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How to Make Encaustic Medium and Paint


Encaustic is pigmented tempered beeswax. To temper beeswax (typically pharmaceutical grade beeswax) add a percentage of a harder wax (candelilla or carnauba no more than 5%) or add a natural resin, typically damar resin (average is 1 part to 8 parts; do not over temper, no more than 1 to 4). Over tempering will cause the encaustic to be brittle and it will flake or chip away. Add about 20% pigment to the mix to obtain encaustic.

Work encaustic at no more than 225º (170º-220º is best)

Encaustic medium is non-pigmented tempered beeswax. Melt wax in a non-iron container. Begin by melting damar resin, and melting beeswax separate. Damar resin melts at 225º, once melted, lower the temperature (around 170º-180º) start adding in the melted beeswax. If you add the beeswax cold/hard, add it to the damar resin in small amounts. Add about 20% pigment to obtain encaustic.

Encaustic does not dry like oil, acrylic, watercolor, et cetera; it only needs to cool, which is done almost instantly. However, one must remember some pigments that are used in this medium have a chemical makeup that do not allow for the wax to set entirely; until minutes, hours, days, and even weeks have gone by. Pigments like carbon black, cadmiums, and quinacridones remain ever so slightly soft until a certain amount of time has passed.

Read more about beeswax and it's variations (e.g. bleached, filtered, etcetera) and other waxes here, Waxes and Other Raw Materials.


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Revisiting old topics and filling in holes is quite a chore, yet a necessary one, one that will offer more quality information. For example: recent activity and questions surrounding hardboard and/or masonite, has directed our attention to fill in the blanks on that topic (currently under revision/addition), as well as, more about gesso (specifically encaustic gesso) and other topics (search the tabs), all are in the works. 

Prior years were to get as much general information as possible up and available- a starting point. More and more however, new topics are focused and detailed, and old ones will be getting revisiting; removing any possibility of confusion. 

I should point out that this is a one person operation (takes me awhile to get around to everything, ohh yeah, I should make some art), Anyway, where was I?, oh! one person operation..., even though I tend to refer in posts and topics as we, it is to remove the need to revisit things later when it really is we. All of this whilst working, making art, and whatever may be the case.

As always, I welcome any opinions, comments, and questions- simply contact me.

Thank you
Sincerely
Jonathan Parks