How to sharpen a colored pencil? Learn About All the Tools & Methods

It is important to Sharpen a colored pencil for all the artists because the breakage of the colored pencil lead is very common. We understand that it’s very frustrating for the artists, that’s why we thought to share different ways to sharpen the colored pencil. People need to know about the different ways to sharpen colored pencils without breaking the point.


When we talk about the lead in the colored pencils, it’s a colored pigment in wax or oil base. The wax-based colored pencils are too soft and are easily breakable. If you sharpen your colored pencil correctly, then it works very perfectly and lasts for a long time. Artists sharpen their colored pencils by using different ways which include hand pencil sharpeners, electric pencil sharpeners, cosmetic sharpeners, and sandpaper blocks. Many artists still use the knife to sharpen their colored pencils.

Any sharpening tools as mentioned above can suit you depending upon your purpose and colored pencils’ quality. Let’s discuss the different sharpening tools, so it will help you better in understanding your required tool.

Different Tools To Sharpen the Colored Pencil

Handheld sharpener

The handheld sharpener is one of the best sharpening tools which provide you the maximum control during sharpening. But still, if you experience a lead breakage, there can be multiple reasons for this. You need to check if the sharpener blade is still sharp or dull.

You can also check your sharpener’s condition by checking the length of your pencil shaving. If your sharpener is still producing a single long shave, it is in good condition. But sometimes the pencil’s shaving comes in pieces; in that case, your sharpener blade needs to be sharp. You can also replace your sharpener blade with the fresh blade to get the perfect results. Sometimes the blades are not replaceable; in that case, you can tighten the screw to see the change.

If all the above techniques are not working well, you need to buy a new pencil sharpener to sharpen your colored pencil perfectly. Make sure to not apply more pressure during sharpening. Use the gentle touch to minimize the blade resistance for the pencil. You can also hold the pencil vertically to get the perfect results.

Electric sharpener

There is always a debate that which sharpener is best for the colored pencils; handheld, or electric. In the electric sharpeners, you need to put the pencil in the hole and hope for the best results. Sometimes the electric sharpeners apply too much force on the colored pencils, which can be responsible for the lead breakage. Sometimes it is also reported that the electric sharpener is ruined during sharpening.

All the above problems can be arises when you don’t know accurately about the electric sharpeners. Today there are many electric sharpeners available that come with the speed control system. You can control the speed to minimize the resistance.

Moreover, if you are using the electric pencil sharpeners, make sure to sharpen the graphite pencil regularly. Regular sharpening is very helpful in keeping clean the electric sharpener’s blades. The grease from the graphite pencils is very helpful in maintaining the perfect results of the electric sharpener. It is also recommended to open up the electric sharpener regularly for cleaning purposes.

Cosmetic sharpener

You can also use a cosmetic sharpener to sharpen your colored pencil. Usually, these can be used for things like eyeliner pencils. These are the soft colored pencils and can be sharpened with the cosmetic sharpeners.

Sandpaper Blocks

Some people also use the sandpaper block to sharpen their colored pencils. The sandpaper block consists of different sandpaper layers on the wood. You can hold your pencil at some angle and run in a back-and-forth direction over the surface of the sandpaper. Moreover, you need to evenly rotate the pencil to sharpen it from all the sides.

When the top layer becomes useless, you can remove it and get the new sheet for perfect results. These blocks are also very lightweight and portable, which can be used anywhere.


In the old days, people usually use the knife to sharpen their colored pencils. The knife can be the most dangerous option to sharpen the colored pencils due to a fully exposed knife blade. But still, many people prefer the knife over the pencil sharpeners. You can hold the knife in one hand and pencils on the other hand to sharpen it.

To sharpen the pencil with a knife, you can put the blade over a pencil at some angle and press the knife with the thumb. Shave the pencil bit by bit to get the perfect results. Moreover, rotate the pencil evenly to shave it properly.

Hand-crank sharpener 

The hand-crank sharpener is another tool to sharpen the pencils, and it’s usually mounted on the school and college wall. This sharpener has the maximum resistance as compared to all the above sharpening tools. So it’s recommended to not use the hand-crank sharpener to sharpen your colored pencil.

Tips to prevent the lead breakage in colored pencils

We have listed all the perfect tools to sharpen colored pencils in different ways. But still, you may see that your colored pencils’ lead may break. So it would be best if you always had special care while sharpening the colored pencils. Let’s see some general tips which can help you further to prevent the lead breakage.

  • Make sure to sharpen your colored pencil whenever you buy it. Try to keep it sharp all the time; this way, you always need a little force to get the colored pencil’s sharpness.
  • You can also use the sharpener with a large opening to minimize the risk. These type sharpeners expose less lead as compared to narrow opening sharpeners.
  • The last thing is about the cleaning of the sharpener. Whichever sharpener you are using, make sure to clean the sharpener regularly to get the perfect results.


From all the above discussion, we can conclude that there are different ways to sharpen a colored pencil. You can choose any way to sharpen your colored pencils. It mostly depends on your purpose and the colored pencil’s quality. Moreover, make sure to not use the hand-crank colored pencil, it can have more resistance as compared to all other ways and can be the reason of lead breakage. Don’t forget to follow the above-mentioned guidelines to prevent the lead breakage of color pencils.

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