Velvet Mat Board
I cut a mat the other day from a red/brown velvet board. The middle was too small to use for much of anything, so I decided to try it for a pastel painting. All I had on hand were some cheap pastels we had lying around, but I'm so pleased with the results.
It took the color beautifully, allowing many layers and subtle blending. If you have access to any of this material, you've got to try it for your next pastel experiment!