View Full Version : What is the best way to store pastels?

10-19-2008, 12:49 AM
Recently I checked my pastel paintings and noticed that some of the pastels are rubbing of the paper and into the glassine... It's expensive to frame every piece. Is there a good way to store them? I have had them leaning against the wall still attached to the foam board. Would it be better to take the pieces off the foam board and laying flat agains the ground to reduce the weight? Is there a cost effective ay to store them? are there any good store to get big frames cheap?

10-19-2008, 09:11 AM
I'm sure you'll get lots of different opinions about this topic. Here's my 2 cents. First of all, when you are finished with your piece, take it outside and give it a good whack on the back to get off the loose dust. Then cover it with glassine, but tape about an inch or two to the back all the way around. The important thing is not to make sure that it doesn't move against the glassine. Even if it does at this point, the amount that rubs off should be minimal.

As far as frames are concerned, look for half price sales at Michaels or its equivalent where you live. Dick Blick and other online stores have liquidation or clearance sales. Yard sales, Goodwill, etc. will often have prints in frames that are cheap. Just take out the print and reuse the frame. Sometimes you need to touch up the frame. Whatever way you look at it, unless you sell your work, framing (glass, mat, frame, etc.) is not cheap. Hope this helps. A little anyway.


10-19-2008, 10:09 AM
Personally, I do just what you do - attach to foam board and lean them up one against the other. Some pastel will transfer onto the glassine or, in my case, tracing paper that protects the work. With soft pastels, this seems inevitable and I don't give it a second thought. As long as it is just a minimal amount, and as mentioned - if there is sideways movement of the glassine - then I wouldn't worry about it. Do, however, frame the best ones!


10-20-2008, 04:43 AM
I work small, most of my works are collectible trading card sized ACEOs, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2". But I know that the trading card company where I buy my soft sleeves and top loaders has Ultra Pro top loaders in larger sizes, at least up to letter size.

I have been storing 4" x 6" and 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" pastels in UltraPro archival top loaders. These are rigid clear archival PVC supports that protect them against just about anything, as good as framing. I don't think they make them any larger than letter size, but these get used for collectible postcards and presumably also documents that need preserving.

They are an inexpensive alternative to framing for small pieces.

For anything larger, I bought a presentation book and have been keeping my unsold and unframed pastels in that, especially sketches. I do tap the back to knock off loose dust first, but they haven't suffered for being inside the archival sheet protectors in the presentation book.

Then again, what I have in it is mostly sketches that don't have lots of layers on them like my recent work, so I don't know if some of why this works for me is heavy blending on sketches and relatively little dust even where I use loose strokes.

Winny Kerr
10-20-2008, 07:17 PM
Does tracing paper do as good a job for protection of the pastel as glassine? I was just about to ask this question myself and now the topic is here. I also whack my pastels and even give it a good blow to get most of the loose dust off. But cannot frame everything.
I found cheaper, but quite nice, frames in Wallmart but biggest they have is usually 11 x 14. Go to Ross, sometimes they have framed pictures or prints and their prices of frames can be really good. Not all have glass in them, some have plastic which I don't like and odd frame sizes like squares are plenty. Winny

10-21-2008, 01:23 PM
I find that tracing paper causes more of the pastel to come off than does the glassine, but it's a fine way to store things temporarily, especially when transporting pieces from a class, etc. Oh, and please don't blow on your pastel work. All those little dusties go flying and you'll be breathing them in.:(


Mario V
10-21-2008, 05:06 PM
you can see here (http://pastelpointersblog.artistsnetwork.com/Protecting+Unframed+Pastels.aspx)what Richard McKinley does...

Winny Kerr
10-21-2008, 10:05 PM
Thank you Helen, I actually blow the dust of my pastels outside and make sure the wind catches the dust after I whacked the painting against a post. But I see what you mean and will be a bit more carefull in future.
And thank you for the McKinley article Mario, that is also helpful.

10-22-2008, 12:16 AM
Thanks for the McKinley article, Mario. It's given me a good idea for the future.

He uses a wooden transport/storage box for his pastels on their Gatorfoam supports. I've seen inexpensive corrugated cardboard plein air canvas boxes at Blick that would weigh a lot less and serve the same function -- they have slots and are sized for a particular canvas size.

Using one that's one size larger than my paintings would let me use foam board supports and glassine overlays the way McKinley does.

Here's the link at Blick http://www.dickblick.com/zz032/88/ for Handy Porter Boxes. The price is for a pack of three, and they hold four panels. That'd be about right for pastels on foam board supports.

10-22-2008, 11:53 AM
I use old video store posters, cut to the size of my pastels then stack em flat in old map drawers, the paper on these posters is slick and picks up little pastel and it's recycling the posters that they throw out

Deborah Secor
10-22-2008, 07:16 PM
I use ClearBags. Works great. I can bag a painting, stack it up in my cabinet, show it to customers or students, ship it cross country in a padded envelope, even stick it under a mat to show what it will look like that way! I buy ones slightly larger than my regular paper sizes and fold and tape them back so the painting doesn't slip around inside. The cost is minimal, though you have to buy lots of 100. It's still pennies a bag. (You could probably sell them to someone else here at WC if you didn't want that many.) They're low static and if handled carefully they do less damage to the painting than glassine ever did, mostly because you don't ever have to open the bag to show the painting! They also take TONS less room than stacking up foam core. I get the ones with the adhesive on the bag, not the flap, so I don't ever run the risk of dragging it across a painting. :D



10-22-2008, 07:45 PM
Oh wow, Deborah. These are cheap too! I like them. Getting them bigger than needed and just folding over makes sense.

A friend sent me some Krystal Seal bags and I bought a pack of ten Lineco archival photo bags, so I have a few to last till I get these. But I think if I got 100 I would just relax about not ever running out.

11-03-2009, 07:29 PM
This is an old thread, however: I have found that 'freezer paper' is a good way to separate and store pastels paintings. When I'm traveling, I tape a painting down to the board, then I tape-down a sheet I cut from a roll of freezer paper, glossy side towards the pastel, to the board, over the edges of the pastel painting. I find that I can tape and stack several paintings by repeating this on the same board.

I find that only a very tiny bit of pastel will come-off onto the freezer paper, and it's an unnoticeable effect on the painting thus far. I also find that the freezer paper does not smear the pastel paintings. I will try the glassine, to see if it does any better, but the freezer paper has worked great for me.