This is our final post in on the theme of blending colored pencils. We’ve barely scratched the surface of this topic, but I hope the posts have been helpful. To close the series, I’d like to talk briefly—and perhaps a little light-heartedly—about some unusual blending methods for colored pencil.
Most of the items on this list can be found in your home without too much difficulty. In fact, you may see some of them every day of the week, but have just never considered them to be art supplies.
So what are they?
Here’s my list.
Unusual Blending Methods for Colored Pencil
Whenever I talk about unusual blending methods, I begin with my two favorite things: Paper towel and bath tissue.
They’re inexpensive, easy to store, and super easy to use. Just fold a piece of either one into a small square and rub a portion of drawing vigorously to smooth color
Granted, using paper towel or bath tissue is not a very bold blending method, but if all you need is a softening of color, this might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Want to learn more? Read 2 Ways to Use Bath Tissue with Colored Pencil
Other Unusual Blending Tools
I keep a bag handy to throw rags into. The rag-bag is a natural outgrowth of oil painting. There are brushes, painting knives, and palettes to clean, after all. Nothing works better for that than paper towel, but that can get expensive. Since I’ve always been on a budget, I started looking for alternatives. Enter, the rag-bag.
So just what goes into my rag-bag?
- Old socks
- cast-off clothing
- Worn dish towels
- Scraps of fabric
- Anything that looks at all useful
Now I can guess what you’re thinking. Just what in the world does this have to do with colored pencil? Just this….
All of these things can be used to dry-blend colored pencil, and it’s very easy to do. Fold a piece of cloth into a small square, then rub the part of your drawing you want to blend. Make sure to hold the drawing firmly and work small areas, or you can bend or tear the paper.
You can also fold the cloth around your finger or fingers if you need to blend a small area. If the socks are intact, you can even slip your hand inside them and use them that way.
You can use heavy pressure and a fairly vigorous motion if you like, but understand that you’re probably not going to get a “really deep” blend with this method. The coarser the cloth, the more blending capability, but even so, all you’ll be able to do is smooth the color.
One Last Option
If you just can’t find the right blending tool, try a scrap of drawing paper. Did you know that Stonehenge paper is a great way to blend colored pencil on Stonehenge paper? Don’t throw those scraps away!
The Best Part About These “Art Tools”
What’s the best part about all of these “art tools?”
They’re completely non-toxic (well, some of them will be non-toxic after they’re laundered!). No fumes, no hazards, no need to use them in well-ventilated areas.
Anyone can use them! No special skills required and no need to worry about allergens.
Clean up is also pretty straight-forward. Throw the fabrics into the washing machine with the next load, and the papers into the trash, and you’re good!
Most of them are inexpensive. You absolutely, positively will not need to add to your art budget to get them.
The plain and simple fact is that most of us throw most of these things away without giving them a second thought. So why not start your own “rag-bag” collection of art tools and give these things a try?
Who knows? These unusual blending methods for colored pencil might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Interested in learning more about blending colored pencils? Check out The Only Methods You’ll Even Need for Blending Colored Pencil.
I do use much of what you listed to blend colors on my drawings but the other day I finally went to store & bought some rubbing alcohol to try & I kind of liked the end result. I had drawn a caricature for our minister who’s leaving us to be back home near his aging mother. He just lost his father. So we understand his leaving. Anyway, I’m glad to see you listed many things I kind of figured out on my own through trial & error. Just goes to show I’m not a complete idiot! LOL
Be encouraged! I learned a good deal by trial & error, too. I often think that’s the best way to learn things!
As a young child, I remember using kleenex or toilet paper to rub on my colored pencil crayons and especially on the wax crayons. It was fabulous!! I showed my grandkids this trick, for lack of a better world, and they thought it was wonderful!! At the time, my granddaughter was in kindergarden and asked for a kleenex and left the teacher wondering what she was doing!!! LOL!! By grade 1 she was learning to mix the colors to get another color only because her and her brother were arguing about the same color they wanted!! She mixed her colors at school and left her teacher in awe! Then she learned shading which resulted in a letter from the teacher asking her mother to stop showing her things!!! Well it only made me more apt to show her other things! She is now 8 and my grandson will soon be 11 and both are very artistically inclined and love to draw. Thanks to all the websites available like yours, our children will be more artistically inclined than I was! Thank you for sharing and showing.
What a great testimony! Thank you for teaching your grandchildren about art and keep up the good work!
Q-Tips are my favorite for prisma pencils, chalk pastels, & watercolor pencils. I especially like to use them for small or detailed areas.
I use cotton swabs and cotton balls to blend with rubbing alcohol, but have never tried to blend with them dry. Is that how you’re using them?
I have been using cotton swabs, cotton balls, paper towels, and toilet paper (all dry) to blend my artwork for about a decade now and it’s always worked great! Thank you for sharing these tips.