Recycling Pastel Chips, Rolling Your Own

Every summer, when the weather is warm and dry, I gather my leftover pastel chips and re-roll some new ones. This is a great way to recycle those small bits that are hard to handle and are great colors, but you just don't want to part with. I also collect the pastel dust that gathers in a tray beneath my easel too. There is a way to save this awesome pigment from the trash! So what I do is gather them into groups of the same colors and values. I don't get too picky here, because no chip goes to waste if it doesn't fit any one category of color. Here is my tray of chips that I've spent through over the year.

What you'll need:
Paper towels
non-cerated knives (just a couple of them)
spray bottle with distilled water
latex or rubber gloves
ziploc baggies
spoon or mortar and pestal to grind down the chips

I've divided them into color groups onto another tray.

Next, I place one of the color groups into a ziplock baggie to keep everything together as well as clean on my hands. I begin to crush the chips with a mortor and pestal or you can use the back side of a large spoon. You will want to get all the chips smashed into a dusty pile within the baggie.

I then have a spay bottle of distilled water that I spray into the baggie of dust, being careful to not let the dust raise from the baggie. I begin to smush and kneed it into a paste, trying to crush the remaining tiny chips.

I've pulled some of the pigment paste from the baggie. If too much water was added, you can use a paper towel to absorb the watery paste. The pigment sticks together quite well, so don't worry.

I begin to roll it and fold it with my gloved hands. This is the fun part because it's like rolling playdough! Roll it until all the pigment has no hard chips and all the color has mixed evenly. Be careful not to touch your face or anything; use your paper towels to pick up things with your gloved hands. Almost done....

Here is what I came up with. As you can guess, I have taken some of my recycled piles of color and added some additional Wallis Pastel pigment to the mix to give me a greater range of colors. The yellow one was not originally a recycled color...it was made from the pure Wallis Pigment...hence the intensity of color.

Now you can roll and recycle your chips!


Blogger Donna T said...

Thanks Brenda! Mind if a post a link to this on WetCanvas?

8/17/09, 5:11 AM  
Blogger Brenda Boylan said...

Sure Donna...my pleasure! Hoping others can see some benefit in it too! Smiles,

8/21/09, 11:33 PM  
Blogger ArtiNALife said...

hi...i didn't know you can make the pastel like a dough..well it better than throwing away.

btw, your drawings are beautiful..good job!

8/24/09, 7:18 AM  
Blogger loriann signori said...

Great post Brenda! Thanks for taking the time to write it!

8/24/09, 10:45 AM  
Blogger Anita Stoll said...

Hi Brenda,
I will pass on this information to my students when my classes start up again this fall. It's not really for them that I appreciate it, it's for me. I love your work. I am also a memberof the Northwest Pastel Society. I'm new to blogging and I will be a follower of yours.

9/13/09, 7:58 PM  
Blogger Brenda Boylan said...

Thanks Anita,
Welcome to the blogosphere! Glad you stopped by and be sure to visit the other artists that I have listed in my Favorite Links section to the right. Hope to someday meet you at one of the NPS paint-outs or painting exchange!

9/14/09, 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Sara Mathewson said...


Is it possible to still purchase the wallis pigments?
Thanks for this post and the post in wet canvas which is where I came from:)


9/26/09, 10:08 AM  
Blogger Brenda Boylan said...

Hi Sara!
Yes you can still get the Wallis pigments but my only knowledge of where to get them is directly through Kitty Wallis. I'll email you her personal contact info. If there is anyone else out there who is interested in getting some Wallis pigment, just let me know. Thanks for your post Sara. :)

9/26/09, 12:21 PM  
Blogger joyce kahn said...

Can you send me her contact info for ordering pigments. Thanks!

9/28/15, 8:49 PM  
Blogger Brenda Boylan said...

Hi Joyce, can you message me your contact info? Thanks

9/30/15, 1:24 PM  

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