Introduction: Hot Wax Rainbow Art

About: A long time Instructables lurker.. now pleased to be an Instructables worker, in; doing instead of doodling. This is easier now that I am 'semi' retired with more time to do stuff. My grandson is becom…

This is really HOT art.

It is my pleasure to introduce my fellow 'iblers to Encaustic Art.

I know that there are a couple of 'ibles that use this term, but this version is unique.

There is way too much to cover in one session and so I am only planning to provide an introduction now.

Although this is true physical medium art rather than digital, I have used many of my original pieces in digital artworks.

Encaustic art produces graduated, translucent colours with a vibrancy that cannot be satisfactorily originated in a pure digital piece of software such as Adobe's Photoshop or even Corel's Painter.

It can however be readily combined in montages and digitally manipulated using such software.

There are even ways to transfer the finished art to Tee Shirts and other apparel, but that maybe the subject of a later 'ible.

Oh, and PLEASE do remember to be careful with hot irons and wax. I have not done a full health and safety sheet but do ensure adult supervision for minors and take all necessary precautions.

Step 1: There Are Lots of Available Tools

As with other artistic pursuits there are many useful items that Encaustic artists 'need'.

Here we see the hot pen or stylus, with many replaceable tips. Each opening up new effects.

Step 2: Lots of Styli

Yes... and there are even more tips to use for marking and drawing in wax.

Step 3: The Main Tool

The main tool used is a small travel iron.

I also have many other different shaped and sized ones.

This is one specially sourced for Encaustic Art.

Note, that a steam travel iron is no use at all for Encaustic art.

Step 4: The Wax

This form of Encaustic art uses specially produced waxes that are a blend of bees wax and other bases.

There are two or three major suppliers.

I will set out a list of useful purchasing links at the end of this 'ible.

Step 5: Somewhere to Keep Your Materials

I have several cases full of waxes.

When you start out you will need at least one art case to store your waxes and tools.

Step 6: More Tools

There are lots of useful tools that make different marks and give different effects.

Start small and build up as you become engrossed in this exciting way of expressing your artistic self.

Step 7: The Support*

Encaustic art uses a shiny type of coated card to deposit the wax onto.

This is available in many sizes and also in white, black or metallics.

*In case you did not know it, artists refer to the canvas, paper, card or whatever surface the artwork is created on as 'the support'.

Step 8: Let's See an Example...

For this demonstration I am using a small card that is often used to produce attractive bookmarks.

It is best to lay out plenty of newspaper and then on top of that lay some kitchen paper or tissue.

Here I am using some paper towels.

Step 9: Ready to Start

The iron is plugged in, and set on low.

Next the wax is melted onto the surface when it reaches the right temperature.

You may have to experiment with different temperatures for different colours and manufacturers.

Step 10: As Much As You Want

Add more colours in bands, or however you like.

There are no rules and one of the HUGE joys of this art is the serendipitous effects you will get.

Step 11: Swipe

Swipe your loaded hot iron over the surface of your card.

Press down gently and move across the paper in one smooth motion.

(I would normally hold down the edge of the card with one finger, but I could not whilst taking the photo).

Step 12: Stipple or Lift

There are many actions that you can do to produce different designs.

Lifting produces interesting textures.

Touching and lifting with different parts of the hot iron produces many variations.

Of course you can load up more wax and also use other tools such as the hot stylus.

Step 13: Edge Drawing

Use the edge of the iron to make marks. A sort of 'hand drawing' but producing unique effects.

It always amazes me how such a simple movement produces marks that seem to have 3 dimensions.

Step 14: Try Foil

If you use crumpled foil, that will give interesting effects too.

Try sponges, objects, and even rubber stamps, which all add new effects.

One of the many joys of this art form is the ability to experiment and immediately see amazing results.

Step 15: Here Is an Example

Pressing down on the crumpled foil produced random marks that the eye interprets as all manner of things.

Step 16: Bookmarks

A simple effective way to start is to produce book marks (note: they do not work on Kindles)

Many people produce personalised birthday, Christmas, event or anniversary cards this way.

There are special card blanks available for that.

It is best to gently buff/polish then seal the surface, after finishing the design, to preserve the appearance.

There are many ways to do that which you can research.

If you look at Etsy you will find many Encaustic artists earning useful extra incomes using Encaustic art methods.

Step 17: Other Cardstock

Try silver on black for extra effect.

The support used is pretty important to this art.

The card has to stand the heat and has to be reflective enough to allow the translucent nature of the wax to shine.

I have had some success on large projects using white faced hardboard, but it needs a big hot iron or a heat gun to get the results wanted.

Step 18: Go Crazy

Now you have the basic is time to go crazy and see for your self how good this medium is.

It combines random and control to produce amazing effects.

The vibrancy of the medium and the various effects combine to produce visuals that no other physical method can match.

It is very fast to do and easy to get started.

Your work is instantly dry and as long as you do not expose it to high heat it will remain vibrant.

After a while you will learn to anticipate the outcome from the many techniques available, and thus gain more control over the results.

However you will always have 'happy accidents'* that will make you smile with inner satisfaction.

Perhaps the hardest skill to learn with Encaustic art is when to STOP and call your artwork finished.

*a nod to the dear departed Bob Ross.

Step 19: Useful Links

To start working in this medium is not very expensive but it certainly is not as low cost as other artistic methods.

Do not be tempted to try these techniques with crayons or home made waxes, it just does not work the same.

To get started buy just an iron, some card and some waxes.

UK Amazon links:

THIS SET of waxes is good for beginners.

THIS IRON is a proven good choice to start with and will still be useful if you progress to bigger things.

THIS CARD is good to start with.

Searching with the term Encaustic Art on Amazon or on the web, will display many interesting results, including books for further reading.

US Amazon links

THIS SET is for beginners too.

THIS IRON is the same as above but from Amazon US.

THIS CARD is also good to start with.

THIS IS a SET that may be a better value starter for US readers

Please do let me know if any of the above links stop working and I will try to find alternatives.

Just searching with the term Encaustic Art on Amazon or on the web, will display many interesting results, and alternative supplies, including books for further reading.

Step 20: Gallery of My Work

Just a few examples.

Note that some of these are small and some are quite large, but have been reproduced here as all the same size.

Although this is a royalty free 'ible I am not giving permission to re-use any images without my express permission.

Step 21: And More...

few more to follow...

Step 22:

More to follow....

Step 23: More...

yes more...

Step 24: Yet More...

Perhaps Instructables needs a gallery function?

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