Oil Pastels

If you were unsure of what oil pastels were when you saw them on the list of supplies needed for the class then you are not alone.  I have had many questions about what they are and which brand to buy.  Some of you may be wondering what the difference is between pastels, oil pastels and crayons.  Pastels are chalky, oil pastels are oily and crayons are waxy.   Oil Pastels are softer and creamier than crayons.  You can blend them with your finger or a wet paint brush.  They are also water-soluable and act as a resist when used with water color or watered down acrylic.  I think the biggest benefit to using oil pastels over crayons is that you can blend with them.  Kids love to spread the colors across the page with their fingers or experiment with color mixing.  I think they have richer and more beautiful colors than crayons.  We leave oil pastels on our kitchen table everyday in our little caddy pictured below.

I recommend purchasing a mid-range brand for children.  Cheap oil pastels do not spread or blend very well and are not much different than crayons.  

Here are some that I recommend:

Crayons are great, but oil pastels are so much more versatile and fun.


  1. This is not a comment about oil pastels but I saw your segment on Studio 5 and have been looking at your blog. I think I'm going to try to do some projects with your online class. I have a 22 mo old boy who is very bright and I think could handle it. Also... I had a random question I've been searching for the answer to, hoping you can help me. I am getting some DIY canvas art ready for my daughter's nursery (coming in June) and am trying to find a clear paint or something that can do over the project once it's done to go on clear but stick out so I can make swirls and lines or something over the art. Does that make sense? If you know of what I could use for that - please let me know. Thanks! -Diana

  2. Diana-
    Thanks for your question. I think I know what you are talking about for this fun canvas you want to make. I suggest going in-person to an art supply store and heading over to the acrylic mediums. Check out their gloss mediums and matte varnishes. You also may want to buy some clear tar gel. Since I don't know exactly what you are envisioning I suggest that you look at everything they have - because of the varieties of different consistencies and thicknesses. I think you will be able to find what you are looking for. I hope that helps.


  3. Hi Dani, just recently found your website and I love what you're doing. I'm doing an art class with my kids, starting today, and am very excited! This question from Diana begs a bigger question that's been looming in my head for awhile. What is the best way for a busy mom to dabble in art? I've always loved it, but never been trained. Would you consider offering an adult class here in Utah? Or do you recommend any in particular? Thanks. - Barb

  4. Do you use oil pastels on a specific type of paper, or is regular office paper just fine for children? Thanks!