, turned so the nap is upward and set on the floor beneath the easel. Then anything that escapes the tray will fall on the surface and can be picked up and shaken off outside. The plastic backing keeps pastel from migrating through to the carpeting when you step into the dust--which can happen--and you can use it to wipe off your feet or take off your shoes and toss them inside to take outside and dust off. These tablecloths are inexpensive, so once they're too dirty you can just throw them away. I cut them in half if only the larger ones are available. It works pretty well if you keep up with it.


05-29-2008, 03:50 AM
Pastel pencils are a lot less dusty and I use them for majority of my work. I don't have a studio but I have 3 children that I work around all the time. I work in a couple of places in my home but mainly at my computer desk here in my lounge room. I always put my work up out of kid reach when I am not working on it but I keep it visible so I am always assessing what I will do next and this way I stay interested in it too.
If I do use sticks which I find very dusty I work directly on the wall above the mantle piece which acts as my dust catcher. I can also leave my work there and know that it is out of kid reach and everything is ready to go when I can find some spare time to work on it. :)

05-29-2008, 11:42 PM
:clap: Thank you eveyone..
For all the great advice regarding my question
I think i will try everything!
and see what works best,,
I'm i just want to say it's nice to have a place like this to come to for help.
And inspiration. Everyone is so kind..
can't wait to post my first painting! with pastels..