A kneaded eraser may be inexpensive and simple, but it might turn out to be your most used piece of equipment. Whether you’re an artist, a painter, or a draftsperson, you might wonder how you ever lived without kneaded erasers.
These simple little erasers have loads of different purposes and aren’t just about erasing errors. They can be used for effects and more. In this guide, we review some of the best kneaded erasers and provide you with a full guide to this piece of equipment. You might wonder how you ever coped without kneaded.
In a hurry? You can head straight to our recommended model of kneaded erasers, the Faber-Castell Colored Kneaded Art Eraser.
What is a Kneaded Eraser?
You might have seen them in art supplies stores and not fully understood what a kneaded eraser is. Effectively, a kneaded eraser is a more pliable, malleable, and well…kneadable option. Instead of the rigid shape of a gummy rubber, it has a fully flexible feel which can be molded to any shape.
This is great fun, but it also means you can use the eraser to get to difficult areas. You could knead a shape specific to what you need to erase and simply press this onto the art you are working on. This means you can correct and lighten many different art formats including charcoal, pencil, and even different types of pastel and Conte crayons.
Kneaded erasers also leave virtually no residue. Another plus point when compared to gummy erasers.
What are kneaded erasers used for?
Kneaded erasers have a lot of different uses. They allow you can erase pencil and charcoal and make the final touch-ups on images. You can also use these to erase tiny details. For instance, you can mold the kneaded eraser to a fine point to just erase a tiny line or spec. This is useful for artistic techniques, but also just for getting rid of those errors. They can do anything a rubber or gummy eraser could do, and more. It makes sense to have some kneaded erasers in the art box.
Kneaded erasers have another use. They’ve become incredibly popular for cleaning slides. The fact that they are so effective but don’t leave residue means that if you need to clean up that slide show, kneaded erasers can be ideal.
Best Kneaded Erasers
Below you will find our kneaded eraser reviews. We’ve selected some of the best kneaded erasers to suit your budget and needs. There isn’t a huge level of variation between these products, most will do a decent job, but you don’t want to risk getting a dud product that is hard to shape and leaves a residue. On to our list of the best.
Faber-Castell Colored Kneaded Art Eraser
One of the best things about this affordable set of kneaded art erasers is the fact it comes in multiple colors. This makes it easy to separate different erasers for different uses.
Each eraser has its own case, which means that you can store it within after use, preventing debris and dust from gathering on the eraser. This can be an issue with some kneaded erasers meaning you have to replace them much earlier than you should.
They’re easy to mold into your preferred shape making it easy to get to those difficult areas or to create a shading effect. Just make sure you mold it back into a shape that can go back in the case after use.
You don’t get much more reliable than the brand Faber-Castell and these are still very affordable erasers that will last you for some time. The colors don’t necessarily have any purpose, but they are good for easily separating the uses of your erasers.
Prismacolor Eraser, Kneaded Rubber Eraser – Best Eraser for Charcoal
Prismacolor is another brand that has an excellent reputation among artists, and with good reason. The Prismacolor kneaded eraser is great for a variety of different purposes. The large design and the malleable nature of the eraser make it great for lots of uses included chalk and pencil alongside charcoal. It’s even great for colored pencils or pastels.
Though the design of these erasers is large, and suitable for bigger areas, you can of course create smaller surface areas by molding the eraser for any purposes you need.
The Prismacolor eraser is sold in a large set of 12 which makes it a great value set of kneaded erasers. Purchase 12 together and it should keep you going for some time. It’s also great if you are teaching art classes and want to give an eraser to all the pupils to teach the shading techniques you can use erasers for.
June Gold Kneaded Rubber Erasers – Budget Choice
If you are looking for a cheap kneaded eraser then the June Gold model could be ideal for you. Once again, they are sold as a pack. They work out incredibly good value-for-money if you buy six at a time.
These are 4 x 3 x 0.7cm when you buy them, but obviously you can then mold them to different shapes and sizes.
