How to soften coloured pencils

By chance I found a way to soften the hardened lead of my coloured pencils. Here is how …

What you need:

  • a tin to store your pencils in (preferably not so tall as the one I use)
  • scissors (in case you have to cut the sponge down)
  • 100% cellulose sponge; it is plant based, reusable and machine washable up to 60 ° Celsius ; the sponge is slightly moist/damp; (I layered 3 sponges, so the pencils have a ~3 cm/1 inch cushion)

When you take the sponge out of the package, you will notice it being a bit damp/moist. This is probably what  softens the pencil lead.

If the tips of the coloured pencils are sharpened to the utmost, the  top of the tips might brittle a bit off (not much just a bit) , but they apply so much smoother and more vibrant on the paper. I noticed this especially with my metallic Polychromos. I could practically carve into the paper with Gold, Copper and Silver but I could hardly see any colour on the paper. Now they run smoothly over the paper and the colour is clearly visible without applying a ton of pressure.