View Full Version : Solving a dusty problem with recycle

11-15-2010, 12:16 AM
Does anyone else do this? Or has anyone done this?

While setting up another board to work on new piece of art, I discovered a pile of dust in the trough on the bottom ledge of my easel. Yuk... what a mess.
I didn't just want to sweep it away or blow it off since that would make an already big mess even bigger.
So... I dug out an old shop rag longer than the trough and probably a foot wide and laid it out under the easel. I then took an old bristle brush and brushed the pastel dust onto a piece of paper I held in my other hand. After I thought about it awhile I transferred that "dust" into a small plastic cup 2" in dia. x 1" deep with a lid. The "dust" is a combination of all the colors I used and so it is a dark gray mix. I figure maybe I can recycle this dust in the future on another piece of work by dipping a fingertip into it and rubbing it onto the work where I think it could be useful. I just put a small piece of tape on the lid and marked what was in the cup for future use.
Oh... and the shop rag? I smoothed it out and laid it in the trough then set the next board on it. The soft texture will catch any future dust and eliminate that nasty brush-off. Also since I sit on a chair in front of the easel most of the time... I can lay the overhang across my lap and keeo a large portion of the dust off my pants and shoes. I also use the shop rag as a "wipe" to get the "dirty" colors off of the brights and lights so they are cleaner when applied. If it gets to dirty I can always rinse it out and run it through the washer and dryer, ready to use again.
This may be helpful to someone... it works for me.


11-15-2010, 11:06 PM
Personally, my dust goes in the garbage, but that's me! Many people do save their dust along with some of the small bits and pieces that break off or are too small to be useful and make them into new sticks. That's another possibility!


11-16-2010, 09:52 AM
I thought it would be a good idea to save the dust, so I have a small container with what looks like grey now, but I haven't done anything with it, and I haven't added to it. No time to fuss, so I probably won't continue. My intent was to add a bit of rubbing alchohol (a few drops at most), and re-roll into a new grey pastel. I still could do it with what I have, but no time to make a project out of it.

I put a long piece of tin foil shaped like a gutter, to catch the dust, and just tip it into the garbage when it gets full. Seems to work pretty well. I also have my easel tipped forward, so the dust doesn't fall on my painting as I work. I'm constantly cleaning my studio so it stays presentable. I find if I stay on it, it doesn't get out of control.

The dusty side rules, so we gotta come up with inventive ideas........

11-16-2010, 10:49 AM
This is something that I do routinely. When made into new pastels, delightful shades of grey emerge and no two batches are the same.


11-16-2010, 12:14 PM
I keep a mortar and pestle nearby to also capture the larger broken chunks, too.

11-16-2010, 12:20 PM
I take a strip of folded and re-opened aluminium foil (aluminum for you Americans), or a strip of paper, also with a folded crease. Then it is easy to lift it and just let the dust slide into the bin, or the jar.

That dust makes wonderful neutrals, when wetted and rolled into sticks.

11-16-2010, 01:20 PM
Hmmm... All good.
I never thought about rerolling into a "new" stick. I don't think there is quite enough in the cup for that. Perhaps I will try the idea of the "creased" paper trough and collect enough to press one. After all... a stick in the hand is probably worth the dust in the cup.

11-16-2010, 05:02 PM
I keep jar as well, but haven't rolled any yet. Just a piece of folded freezer paper to catch mine and I empty it after each painting.

11-16-2010, 05:51 PM
I use wide painter's tape. Catches all the dust. Crumple it up and throw it out, when the painting is done.

11-16-2010, 06:47 PM
I keep the tin fold under the board I mount the paper to, and dump it after each painting. If you know someone who is taking medication on a routine basic, like I do, I just take my old pill bottles and dump the dust in that. Then I label each pill bottle to what it kind of is, like, light Red, Dark Green, Light Green, etc, so when I am finished with a painting, I know where to put the dust according to the major color it is looking like. I do the same for small chunks. Later, when I have time, I will crush it all, and make new sticks. When making new sticks, be sure to use an eye dropper to very gradually add water or alcohol to the mix. I use water and it works find. james