Preparing the binder
Making the  wax vehicle
Encaustic is quite simple and easy to make once the details of heating the waxes are taken care of. Firstly combine the wax and damar resin. The wax is the vehicle, the damar is there as a hardener. The best way to buy the beeswax is in the form of pellets as the pellets are easier to measure and use (if they are available). Only use the white refined beeswax. Refining is a simple process developed in ancient times that improves the qualities of the wax significantly.

The wax is heated very gently until it is just melted. Do not burn the wax. Some artist's like to add a portion of Carnauba wax as this helps the hardening, but if too much is added the wax will gain a distinct brownish color. Remove from the heat and stir in the damar. About 25% by volume is about right.

Adding the pigments Dispersal
The pigments must be very dry. Do not predisperse. Pour a suitable quantity of the melted wax into a small tin. Stir in the pigment until the mixture has the consistency of a runny tubed oil paint. Make certain there are no clumps of pigment in the mixture. A rough drawdown is possible. The hot wax wets the pigment very well. Putting the wax into very small tins means they will melt more quickly at the beginning of a painting session. Always be careful not to burn the wax.

[ Go to  Testing Paints  ]

Keeping tins Storing  waxes
The wax colors will keep indefinitely. It is preferable to have tins that have fitting plastic covers as the only concern is to keep dirt off the colors.

Related Links:

Studio notes

Basic Ingredients

Detailed Ingredients

Testing paint

Starting to make paint

Making Oil Paints

Making Acrylic Paints

Making Watercolors and Gouaches

Making Egg Tempera

Making Hide Glue Chalk Gesso

Making Fresco Colors

Making Pastels

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