Painting with Hot Wax AM Northwest Morning Show
TV Demo June 26, 2014 by Shirley Rufener
Sorry, this video is no longer available as the TV studio keeps them up for just 1 year. However, instructions are below!
There are so many different types of paints available, but one of the first materials ever used,
was pre-colored wax. Here are some basics to get you started feeling like an artist in no time!
The technique is called encaustic painting but it is so much easier than the title sounds.
*Wax Snaps encaustic paint which are highly pigmented top quality artist's wax (by Enkaustikos)
*Wax medium (mixes with wax to this it to a glaze and works between layers of wax (by Enkaustikos)
*Slick Wax for cleaning your brushes and griddle (by Enkaustikos)
*Encaustic Wax Gesso (do not use regular Gesso!)
*Black, dark brown, Blue or color of choice acrylic paint to finish wood edges
*Flat pieces of wood (not beveled) or shallow hinged wood boxes TIP: Use wood that is thick or has a support that is dimensionally stable. Thin boards can warp when heated wax is layer on. Traditionally, "Cradle Boards" are used which looks like a shallow wood box with no back panel.
Painting with Wax
1. Pre-heat the griddle to 175oF (check thermometer occasionally for accurate temperature). *Remove any sticker labels from your wood and the bottom side of any encaustic wax tins. Make sure your piece of wood is sanded and wiped clean of any dust (a tack cloth works great for this). Place your natural brushes, wax medium and slick wax on the griddle as shown. Your thermometer can be placed anywhere that is convenient. I have also applied colors of wax snap bars directly to the griddle surface and poured about 2x wax medium into them. Mix together before painting.
Wax Clean Up
TIP: Clean brushes in between colors using slick wax on the griddle. Wipe excess off on a paper towel, then dip a clean brush in Slick Wax, applying it to your griddle, brushing the bristles back and forth in the heated Slick Wax. Wipe the brush on a paper towel again. Repeat until no color shows. Slick Wax is also used to clean the griddle itself. Just brush or pour slick wax onto the surface and carefully wipe clean with a thick wad of paper towels while the griddle is still on.
3. Choose a background color or colors and apply as desired. Long strokes the length or width of the board are good,but you can also do anything on the background that you desire. Be creative. To make the paint flow more smoothly, mix in some wax medium. I applied Ultramarine Blue to the bottom, then blended it upward into French Ultramarine Light and finished the top with Opal Aquamarine. I fused the entire surface, and when cool I stippled on Super Bronze Pearl at the bottom. I then painted a round Cadmium Yellow area where the sun will be stenciled.
5. When cool, place the stencil on the board again, positioned where you want the palm tree. Notice I have placed a "mask" which covers an area that I do not want o stencil this time around. Add 2x the wax medium to Bone Black and apply to the palm tree openings using a clean angled brush. Fuse the tree leaving the stencil in place and allow it to cool completely. Remove stencil again very slowly. If any of the small stencil pieces seem stuck, use the tip of a craft blade knife to aid in lifting them so you don't pull wax off the board. When cool, position and stencil the two birds in the same manner.
*Variety of The Crafter's Workshop 12" square plastic stencils-these are heat resistant, other types are not! Designs names are listed below.
*Wide natural Hake (hog hair) brushes and smaller angled flat natural brushes also (not synthetic which would melt)
*Family sized electric griddle with a temperature dial
*Separate thermometer to lay on your griddle
*Hand held heat tool-rubber stampers use this for embossing powders (not a hair blow dryer!)
*Sanding pad or 400 and 600 grit Sand paper and a tack cloth
*Wooden clothes pins
*Paper towels (lots!)
2. Mark the right and left (or top and bottom) of the BACK side of your board, noticing which direction the wood grain is going. I painted the inside and outside of the SIDE EDGES (not the flat surfaces) of my hinged wooden box first. I used black acrylic paint (any color will work) and let dry. I sprayed just the painted areas with a matte acrylic paint clear sealer. Cover the side edges with painters tape. Prepare the wood by painting the front surface (not sides) with 1-2 coats of Encaustic Gesso. Let dry. Place wood onto a protected surface. Brush on an even layer of wax medium with a wide hake brush and heat fuse it with a heat tool (step was omitted on video). Keep moving the tool in small circle motions. You want to fuse until the surface is shiny. Allow the wax to cool.
Stenciling with Wax
TIP: Mix your colors with 2-3x the amount of wax medium for a smooth consistency when stenciling. First, apply a THIN layer of wax medium over the openings in the stencil design. Next, add a wax color to the stencil design with an angled brush.
4. Stencil design: (Palm Tree #TCW257) Heat fuse the ground and the sun areas and let cool. Place the Palm Tree sun area of stencil on board and press to secure all around the area. Add wax medium to Cadmium Yellow Deep wax and use an angled brush to brush. Then, to highlight, add Cadmium Yellow to each side of the sun, over the Cadmium Yellow Deep. As these stencils are heat resistant, leave the stencil in place and fuse the sun. Get close to stencil then quickly pull back the heat tool as many times until shiny, then stop. Allow the sun to cool completely for at least 10 minutes, then check to feel if it is cool. Now you can remove stencil very slowly. (Fusing after removing stencil will cause the wax edges to spread and distort the sun.)
TIP: After stenciling, if there are any areas to clean up on your design, you can wait overnight as the stenciled wax will harden.
TIP: You can place the stencil on your griddle and pat it with a paper towel to remove excess wax, then place a second folded paper towel on the griddle, then the stencil on top of it and pat with the first paper towel. Repeat until clean. (Use only heat resistant stencils!)
The sample encaustic paintings: The second sample at the top of the page uses "RubberBands Fragments" 4" x 4"stencil (#TCW2024). The third painting uses Cubist (#TCW248) and the fifth uses both Ferns (#TCW243) and Branches Reversed (#TCW251). I have also added decorative gift tissue with torn edges to the third and fourth paintings. Just secure tissue in place and apply a layer of wax medium over it. It will become more translucent.