Recipe: Natural Earth Pastels

Recipe: Natural Earth Pastels

Making your own pastels allows you to create them as soft or as hard as you like. 

Commercial pastels have to be made hard enough to withstand breakage during shipment. As long as you're not shipping these, you can make soft pastels that are more yielding and do not dig into the under-layers of the paper as much as harder pastels do. The paint quality will be richer, and the colors more intense.


Prep Time: 5 – 45 minutes, depending on which binder you use.


1. Scoop earth pigment onto a palette. 

2. Add a small amount of water and mix with a palette knife to create a thick, paste-like consistency. Start with a 1:5 proportion (water to pigment) and adjust as needed. Add binder. For honey, add 1:5, honey to pigment mix.

  1. Roll it into stick form in your hand or on paper, and let it dry on paper.

Notes: If the dry pastel doesn’t hold together or is too crumbly you should add a tiny bit more binder such as wheat paste, limestone powder (add 1 tsp. limestone to 1 Tbsp. pigment), grated and dissolved soap, or a honey/water solution (1:5). Experiment because each pigment has different properties and absorbs liquids and binders differently.

More of a visual learner? Check out our video tutorial here!

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