Posted in studio tip

Using Leftover Pastel Dust!

Got Dust??! Pastel dust, that is. You know, the dust left on your easel dust catcher after you finish a pastel painting?

I know, I know. You are thinking, “Well, I just toss that into the trash when I’m done. Why wouldn’t I?”

Well, did you know that you can make your own unique pastel sticks with that dust? I just tried this for the first time myself.

Here’s how!

First, gather your supplies. You’re gonna need at least a few tablespoons of “dust” depending on how large you want your pastel sticks to be. (I had been saving mine in two small, plastic jars with screw-on lids: one for lighter colored dust, and one for darker colored dust.)

You will also need wax paper, a spoon, an eyedropper, some water in a cup, and some way to grind up any chunks or lumps in the pastel dust. (I used a tiny mortar and pestle I found at Marshall’s/Home Goods, but you could put your dust in a heavy-duty plastic baggie and use a rolling pin to crush any lumps.)

The rest of the process is really quite easy and fun! Simply crush your dust using your mortar/pestle or baggie/rolling pin…

Add enough water with a spoon or eyedropper to thoroughly combine the dust into a paste…

Spoon your paste out onto a piece of wax paper and shape it into a round or square-ended pastel…

And let dry on the wax paper for a day or so — however, long it takes depending on humidity levels, how much water you added, etc.

Here are some before and after pictures of varying colors of dust-turned-pastel!

Here are the four sticks I created (still wet)…

And here are the dried pastels and what they look like on white paper…

I really like the lovely muted grays you can mix up, and the berry-brick red and muted green will also be very useful in my landscape paintings!

So don’t waste that dust! Try making your own unique colors and let me know how it goes!

Happy experimenting 🙂