I have some woodless colored pencils (Art Stix) and they have a waxy coating around them. This makes them hard to start using and to use them on their side like you would pastels.

For my woodless pencils, I can use a utility knife and shave it off. But the colored pencil sticks are too thin and lead to breaking, especially since some of them have started to bend.

How can I remove this protective coating without breaking or wasting my woodless colored pencils?

  • I know art stix! Strange they are called woodless pencils since they are much more like pastels... not pencil like at all!
    – rebusB
    Sep 29, 2017 at 15:02

2 Answers 2


I wish I could test this personally but I do not have those pencils. Have you tried plastic or steel wire brushes?

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Image from Amazon

The steel(metal in general) ones might remove too much material. This could largely depend on technique. So the plastic one might be effective but so much as to remove too much material. You can keep the pencil on the "table" and run the brush up and down the length. Then rotate to get to the other side.

I would have suggested sandpaper or fine steel wool (#0000) but that requires more handling that risks breaking.

The way you could make that work though is to take a piece of wood and cut it so that there is a channel that would perfectly fit the contour of the pencil. Also have to be short enough so that you can hold the pencil at each end.

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If you were to glue some fine sandpaper to this block you can then work the pencil inside it.


Sandpaper is the best way to go. The Art Stix are square, just lightly drag the side you want to use along a flat piece of sandpaper, medium fine grit (~200?) The sandpaper will clog up immediately if too fine.

You can actually find little sandpaper blocks at art stores, they are called "Sandpaper Pencil Pointers" and should do the trick. They are a few sheets of sandpaper stapled to a spatula like thing so you can keep it in your art box. A couple of quick strokes should take the coating off.

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