There are few things as satisfying as a beautifully sharpened colored pencil when you’re setting up to do some coloring or crafting. When your colored pencils start to get dull, you might reach for an electric sharpener in an effort to get your pencil sharpened quickly. But do colored pencils ruin electric sharpeners?
Not only can colored pencils ruin electric sharpeners, but electric sharpeners can also ruin your colored pencils. Since the majority of colored pencils contain either wax or oil, electric sharpeners can get clogged over time and these elements can even conduct heat internally.
Even though an electric sharpener is quick, saving a little bit of time isn’t worth possibly ruining both your pencils and your sharpener. Unless you can find an electric sharpener that is designed specifically for colored pencils, you might want to consider an alternative sharpening method.
Understanding Electric Sharpeners
Electric sharpeners are either powered by batteries or plug into the wall to make sharpening pencils a breeze. While they are bigger in size than your typical manual sharpener, they are much more compact and stylish than they used to be. Electric sharpeners can come with all sorts of features that can do anything from reduce noise to altering you when your pencil is finished.
One of the nice things about electric sharpeners is that all you need to do is slide your pencil into the sharpener’s hole. This triggers the sharpener to start rolling around the pencil without you having to rotate anything. Many electric sharpeners offer several holes to fit pencils of different widths inside.
Electric sharpeners can end up costing quite a bit of money, especially if you purchase one with all the bells and whistles. Depending on the type of colored pencils you use, you would have to be much more selective with the electric sharpener you purchase since only a few will be compatible.
We recommend using an electric sharpener that is specifically made to handle colored pencils. To check the current price and availability of the AFMAT Electric Colored Pencil Sharpener, click here to view the listing on Amazon.
Characteristics of Colored Pencils
Colored pencils are made with pigments, binders, and other materials. The binder is typically either wax or oil, and the purpose of these binders is to help transfer pigment when the pencil touches a surface.
Different types of colored pencils yield different results depending on what materials they are made with. They can be pretty expensive, especially if you want high quality pencils. As such, the last thing you want is for your colored pencils to break inside an electric sharpener.
Colored Pencils: Safe or Unsafe for Electric Sharpeners?
Despite how sophisticated some electric sharpeners are, not all of them are safe to be used with colored pencils. Electric sharpeners can be very rough on colored pencils and their more delicate structure. Since you’re not able to see inside an electric sharpener until you pull the pencil out, you can’t tell if your pencil is being damaged until it’s too late.
If an electric sharpener isn’t equipped to handle colored pencils, the wax and oils from the pencils can build up inside the electric sharpener over time. This is nearly impossible to clean out unless you take the sharpener apart. This clogging can continue to build up until the sharpener stops working or, in some cases, overheats.
With electric sharpeners that are compatible with colored pencils, they are still susceptible to wax or oil buildup occasionally. They will need to be cleaned out in order to keep them in good working order. Using these sharpeners at too high of a speed could also break your softer colored pencils.
Best Practices for Using Electric Sharpeners with Colored Pencils
There are electric sharpeners that can be used with colored pencils, even those made with wax or oil. When you get one of these sharpeners, be sure to read all of the different settings and how they work. Not all electric sharpeners are suited to every type of colored pencil, and settings have to be changed based on the type of pencil and the type of point you want.
Keeping your electric sharpener clean is also important, even though it’s not always as easy as it sounds. One trick you can use is to sharpen a graphite pencil using your sharpener every now and then as the graphite helps break down wax and oil build up. You will want to occasionally open your electric sharpener and clean it out with a Qtip.
Alternatives to Electric Sharpeners
Manual sharpeners require that you place the pencil inside the hole and twist it around until you get the desired sharpness. It can take a lot of effort especially if you need to sharpen multiple pencils. They also tend to be small, so you have to clean it several times to avoid buildup. Manual sharpeners have sharp blades, but they aren’t as sharp as those in electric sharpeners.
As you can expect, manual sharpeners are super easy to find and they are very inexpensive. Some of them will also come with compartments that catch your pencil shavings, just like electric sharpeners. Even if your manual sharpener breaks, it’s much easier to replace one than to replace an electric model, which can be costly.
Manual sharpeners can certainly handle colored pencils. For those who like particular types of pencil points based on the project they’re working on, a manual pencil sharpener may not cut it. You might have to purchase multiple in order to get your desired point. With electric sharpeners, they are usually made with several holes and/or settings to get your perfect point.
Colored pencils can ruin most electric sharpeners, as they are simply not equipped to handle the delicate waxes and oils used in them. However, there are now electric sharpeners made specifically for colored pencils that will not get ruined if you use them and clean them properly.
Electric sharpeners are constantly being created with incredible new features that make them more convenient to use, from quiet settings to different speeds and so much more. Getting to know your electric sharpener well will ensure that you don’t damage your sharpener or your coveted colored pencils.