pencil drawing of eyes of a girl and two kneaded eraser on the picture

How to use Kneaded Eraser?

A kneaded eraser is an eraser that can be kneaded, compressed, or molded into any shape to erase marks. It allows for more precision than your typical rubber-like eraser.

It acts as an eraser and is a drawing tool to create highlights and different textures.

Another name for kneaded eraser is the putty eraser. They come in different colors like pink, green, blue, etc., and their properties are like chewing gum.

It smoothly picks up the pigments from the paper and leaves no marks or paper crumbs. All these properties make it an ideal fixative for your art.

You can use kneaded erasers to erase pencils, pastels, charcoal, etc.

Putty erasers can be molded into any shape and can erase small areas. It is excellent for use in realistic drawing.

If your kneaded eraser becomes dirty or loses its stickiness, you can re-knead it to restore the rubbery texture.

It is one must art material that you should have in your art box.

How to use kneaded eraser

pencil drawing of an eye depicting how to use kneaded eraser

The best way to use a Kneaded eraser is not to rub it like an ordinary eraser. You should press it very lightly on the paper and then lift it, and it will pick up the marks on your paper without messing with any other part of it.

Since they are made from unique materials, there is no fear of getting dirty or blackened.

It will be able to pick up graphite marks without leaving behind any smudge or paper particles.

After use, gently knead the eraser by folding it into itself and re-shape it because it will harden if left in a single shape for days.

Unwrap the Kneaded Eraser

Kneaded eraser typically comes with a thin plastic wrapper, and you first need to unwrap it from its package. Sometimes some plastic wrap will stick to the eraser, and if it sticks to the eraser, you do not need to remove it carefully.

Pull them on both sides to stretch

It will be rectangular, and you must pull them on both sides to stretch it. Then mold it back into one-pieces and compress them. The eraser has to stick property in it, so it will easily stick when compressed.

Again pull it on both sides and repeat this exercise till the eraser becomes relatively soft.

A kneaded eraser is ready

It should be a rigid solid initially, but after a few seconds of kneading it using your hands, you will feel it has become flexible and rubbery. After this point, it is ready for use.

Different Techniques using a Kneaded Eraser

It is not the tool but the technique adopted by the artist which makes a significant difference in the final artwork.

Highlight Areas using Kneaded Eraser

pencil drawing of hair, finger erasing using kneaded eraser

You can create beautiful highlights, i.e., white highlights on dark backgrounds. An example is when drawing hair using a pencil, there will be a light reflection on the hair, and the hair appears to be white, and they will appear to be thin white or grey lines along with black lines.

If you use a white pencil, it usually blends with black and will not give you the desired result of hair.

Instead, if you knead the eraser pointedly and erase it in the direction of the hair, it will look realistic. Try for yourself.

Can be used for Creating Different Texture

You can use a kneaded eraser to create different textures in a drawing.

In a drawing, you can create a variety of textures, like rough textures, scratchy surfaces, smooth surfaces, skin textures, hairy textures, etc.

For example, it is suitable for creating a mountain landscape with forests and bushes on the ground, and it would be much better when compared to using a tortillon stick.

Two things can create different textures.

Mold the Putty eraser Pointy, Flat, and Thin – You must mold the eraser differently for your desired result. You must mold your eraser thin if you want sharp textures like hair or edges. If you do skin textures to show pores, you need to mold your eraser pointy. Make it flat to create a bushy texture, and tap it on your drawing for bushy results.

Application of Pressure: You must apply pressure depending on the value you want to create for the texture. If you want a dark texture, apply light pressure, and if you want a light texture, apply heavy pressure.

Remove unwanted Marks from Paper

When drawing using graphite or charcoal, you can find many marks on the paper at the completion time. Knowingly or unknowingly, you would have touched and left marks on the paper.

Using a regular eraser may remove the graphite and the paper’s surface and may still leave marks on the paper.

Using a Putty eraser removes the graphite or the charcoal mark without removing any paper particles.

pencil drawing of an eye and some kneaded eraser on it

How do you clean a Kneaded Eraser?

