How to weather stuff with pastel powder. PICS!

  • Thread starter STEVE THE SWEDE
  • Start date


I get a lot of questions on how to use pastel powder for weathering props, in this case it started out in helmet painting thread on this board. So here's a small tutorial on how to use the stuff! Thanks goes out to "Ttef abob" for hosting the pics!:)

Pastel weathering is perfect for almost every project where you normaly would use an airbrush, however, it looks much more like real dirt and IMO you have much more control. Pastel comes in chalks in all colors and you should be able to get them in any art or hobby store. The correct name is "Dry pastel" and you want them as soft as possible, but you DO NOT want oil pastels, that's something completely different.

So how do you apply it? Well you have to grind the chalk into fine powder, I just rub them against the sharp edge of an exacto knife but you could probably use a sandpaper too.

Here's what the chalks looks like.


Now here's where the fun starts! First of all make sure the surface you are going to weather is painted with a flat paint, it won't stick to a gloss surface. Take a soft brush and pic up some powder and gently brush it over the paint job. You'll be able to use it just like an air brush, press hard and it will get darker, or reversed if you just want a shaded effect. You can also apply it with a rag, q-tip, sponge well probably anything that comes to your mind, just experiment and I'm sure you'll come up with a lot of different effects!:)

Here's a picture of different weathering effects.


1. Basic air brush effect. Applied with an soft brush.
2. Yellow and red/brown dabed on with a Q-tip.
3. Heavy weathering. Dabed on with a cloth.
4. Blaster burn or something like that:lol: All techniques used.

The best thing about it is that it's "alive" untill you seal it so you can always smooth it out, make it darker or whipe it off with water (probably won't get 100% clean again on a light surface though) When your happy with your weathering you have to seal it so it won't smudge when you tuch it. You can use any clear coat you want, flat, gloss or satin. After the clear coat has dried its 100% permanent.

So why use pastel instead of an air brush? It's easier to use, you won't get that cheap airbrushed effect that always screams "airbrush"! Applied right this stuff really looks like real dirt! Perfect for shading the base color on a Fett helmet!:)

Here' a link to a tutorial for my ROTJ helmet. All the shading of the red visor, dome and cheeks was done with this technique. Please not that my words have been edited (by my recuest by the owner of the site). You can clearly see the weathering effect on the dome in picture 10 (it was applied with a soft brush).

I know I'm not a master when it comes to writing tutorials in English but hopfully you got some parts of it!:lol: If you have any questions please post here and I'll try to answere them as good as I can.

Don't worry! I'm sure you'll be able to find it, I live in a VERY small Swedish town (pop: 60000) and they are for sale everywhere!

Let me know if you can't find any and I'll mail you some chalks.:)

Very nice Steve! I've had a box of earth tone chalks and shades of grey sitting in my minatures box, waiting to be used.

It sounds like this would be perfect to finish up my Marmit Sandtrooper. I wonder how it's finish would take the chalks?

hmmmm, one way to find out I suppose!!


Thanks again for that bit of inspiration!
Very cool Steve. I'd been using charcoal pencils in much the same way, except I only had black ;) The stuff works great folks, lots of control and it wipes right off, no sweat at all if you screw up.

The charcoal, as I imagine the chalk does, works great for weathering anything. Gloves? no problem! Boots? same deal. If you need to weather anything that's cloth these will work great because you can just rub it in and, don't quote me here ;), it likely washes out too!

I wonder how it would look on trooper armor? It's gloss finished so I don't know. But I might just find out ;)

Thanks Steve!
No problem guys, glad you find it usefull!
Yes, I guess charcoal would produce the same effect.

Sadly I have only had god results with the colored ones on light surfaces. it's seems they are to transparent to be used on darker objects.

I don't think it sticks to a Marmit trooper, but you could spray it with a thinn coat of flat clear and then weather it. Use a satin coat to seal it after and you'll get the same finish as it was before.

Thanks for the info, I been using pastel powder to weather some models, most recently Slave I. Never thought of using it for the helmet or armor so I will try it when I am ready to paint my armor. Thanks.
Hey! It will work great on a Marmit! All you have to do is to spray it with flat clear first. It won't apply to the gloss plastic if you don't prime it first.

Model builders have used this technique for ages, that's were I got it from!:) I was very happy when I found out that it worked just as good, if not even better on props.


The web site is not mine, it's owned by Jez from U.K. All I have done is to contrebute with some of my helmets.

Thanks for the info! That will come in handy. I got some chalk sticks a while back, but was unsure how to aplly it and get it to stick. Thanks alot dude!
You apply it dry, doesn't work at all with water.
The dust bites better on a flat coat, but when you lock it, use what ever you like best, everything works!:)

I have to also agree that chalks work great for weathering! I do the same by "sanding" the chalk onto sandpaper then brushing the powder on the project starting hard then softening the pressure as I pull up. I have done that to my armor and a bit on my helmet.
Here are some pics:



Ditto on the flat paint, the chalk sticks to flat paint/clearcoats because flat paints have a rough surface (as opposed to gloss which has a smooth surface) and it 'embeds' itself inside the tiny 'grooves' or 'teeth'.
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