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How to Make Your Own Encaustic Paints

How to Make Your Own Encaustic Paints

If you are interested in encaustic painting, why not prepare your own paints? Here is an article giving you step by step procedure to make your very own paints before painting your piece of art.
ArtHearty Staff
How about being a painter who makes his own paints? I think it's a great idea to start from scratch when creating a painting. Paintings are categorized based on painting media used. There are numerous kinds of painting media. One can make an acrylic painting, oil painting, watercolor painting, spray painting etc. Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, is a type which uses pigmented wax for painting. Encaustic paint is basically prepared using beeswax, damar crystals, and pigments. One can prepare several colors of paints by using pigments of different colors. The solid paint is molten prior to use, which is then applied on the canvas or the absorbent surface, where it is allowed to solidify. Encaustic paintings have an advantage over other paintings as these can be altered years after the painting is completed. All that is required is melting the paints once again to make the variations.

Making encaustic paints is a bit tedious task, but it is worth giving a try. So now that you have decided to take up this task, here is more on it.

Encaustic Wax Medium Recipe

Ingredients Required
  • Beeswax (bleached)
  • Gum damar resin crystals
Equipment Required
  • A pan
  • Wooden or plastic stirring equipment
  • A hotplate or any other available heating source
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Pre-oiled muffin tins
  • Empty can
  • Oven gloves
  • Strainer
Method
  • Take bleached beeswax and gum damar crystals in the ratio 10:1. The amount of damar accounts for the hardness of the paint. More the damar, harder the paint and less the damar, softer the paint would be. Weigh required quantities of wax and damar crystals using a weighing machine.
  • Place damar crystals in a plastic bag and crush them using a mortar and pestle to obtain powder.
  • Melt the beeswax in a pan by placing it on a hotplate.
  • When the wax has melted completely, add damar powder in the pan. Let the damar melt completely and stir occasionally using a plastic stirrer, to get a uniform mixture. Do not overheat.
  • Lower the heat and let the mixture heat for some more time, stirring occasionally.
  • Pass the mixture through a strainer to remove debris, and collect the filtered mixture in another pan.
  • Pour the mixture in pre-oiled muffin tins using an empty can. Hold the can using oven gloves.
  • Place filled muffin tins in a disturbance-free area to let the mixture solidify. It takes around 1 hour for the mixture to solidify. You can also place the filled tins in the refrigerator for solidification and pop out the wax cake when set.
Preparation of Encaustic Paint
  • Once the wax medium is prepared, you can make your choice of paint using pigment of specific color.
  • Remelt the wax medium in the pan and add colored pigment to it. Stir continuously to obtain uniformity in color.
  • Pour the pigment and wax mixture in the muffin tin and allow it to solidify as before.
  • Remove the encaustic paint from the tin and store it safely. It is now ready for use!
Precautions
  • Never use equipment used for preparing encaustic paints for cooking. They may be very harmful.
  • Use safety glasses to avoid heated spluttering wax from entering into your eyes.
  • Use oven gloves for protection against heat.
  • Use baking soda to extinguish in case of fire.
  • Use safety mask to prevent toxic pigments from entering into the respiratory tract.
After you have your encaustic paints ready, you can use one of the several encaustic painting techniques to make a piece of art. Buying paints from the market can be a bit expensive. It is a lot cheaper if you make them at home. Now that you know how you can prepare them, go ahead and do it!