PanPastels are professional soft pastel colours packed in a practical and compact pan, allowing them to be mixed and applied like paint. Their design means they are easily portable, however, if dropped the pastel inside may break into separate pieces. Luckily, there is a straightforward way to fix them, returning the pastel into one solid material.
The following technique uses affordable equipment that you may already have to spare in your home, and the final result will make your broken PanPastels usable again.
You will need:
- An isopropyl alcohol solution (also known as isopropanol) with an alcohol content between 70-99.9%. A purer solution will give better results.
- A teaspoon
- A larger spoon
- A lid or another small item with a smooth flat surface
- A plastic bag such as a sandwich bag
Remove the broken pieces of PanPastel from the pan and place them into the plastic bag, making sure to tap out any loose dust. You can leave any unbroken pastel that is still stuck to the base of the pan, as it will get mixed in later.
Take your larger spoon and press the underside of it over the outside of the plastic bag to crush the broken pieces of pastel into a fine dust.
Give the bag a light shake and then carefully pour or scoop the dust back into the original pan.
Using your teaspoon, begin to add the rubbing alcohol to the PanPastel, one spoonful at a time. Mix gently in between each spoonful to get an idea of the consistency. The goal is to create a moist thick paste and the amount of alcohol you need depends on the amount of pastel you are working with. Add more alcohol as needed, but be careful to avoid turning the mixture into a runny liquid.
Once you have added enough rubbing alcohol that a thick paste is forming, mix it thoroughly together with the teaspoon until there is no powder left.
Spread the paste evenly around the pan, pushing it up to the edges. You could also use a palette knife to smooth this over, although we found the teaspoon worked well too. Leave this to stand for an hour.
After an hour has passed, place the plastic bag over the surface of the PanPastel. Don’t worry if it is still slightly damp at this stage. Tip: if any small cracks have appeared while drying, smooth these over lightly with your finger before applying the plastic.
Using a smooth flat object (we used the lid of a jar), press lightly over the top of the plastic.
Lift to check that the PanPastel now has a flat, smooth surface. Repeat the pressing a few times if needed.
After 24 hours your PanPastel will be ready to use again. It may not look quite ‘good as new’ compared to your unbroken pans. However, compared to fully replacing your PanPastel, this technique avoids wastage with minimal effect on the product’s usability.
Sometimes an isopropyl alcohol solution of around 70%, such as ‘rubbing alcohol’ or ‘surgical spirits’, can contain additives such as oils. Using these mixtures for this technique still works, but during our tests we noticed a slight change in how easily the pastel lifts from the pan when painting. If you wish to avoid this, try find a purer solution instead.