They’re great for smoothing, blending, and shading. If you are running an art class and need to get lots of kneaded erasers for your students this is a way to do it affordably.
They aren’t as easy to mold as some of the other models on this list. You have to be pretty strong to get the eraser in the perfect shape for using on paper, canvas, or other mediums.
Some users have complained that they aren’t as good at avoiding residue as some of the other models and you might get a little bit of flaking.
Overall, they’re a little stiff, but great if you are on a budget. If you don’t need to adjust the size and shape too much, the June Gold erasers are a good choice.
Geddes Mash Ups Scented Kneaded Erasers – Best for Kids
Start them young, that’s what we always say! The Geddes Mash Ups are not professional, but they are great for kids’ arts and crafts.
You can use these for your adult art class if you like. People might find it funny if you turn up with an eraser that smells like Ice Cream!
There are 24 scented erasers in the pack with a number of flavors including Sundae and Pancakes. You can also pull two erasers apart and then mold them back together for a new flavor.
They’re decent erasers too, made out of rubber, but they will do a pretty good job in removing pencils, and even using some shading and blending techniques that a lot of kids will want to experiment with. They’re not just a novelty product.
If you’re trying to get your kids into art, these kinds of products are great. They make everything a little more fun and exciting. Let’s face it, some of us are big kids too, and there’s no harm in wanting to use these yourself. They work out pretty affordable.
Kneaded Eraser Price – How Much to Pay For a Kneaded Eraser
Kneaded erasers are not expensive by the standards of art equipment. You can get some kneaded erasers that work out under $1 each, especially if you decide you are going to buy in bulk. If you want that extra bit of quality it is worth investing in a model by Faber-Castell or one of the larger brands. This is due to the fact that they offer a bit more of a professional finish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Kneaded Erasers Have a Downside?
Why wouldn’t everyone use kneaded erasers all the time? All of the products on this list are great options. They’re not perfect for every use. If you are looking to use an eraser for a really large area then a kneaded eraser isn’t ideal.
On top of that, due to the fact they are quite malleable, they can become “sticky” over time. This might make them annoying to use, so it is a good idea to have spares. They might also pick up a bit of debris over months of use.
Generally, we recommend that most artists have this type of eraser in their toolkit. There’s a reason brands like Prismacolor make lots of different types. For different drawing effects, it is normal to have lots of types of pencil, so why would you not want multiple types of eraser to give different effects?
Do Kneaded Erasers Smell?
When you buy a kneaded eraser it shouldn’t have much of a smell to it (unless you buy one with an ice-cream scent added, of course). Over time, they can absorb a lot of different debris, and this can start to make them smell. Generally, you need to replace your kneaded eraser long before it totally wears down otherwise you could have a real stink on your hands…literally.
How to Make a Kneaded Eraser
If you want to, you can make your own kneaded eraser. Be warned that it may not be as effective, and that the eraser might already be a little bit dirty. This means it will start to smell quicker.
The guide below shows you how to make a kneaded eraser out of a regular eraser.
To make this effectively, you need an eraser, some sandpaper (other rough surfaces can work) and a few drops of oil such as olive oil.
- Create “shavings” from the eraser by using it against the plain surface or sandpaper.
- Collect these together into a small clump.
- Add a few drops of oil.
- Blend it all together between your fingers until it becomes a soft and malleable eraser.
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have the chance to go to an art store or wait for a kneaded eraser to be delivered, you could make one out of an existing eraser, to help to reach those difficult areas of a picture. However, we recommend buying a pack. They’re affordable, and a lot less hassle. On top of this, the homemade options might start to smell.
Sometimes in the world of art, it is the $1 tools that end up being the most helpful and useful. A kneaded eraser is usually very inexpensive. The fact it can be used for touching up, helping the contrast of your sketching or just erasing difficult areas, means it is a must-have. Whether you are trying your hand at sketching or drawing or using pastels and other mediums, a kneaded eraser can help a lot.