Understanding Solvents

There are many kinds of solvents available to you and it is in their nature to be volatile. Follow some simple procedures whenever you are dealing with them.

  • Work only with adequate ventilation. Don’t breathe the vapors. The label may say odorless, but the smell and vapors are still there.
  • Keep solvents from coming in contact with your skin. If you must work hands on find yourself a pair of solvent-resistant gloves.
  • Always keep solvent containers closed when you aren’t using them.
  • Store solvents in a cool place–preferably in a metal cabinet.
  • Store solvent-soaked cloths or paper in a metal container until you can dispose of them.
  • Use only the smallest amount of solvent necessary at one time. Pour a little into a very small bottle cap and replenish as needed.
  • Solvents are flammable or combustible, and what that means is that they contain vapors that readily ignite. Don’t smoke or use matches anywhere near them and don’t use solvents near heat.
  • It’s also a good idea not to eat or drink while working with solvents for obvious reasons.

By Janie Gildow, author of Colored Pencil Explorations

New to solvents and colored pencil? Start here, with this “Getting Started” article by Gary Greene.

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