is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Can You Use Oil Pastels on Canvas?

can you use oil pastels on canvas

Many artists are fond of using oil pastels due to their versatile function that pairs perfectly with almost any type of available surfaces. However, some people question their adaptability to certain surfaces, especially a canvas.

This article is responsible for answering whether you can apply oil pastels on a canvas, along with other helpful information to fulfill your oil painting session.

Can You Use Oil Pastels on a Canvas?

Thanks to their amazing diversity, there is a wide range of available surfaces to use oil pastels on. You can apply them on a lot of surfaces as long as they provide enough tooth for the oil pastel formula to grip on.

Most people would go for a textured paper to apply this type of pastel on, but it is still possible to use these sticks for canvas, wood, metal, boards, or even sandpaper. Their functional dual purpose enables fine drawing and painting at the same time.

What Type of Canvas is Best For Oil Pastels?

There is a wide range of canvas available on the market, so how do you know which type is the best for oil pastels?

A canvas board that has been fully primed is undeniably perfect to use oil pastels on thanks to its solidity and sturdiness. It allows you to grind the pens in hard but does not deform the surface like other soft materials.

My advice is to try an archival canvas board as well. You can find some of it mounted on a museum board, while others might be located on a hardboard or masonite.

How to Prepare a Canvas for Oil Painting?

When you have successfully chosen a suitable type of canvas for oil painting, getting to know how to prepare it in advance is important. The most popular method is to prime your canvas in advance for better oil color application.

Apply a gesso layer on a wide brush or roller to spread on your work surface in even strokes. You should work from the top to the canvas bottom and one edge to another. Do not forget to paint its edges with a new layer of gesso.

Once you let this newly applied gesso coat dry for the next few hours, the final result of using oil colors on the canvas will definitely blow your mind.
If you fail to prime the canvas well while using oil pastels, it is highly likely that their colors will sink into this surface and leave dull patches on your artwork.

How to Blend Oil Pastels on Canvas?

how to blend oil pastels on canvas

In order to effectively take advantage of this art medium on the mentioned surface, you will need to understand how to blend oil pastels on canvas. There are diverse ways to do this but here is the most common method.

Choose an oil pastel color and apply it straight onto the canvas. Use another shade to add next to the first one. You might want to pick a brush to blend or rub their adjoining edges into each other until they look smooth enough.

Apart from that, I would often use the original oil sticks as colorful crayons or mix them with turpentine to make paint with stunning artistic effects.

Do Oil Pastels Dry on Canvas?

Because of its special formula containing both wax and oil that never seem to dry up, it is understandable to think that oil pastels cannot settle completely on a canvas surface.

The truth is you can use all available colors in your palette between the range of 4 to 8 hours. The paint will become touch dry on your canvas in the next 18 to 24 hours.

Do not forget that the oil paint’s thickness and surrounding room temperature where you work can affect its drying time as well.

Since oil pastels are highly smudgeable from the applied surface and can attract external dust, it is recommended for you to frame the final piece of art behind glass to protect the paint.


In case anyone asks you about using oil pastels on canvas, I believe that you can answer them with confidence as the two of them work really well together.

Oil pastel colors will look amazing on this surface if you manage to follow my instructions in this article to choose the most suitable canvas type, prepare it beforehand then blend pastels on it.

I hope you have found all the relevant information you need to know about using oil pastels on canvas here. Have fun creating beautiful art pieces with this medium, and thank you for reading.

5/5 - (13 votes)

Leave a Comment