Derived from the Greek word "enkaustikos," meaning "to heat" or "to burn," wax-based paints have been used by artists and craftsmen since the 5th century.
Considered a lost art for many centuries, encaustic painting is enjoying a resurgence because of modern techniques, tools, and materials. Choices of waxes, surfaces, and colors have also made encaustic painting safer, easier, and more affordable than ever.
While encaustic painting requires moving molten wax from a heating element to a surface, the technique used in this project creates textured "reservoirs" in metal foil that channel and cradle sprinkled wax as it melts. Interesting dimensions and contrasts between the metal and translucent wax occur when cooled.
- Cut metal into 6" x 6" or larger pieces.
- Shave small amounts of Premium Wax from the block with a cheese grater or butter knife. To prepare larger quantities, a food processor or electric grater may be used. To break the wax into smaller pieces, place the wax block in a freezer overnight, wrap it in multiple plastic bags, then throw it onto pavement or another concrete surface to shatter it, or hit it repeatedly with a hammer.
- Prepare Candle Dye blocks by it shaving with a cheese grater or food processor.
- Create a soft surface for embossing by stacking newspapers, magazines, or foam sheets. Using a ruler and a small tool, draw a border 1/4" on all sides; see (A). Keep the design within the border.
Decide which side of the metal will be facing up. Tool it from both sides, creating raised surfaces and deep areas.
- - Melted wax will flow to the lowest areas unless "walls" are created to hold it.
- - Create textured surfaces to add interest and to help the wax adhere. "Roughen" areas that will be filled with wax using texture tools, a wire brush, or even sandpaper.
- R&F Encaustic Paints (01101-3180) may be used instead of Premium Wax and Candle Dyes. Melting temperature is 220°F.
- - If cracking occurs, or a glossy finish is desired, apply 2-3 coats of Krylon Crystal Clear spray. Follow all label instructions and precautions and keep it away from children.
- - Place inclusions into the melted wax, which will hold them in place until the piece cools. Ideas for inclusions:
- • natural objects: flowers, leaves, seeds, bark, and more
- • Jacquard Pearl-Ex Metallic Pigments assorted colors
- • small beads
- • bits of paper or photos