Pat PreblE

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There are many ways to work with encaustic.  I do both hot and cold processes.  I make crayons for working cold.  For hot wax painting I use brushes, hot pens, and a hot palette of melted wax. 

An electric fry pan serves as a palette.  Notice the grill thermometer.  It is important to keep the temperature below 200 degrees Fahrenheit because wax will discolor at higher temperatures.  In fact, 150 degrees Faharenheit is sufficient.

An electric pancake griddle can also serve as a palette.  I use it to heat boards for painting and also to make mono prints.  Keep the temperature down to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for mono prints.  


Put wax into a small metal container and place it on the fry pan or griddle.  Add pigments when the has melted.  The more pigment, the stronger and more opaque the color.  Less pigment and more wax creates a transparent color.


For crayon making, once the wax has cooled so that it can be touched I scrape it out onto a metal surface (an old cookie sheet will work - do not use it for cooking after you have used it for crayon making) and then roll it into crayon shapes.  These can be used as color sticks or broken up and remelted for liquid (hot) wax painting. 


Encaustic Tools

I use a reostat because it is very important to keep the wax on the cool side of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  When wax gets too hot it can start to smoke and the smoke is extremely toxic.

A closer look at the reostat I use with the hot pen