If you or your students are serious about continuing to work with pastels, it makes sense to protect the pastel sticks with storage. We’ve had a few questions from artists so I am sharing more on soft chalk pastels: storage and cleaning.
Soft Chalk Pastels: Storage and Cleaning
This week I decided that the children needed a nicer storage box for their pastels. I have a three-drawer wooden box that will hold about 50-75 sticks of soft and hard pastels. I was not using this storage much and thought that I would “gift” them with a more professional look for their pastels in their classroom!
~Any affiliate links included are for resources we absolutely love and truly depend on. Please see our disclosure policy.
These three-drawer boxes are beautifully finished hardwood and have separate foam-lined drawers for storage, but can be considered an investment for the future of budding artists. I purchased mine from The Fine Art Store. The cost was about $40.00, not including tax and shipping. You can also find a Wood Pastel Storage Box on Amazon for approximately $25-$30.
Middle Girl is placing pastels in the new box. She is gently wiping the well-used sides on a paper towel to clean them up.
What about dirty chalk pastels? How to clean the chalk sticks? After so much use, there comes a time that an artist cannot see the color of her pastels because they are so dirty! Take uncooked white rice (start out with about ½ cup to 8-10 dirty pastel chalks) toss the rice into a baggie with the dirty pastels and GENTLY shake to clean them up. I understand that cornmeal CAN be used, but I had rather make cornbread with cornmeal than clean up pastels. Try it, it does work!
- A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons (100 free lessons now) are all contained in the post Pastels plus links to tutorials plus the video The Very Few Must Have Supplies for Chalk Pastel Art. A simple set is very affordable. Nana also teaches acrylic lessons.
- The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.
- Encouragement: You Can Be an Artist! 10 Day series and Art for All Ages 10 Day series
- Be sure to subscribe to our Hodgepodge YouTube channel for free video art tutorials!
Invite a Master Artist to Teach For You – Video Art Courses
You asked for it and we now have a growing series of Video Art Courses for All Ages. We start with A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels – available as a full year course or in semester options. Next, Spring Chalk Pastels and we hope to add a new course each month. Be sure to click over and add your email so you can be the first to find out when a new art course is available!
Barb-Harmony Art Mom says
Excellent information. Love your box…but I don’t have nearly as many pastels as you do…yet.
Sharing on Pinterest.
Hello from Nana! Yes, the box is wonderful and I am in hopes that all the wonderful pastels that we have collected for the past 2 years will be kept safe and sound!
Angie Wright says
Well, Now we’re all going to need a cool wooden drawer box! Hi Nana! I think I’ve seen items like this at the goodwill, and our town wide garage sale is this weekend. Thanks for giving me a fun summer item to look for while browsing!
Ambre Sautter says
This box is $25 on Amazon right now! I snatched one up!
I just bought this box. It is ok for small square type pastels, but the larger soft pastels get stuck. First I removed the black foam material. They still got stuck, so I felt it was not worth the cost because many of us get both types of pastels. Amazon refunded my money with no hassle.
I am interested in the rice method for cleaning the pastels? Can you expand? I am a volunteer for our elementary school and have a bunch to prep for use. Thanks!
Hello from Nana at Chalkpastel.com ! I usually manually clean my pastels by using a paper towel with a gentle touch. The rice method is fine, you have to use a small number of pastels, 5-6, and about a cup of dry rice in a gallon-sized baggie. Close the baggie with the chalks and rice. Because the pastels are fragile, I prefer gently turning the bag over a couple of times until you see a cleaner chalk. Don’t shake the bag, you could break the pastels!