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How To Keep Your Colored Pencils Sharp

Colored pencils will lose their edge as you transfer the wax-based pigment from the pencil to the paper. They differ from ‘leaded’ pencils in that the ‘lead’ is much softer than a gray traditional pencil and as a result requires a little more care to sharpen properly.


Let’s look at the different techniques of sharpening your Color Swell colored pencils.

Traditional Pencil Sharpener

Sound obvious? When you look at the detail it isn’t so simple!

It is fine to use a cheaper pencil sharpener, but the blade should be sharp. You can tell if it is in good condition when you sharpen the pencil - if it leaves a long, continuous shaving then the blade is sharp enough. If it comes off short and in small pieces then the blade has lost its edge.

The best way to sharpen the colored pencil, however, is to hold the pencil in place and rotate the sharpener in a gentle, smooth manner - not turning the pencil inside the sharpener. If you are gentle and smooth, then you are less likely to break the tip, ultimately making the pencil last a lot longer!

Sandpaper Block

The specialist sandpaper sharpening blocks have layers of sandpaper that you can remove and throw away as each layer is worn out.

These are gentler still than the traditional pencil sharpener as you only remove the amount of wood and pigment you need, and can even shape the tip to the way you want.

A Craft Knife!

Perhaps not for smaller children...  A craft knife can give you the tip that you want with a couple of sweeps with the blade. But poor handling can result in far too much of the pencil being cut down each time, ultimately getting through the colored pencils too quickly.

Electric Sharpeners?

Many art rooms in schools have electric pencil sharpeners. These aren’t wonderful as they aren’t as gentle as the sandpaper or manual pencil sharpeners above.

Electric sharpeners can munch through the pencil at a super-quick pace. Users have reported that colored wax from the pencils can end up gumming up the electric pencil sharpener and shortening its life. It is important to use a leaded pencil every so often to clean out the mechanism.

Buy Your Color Swell Bulk Colored Pencils!

You got it! The call to action? Have a look at the bulk colored pencils that Color Swell has on offer and buy some today!