Drawing & Pastels
How Can I Clean my Oil Pastels?

How Can I Clean my Oil Pastels?

Artists can afford to be creative when it comes to maintaining their colours. Thank you Amylee for this new tip from your studio!

How can I can Clean my Oil Pastels?

I love drawing with oil pastels! I like their creamy texture, their vibrant colours and how they’re instantly ready to use. But true to the name, because they are made of pigments, a synthetic binder and mineral wax, the oil pastel is OILY! This pastel (sometimes called a crayon) has a tendency to get dirty very quickly.
So, how can you clean your sticks and revive their beautiful original colours?
Here is my tip, I want to share it with you!
oil pastel

The Oil Pastel

Different from its cousin the soft pastel, the oil pastel has an annoying “habit” of picking up all the impurities it encounters: dust, pigments, hair, etc.
The most annoying thing about all this is that a dirty pastel will automatically apply a dirty colour.
Not really helpful when you’re looking for pure and vibrant colours for your creations!
GOOD TO KNOW: My favourite oil pastels: Sennelier, Jaxon

How do the pastels get dirty?

  • When you forget to clean the tips of the sticks after using them.
  • If they are stored loose in a box, they get dirty as they move against each other.
  • This can happen easily if they have lost their protective paper.
  • If the artist has used several pastels, coloured deposit will be added to each pastel from their fingers
  • When the pastels are placed on uneven surfaces or fall on the floor too often.

The covering paper around the pastel has 2 functions:

  1. To avoid pastels becoming dirty as they are used.
  2. Prevent the heat from your fingers from causing the pastel to slide, which is very uncomfortable when drawing!

What do you need?

  • Dirty oil pastel sticks
  • a clean dry cotton cloth
  • one small jar containing a little olive oil
  • some paper towel

Most of these products are currently available at GreatArt Online or in the art supply shop in London Shoreditch.
oil pastel

Cleaning the Pastels

  • With one hand, take your dirty pastel, and with the other, dip your clean cloth into the olive oil.
  • Then rub your pastel with the oil soaked cloth.
  • In a few seconds already, you can see that the impurities of the stick are deposited on the cloth.
  • Use a paper towel to dry the pastel thoroughly.
  • That’s it, your pastel is clean again!

 oil pastel
Do not hesitate to use a cutter or a painting knife to scrape away the last of the stubborn remaining residues.
oil pastel
oil pastel
Wow ! Everything is clean !
oil pastel
Amylee’s Tip:
It’s best to avoid leaving your pastels naked. I tend to use crepe paper tape or masking tape (there are several widths) to re-wrap the pastel.
oil pastel

Hooray! It’s Clean!

From now on, there’s no more reason to work with dirty oil pastels!
It is far more pleasant to create with beautiful, clean colours. And for better protection, we can even add a spray of oil pastel fixative once your work is finished!
oil pastel
Information for this article was provided by professional fine artist, Amylee Paris. You can visit her colourful portfolio or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
GREAT TO KNOW – Find all Amylee’s posts published in GreatArt online Magazine by clicking here!

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