There is nothing like cleaning a kneaded eraser, and we shall understand how to use it when it becomes dirty.

The eraser’s surface will become black with graphite or charcoal when continuously using the eraser. Please keep repeating this process repeatedly so the eraser will become soft. It would help if you stretched it and molded it to reveal another area of the eraser.

The surface becomes clean, and you can use it for erasing now again.

You can keep the eraser in a small closed box or container so it does not get dust on its surface.

The eraser is sticky and quickly absorbs dust, and it won’t be easy to use.

Do kneaded erasers dry out?

A kneaded eraser combines clay and synthetic rubber, forming a highly soft product that picks up graphite or charcoal from your paper. When it’s dirty, you re-work the eraser by kneading it, and it will start erasing effectively.

If you keep it outside and unused for a long time, it can get dried and dust and become brittle and unusable.

I suggest you keep it in a sealed container to avoid dust. You can always knead it, and it will erase perfectly fine.

What are the Advantages of using a Kneaded Eraser?

Kneaded erasers are not alone erasers. They are also Art tools.

They are perfect for precision and realistic drawing. You can use it for creating highlights in charcoal or pencil drawings.

Using the putty eraser does not create any dust or residue, and the eraser absorbs the particles from graphite or paper.

It can be used for several months and years and is long-lasting.

What are the Disadvantages of using a Kneaded Eraser?

The one disadvantage I feel about these erasers is that they are not suitable for erasing more extensive areas. Also, it isn’t easy to remove in areas where the marks are darker and hard, and you require a regular eraser for those kinds of marks.

Other Questions

What is the Price of a Kneaded Eraser?

A kneaded eraser varies from place to place, but the average price range is between $3 to $7.

It also depends on the shape and size as well as the brand.

In general, it is comparatively cheaper than any regular eraser.

The kneaded eraser is a long-term investment in your art box.

Where can you buy a Kneaded Eraser?

You can buy a kneaded eraser from a local art store or an art gallery, where you get a variety of brands and shapes.

But if you are looking for a brand-name product online, would be the best place to find different varieties of kneaded erasers at affordable prices.

Do kneaded erasers last forever?

Theoretically, a kneaded eraser can last forever if it is well maintained, like kept in a closed box after use. As you keep using the eraser on pencil marks and charcoal marks, they absorb all the particles from the paper.

After several days they become brittle and lose their stickiness, which is when you need to change them. These erasers are affordable and readily available everywhere, so one should not overthink changing them.


Kneaded erasers are an excellent investment for any artist and can be used in realistic drawing.

You can use these versatile tools to erase mistakes and make highlights on pencil drawing artwork. 

So if you’re an artist who needs precision when removing marks from their sketchbooks, try using this tool instead of the typical rubber one finds at most stores today. 

You’ll find that it works better and is fun too! 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is my new Kneaded Eraser Hard?

    When you first get a kneaded eraser, it is generally hard. You need to knead it for some time so that the consistency becomes soft and easy to use. You can knead it with your fingers for 2-3 minutes.

  2. What do I do if my kneaded eraser is sticky?

    If your kneaded eraser is sticky, you can knead it more, so the stickiness goes away. You can also knead it with baby powder to make it less sticky. Be careful not to use too much powder, as it can make the kneaded eraser too dry.

  3. Do Kneaded Erasers ever dry out?

    If kneaded erasers are not used for a long time, they can get dried and dust and become brittle and unusable. I suggest you keep it in a sealed container to avoid dust. You can always knead it, and it will erase perfectly fine.

  4. How do I make my kneaded eraser stretchy again?

    If your kneaded eraser is not stretchy, you can knead it more so that the consistency becomes soft and elastic. You can also knead it with a few drops of water to make it more pliable. Be careful not to use too much water, as it can make the kneaded eraser too wet.

  5. When should I throw away my kneaded eraser?

    It would help if you threw away your kneaded eraser when it is no longer sticky and the consistency is dry and crumbly. It will not erase well if it is too dry. Also, if it is too old, it might not erase. If unsure, test it on paper before using it on your artwork.

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