This list looks long, but you probably have a lot of it around the house already.
- encaustic medium/paint
You can either make some
or purchase some. I make my own, but my materials come from Daniel Smith and you can buy medium/paint from them as well. I mostly use clear medium, but you can use any color(s) of paint you want. You'll probably want some clear medium either way. http://www.danielsmith.com/subcat~cat~100210301401.asp
- electronics parts (or other collageable parts) In my opinion you should take apart your electronics down to the pretty basic components. Be smart - there's probably sharp parts, possible electrocution risk (if I have to tell you to unplug it before taking it apart you should probably stop now), and any number of other dangerous elements to this. You've probably already done more dangerous stuff, but don't say I didn't warn you.
- a board
Mine is a chunk of plywood that I got from a local cabinet maker. They (apparently) make mistakes all the time and have an outlet to sell off their random pieces. I paid 50 cents for this piece. It is important that the material you work on is very rigid and porous - if it flexes the wax can pop off of it, especially if it's very cold.
- an assortment of brushes
Natural fibers are best because you'll be working with hot wax and synthetic brushes can melt. I like Japanese watercolor brushes because they hold a lot of wax and are cheap (which is nice because encaustic tends to shorten the life of brushes.) Two inches is the widest brush I ever use.
- an electric skillet
You basically need some sort of heat source to warm the wax. Candle warmers/coffee warmers can work, I prefer the skillet because I can adjust the temperature. Be sure to keep the cord protected and accessible - you don't want anyone tripping over it and spilling the wax, and in the unlikely event of a fire you'll want to unplug your heating element.
- a heat gun
The less air it blows around the better. You'll use this to fuse your layers of wax together and give the whole thing a nice smooth finish.
- small metal containers
For melting the wax in. Muffin tins, individual pie pans and condiment cups are just a few of the things that will work. You can also cut down soda cans, but be careful about sharp edges.
- wood lath
I picked this up in the moldings and rails department at the home improvement store.
- small nails
For framing it.
- hammer (and pliers)
For framing it.
- obvious art making things
Newspaper or tablecloth to protect your table, paper towels for cleanup, masking tape, surface you can cut on, water, that sort of thing.
I included a few optional steps at the beginning, and these require:
Any cotton canvas will do - you can get it at art stores and fabric stores. DO NOT get pre-gessoed canvas for this project. Cut it 2 inches longer than the board (so there's a 1 inch or so margin on each side. This is not an exact science, just make sure it's bigger.)
White acrylic gesso. Basic art store stuff, but avoid the student grade - the artist grade is a lot better and usually minimally more expensive.
Dry pigment is a must to tint encaustic medium (though oil paint will also do the job.) If you choose to color you canvas as I did you'll need either dry pigments plus water or water based pigments. http://www.danielsmith.com/subcat~cat~800201301.asp
- rotary cutter or knife
To trim the canvas after applying it to your board.
It's always a good idea to use safety glasses. You'll want oven mitts for sure, but I prefer the 'ove glove' for it's increased mobility. Breathing protection is important when using powdered pigments, and encaustic can create unpleasant fumes so you'll want some ventilation. It's possible to overheat the wax and cause a fire. You'll need to smother a fire like this rather than using water - it's like a grease fire. Anything that touches encaustic or pigments should never, ever touch food again.