Do Colored Pencils Melt?

From children and teachers to sketch artists and painters, colored pencils are a crowd’s favorite because of their wide range of benefits. Colored pencils allow for versatility, precision, control of detail, and depth. Additionally, they are effortless to carry and you do not require messy or toxic solvents to use them. Nonetheless, a good set of colored pencils can be truly expensive — reaching well into hundreds of dollars. 

Fortunately, colored pencils are considerably more durable than other artistic mediums. Thanks to their outer shell and hard material, they can handle heat better than other materials and are not as affected by moisture. As a result, you do not need to worry about them melting like crayons or drying out like oil paints. 

But, although they are very resistant, there are many things you can do to preserve them so they can last longer. Below, we will go over a few tips, hacks, and everything else you need to know about colored pencils!

Keep them away from direct sunlight 

It comes as no surprise that even though colored pencils do not melt, you should always try to keep them away from direct sunlight. Pencils that are exposed to sunlight for a long time can fade (especially the exposed color.) Moreover, the tip of your colored pencil might dry, preventing it from ‘sliding’ the right way when used. 

Avoid extreme temperatures

Much like sunlight, heat or high temperatures might affect the consistency and color of your pencils. Besides, heat can also cause the pigment inside to make for a messy application. Thus, keeping them in dry, cool places (where there are no extreme humidity changes) will significantly prolong their life. 

Store your colored pencils properly

A key factor when trying to preserve your colored pencils is storage. Experienced artists suggest you store them vertically (with the tip up) and preferably inside a clear airtight case. By doing so, you prevent color pencils from breaking, while also making it easier to spot the ones you want to use. 

Another great tip is wrapping them up. If you happen to have many singles or have lots of colors in the same case, it is advisable to wrap them in saran wrap. If you wrap them, you are also saving money by not having to buy expensive hermetic cases. Furthermore, storing colored pencils wrapped in saran, allows you to keep them anywhere — even in a shoebox in the back of your closet, without having to worry about breakage. 

Try not to drop your colored pencils!

Not dropping your colored pencils may seem like a no-brainer, but in reality, it happens more often than we would like to admit. Repeatedly dropping your pencils can permanently break their lead. Thus, if you are clumsy by nature or like to be extra careful, try to always carry your pencils in a case. Why? It’s simple: most storing containers are designed to withstand falls and drops. 

However, in the unfortunate event that you drop or step on your colored pencils, you can follow these simple instructions for an easy fix:

1) Find a baking pan or tray and cover it with aluminum paper

2) Place the broken colored pencils on the baking pan

3) Insert them into an unheated oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-5 minutes.

5) Turn off the heat in the oven but leave the colored pencils in until it has cooled back down to room temperature

6) Take them out and test your colored pencils! 

If the pencils have not completely healed after the first bake, you can re-do the process two or three times. Keep in mind that sometimes, if the color is severely damaged, the process may not work.

Use a hand-held pencil sharpener

Using electrical sharpeners can also damage your colored pencils as they usually shave away more than what you need. Thus, using a hand-held pencil sharpener to sharpen your pencil will allow you to have more control over the process. As a result, you extend their lives by preserving them longer.

In summary, colored pencils are pretty resilient and arguably the longest-lasting of any popular art medium. Plus, with this set of recommendations, you now know how to take better care of your colored pencils to help ensure that they last as long as possible. Remember always to keep them away from sunlight, avoid high temperatures, store them in a cool place, and protect them by carrying them in an airtight container or case. 

That being said, if you are looking to melt your colored pencils for experimental purposes (or because you have an artsy idea in mind), you can try to melt them. To do so, place them on a tray or boiling pot at very high temperatures, as this will help to soften their insides. Nonetheless, thanks to their wooden exterior, it could take days before colored pencils melt entirely. And even then, you might still be able to spot bits and pieces. 

Best Colored Pencil Brands

These tricks and hacks will help you preserve your colored pencils longer, but it helps if the ones you buy are high quality. So, if you are an artist, a professional painter, or a sketch artist try investing in a good set of colored pencils. There are many great brands and sets readily available online or in art supply stores across the country.

Nonetheless, based on our research, below are the top brands (and sets) of colored pencils in the market:

      • Prismacolor Artist Set of Colored Pencils
      • Holbein Artist Colored Pencils
      • Creative Art Materials Colored Pencils
      • Faber Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils 
      • Caran D’ache Luminance Colored Pencils 
      • Derwent Artist Watercolor Colored Pencils
      • Stabilo CarbOthello Chalk-Pastel Colored Pencils

Disadvantages of Colored Pencils

As we mentioned before, colored pencils have numerous advantages. However, like many utensils in the art world, there can be some challenges when using them, especially when starting. Some of the most common hurdles are:

• Achieving the perfect blend

 If you have a specific intensity or shade in mind blending the colors to make it can prove to be hard. 

• Deep colors 

By nature, colored pencils are lighter than other mediums. Hence, if you are looking to obtain deep shades, you will need to be prepared to take the time to create layers.

• Correcting mistakes

Even if you are an artist with vast experience, you might make mistakes or change your mind about something you’ve drawn with colored pencils. But the truth is, you cannot “erase” colored pencils. Yes, there are some exceptional “erasable” pencils, but even some of these might not easily remove color. 

Another way to do so is by purchasing a colored pencil eraser. It will not work on all colored pencils, but it might lighten the color enough for you to recolor on top. 

• Colored pencils are not permanent

Technically colored pencils are not as permanent as markers or pens. Generally, they are very stable but are only as “permanent” as the surface you use them on. In other words, if you draw on acid-free paper, you can be sure that it will last longer than on regular cardboard.  

Furthermore, if you wish to protect your colored pencil art, you should keep them away from high temperatures or very humid places. Framing your art pieces can also help preserve them longer. 

• Colored pencils are not for toddlers

It may come as a surprise, but colored pencils are not meant for toddlers or young children. Not because they cannot use them, but because there are many other coloring utensils that they can use that will serve the same purpose without the risk of poking them in the eye. Crayons and non-toxic markers are a better choice and can help children develop coloring skills without having to worry about getting hurt or having to sharpen them. 

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Shawn C

Hi! I’m Shawn and I Love Coloring and Art and the people in it! I created this website as a resource to help those who are considering getting into adult coloring. My website is your one-stop destination for all the inspired instruction and resources you need to start and grow your adult coloring hobby. From geometric to floral to zen doodles and from time to time even mandala’s when I am in the mood. I have researched and gathered the information to help you in your goal of starting your adult coloring hobby.

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