16 June 2012


This was the second year of experimenting with encaustics, painting with melted wax pigments. I use this as my "after AP project" the portfolios have been submitted but we still have about a month of school so we need to do something fun.

This year we tried using other media with the wax. To start with, we added color to our boards with DynaFlow. You can't use acrylics with the wax because it needs an absorbent surface. Watercolors might work but I haven't tried them yet.

To melt the wax pigments, wax medium, and beeswax I use these metal tins and an electric griddle. Next year I'm getting a small crock pot for the medium.

Students add the wax in layers.

Between each layer the piece needs to be fused with the heat gun.

This year we tried out powdered pigments with the wax. I have metallics, some colors that were donated, and graphite powder. After the wax layer cools, pigments can be brushed on. Depending on how close you hold the heat gun to your work when you fuse this layer, you can get some neat effects.

The other media we used is oil paint. You can incise lines and texture into the cooled wax then rub oil paint into the lines. We used vegetable oil and paper towels to remove the excess.

Some students also embedded string into the layers of wax.

We used clay tools and razor blades to cut into the wax or smooth out the surface. When the wax is completely cooled we buff the piece with paper towels to make them shiny.

The students were quite successful with this project. My focus with this is experimentation rather than a perfect finished product, this allows the students to have fun with it.

My next post will have student examples.

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