How to Store Pastel Drawings

by Wendi OBrien


Today I am going to show you how to store your pastel drawings using a glassine pouch. So let’s get started!

The supplies you will need are:

Glassine Paper



Box Cutter or craft knife



Cutting Matte

Plastic 90 degree triangle (optional)

Check out the video for a visual instruction for making these pouches.

NOTE:  While this tutorial is specifically geared toward pastels, I actually put all of my artwork in these pouches except acrylic and oil paintings.  Those I store in felt bags after dry, varnished and cured.


In this tutorial I am going to show you how to make two versions of the glassine pouch.  I prefer the first one I am going to show you and will get into that in a moment, but the second one works fine and as with most things art it comes down to personal preference.

Step 1 – Measure

The first thing you want to do is measure your artwork.  If you are going to trim your artwork, be sure to do so beforehand.  Once you get the measurements if it is not mounted, I like to add ¼ inch to the side measurement.  This will allow room for your artwork to slide in and out without getting caught on the sides but still snug enough to not move around too much.

I also add 3 inches to the top to give me enough extra for a flap to hold your artwork nicely within the pouch.

Step 2 – Cut

Next, I cut the glassine to the appropriate size using my ruler and box cutter/craft knife.

If you are doing multiple art pieces at a time, I recommend finishing each step for all the drawings before moving on to the next one.

Step 3 – Folding

Now, I lay out my glassine and then lay my artwork ontop, being careful not to touch the art or cause any smudging. 

I carefully fold the glassine over leaving a slight overhang on the front.  This overhang will allow for easy insertion and removal without the worry of touching the artwork.

I then carefully remove the artwork and make a nice crease in the glassine at the fold.

Step 4 – Trim Corners

I then Use my triangle and cut the corner off of the flap on both the left and right sides.  This gives a nice finished appearance and will keep the corners from getting caught or bending upwards. I then fold the flap over and crease it.

Once creased, I place a piece of tape horizontally on the pouch just under the flap but jutting out from underneath.  The reason for this is to secure the top flap with another piece of tape and to lift-up the flap easily with the tab I make for the flap. This will make more sense once you see it in action.

Step 5 – Taping

Next, I use tape to secure the sides.  I am using painter’s tape, but you could also use washi tape for a more decorative appearance. 

When applying the tape, it is important to not put it past the top edge.  I use scissors to cut my tape to ensure a nice straight edge.

I place on one side then flip the pouch over and fold in half to secure to the other side.  You should try to get as close to half way on the tape as possible especially if it is going to be given to a client. This gives you the same amount of tape on each side and a professional appearance.

Step 6 – Repeat

I repeat the same thing on the opposite side of the pouch.

Step 7 – Make a Tab

Once the two sides are secure, keeping the artwork facing me and the flap to the back, I carefully slide my artwork in the pouch, fold over the flap and make a tab. 

To make a tab cut a piece of tape long enough to fold over one end and still have some adhesive sticking out.  Place the adhesive on the flap and stick it to the tape placed on the pouch in an earlier step.

This will make it easy to lift-up the flap without it sticking to the glassine and possibly ripping a hole in the pouch or smudging the artwork trying to remove it.

Completion of Pouch Style 1

This pouch creates a completely secure way to store your art that won’t smudge or take up additional room.  I then place mine in an archival storage box laying on top of one another without the worry of them getting damaged in any way.

As I side note, I like to make these bags to present my pieces to my clients.  It prevents smudging and gives them a safe way to store the work until they get it framed.

I also use them to take my pieces to the store to purchase my matte and frame for pieces that I will be framing.

Pouch Style 2

Now this is my preferred method for the pouches.  An alternative is to leave off the flap and have the top open as demonstrated in the video. 

My personal preference is with the flap so the artwork is completely secure without the worry of it sliding out of the pouch.  It really is personal preference as to which you choose. 

If you do choose this method instead of adding 3 inches to the top add ½ inch instead.  This will give you enough room to slide your art in and have a little bit left at the top.

Bonus Tips

While you can make these using various pieces of glassine as I did on the open top pouch, I recommend using only one piece and folding it.  If you have tape on the bottom of the pouch there is a slight chance that the edge of your art may get stuck where the tape comes together.

I wonder how I come to this conclusion….hmmmm? So if at all possible keep the tape on the sides only.

If you have your piece mounted, be sure to add enough to your initial measurements to account for the thickness of the mount.

Final Thoughts

Using these pouches is a great way to store all of your artwork completed on paper substrates when you don’t frame them or you need to transport them where ever they need to go.  This includes pastels, charcoal, graphite and more.

If you would like more demonstrations like this, let me know in the comments below what you would like see.

Until next time…keep on arting!

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