Monday, July 30, 2012

Encaustic Play Continues.....

• Serious Art or a Fun Craft?

By now it's pretty evident that ggd comes down on the "Fun Craft" side of the encaustic debate. It's actually not a "debate." As with any art choice there is room for every style and individual approach. It's all good!!!

• Bee's Wax or Crayons?

No one who is at all serious about producing well done encaustic work recommends using crayons or paraffin. Due to their chemical composition, they are brittle and will crack and flake off of your work.

This needs to be taken into consideration when you are planning your project.

If the crayons or wax is too thick or the surface you are working on too flexible it will "break," chunks fall off or crack and makes the work VERY temporary. For either artist or recipient this can be very disappointing.

Some of this can be avoided by the surface you choose. While practicing, experimenting or playing, ggd is using office supply cover stock. For a "real" project we would invest in better quality paper or even consider other, sturdier, surfaces.

Another way to protect your finished work is to present it in folders.

Most art supply stores which carry encaustic supplies will have
special folders for presenting small encaustic art works. This accomplishes several things. It protects the work and covers the back. The back can look pretty untidy.

Again....for projects warranting the expense we recommend purchasing quality products......
but for now, ggd is in the MDWWYG (Make Do With What You've Got) mode and has made a tri-fold card of cover stock. It's difficult to see here, but the front uses embossed lines to frame the print. A trick from last month's embossing exploration.

It has a window for the artwork and a cover for the back of the card, plus room for a 
personal note. It is also quite easy to cut a small piece of a clear plastic sheet protector to "cover" the art work to further protect it.

This sample was stamped with Stazon Baby Blue over and encaustic ATC size card. We think silver Stazon would have been more elegant but, like most stampers, we can't just run out and get a new stamp pad at every whim  : )  You can bet, if we continue with encaustic for stamping, it will be on our "Wish List."

IT'S HOT! As in temperature not popularity!
Along with other safety measures that have been ice cube (or several) in a small bowl nearby your work area is important.    You WILL touch something HOT...guaranteed! And a quick swipe (as quickly as possible) across an ice cube will lessen the discomfort.

• Controlled or Spontaneous?


For the moment we are investigating the more spontaneous, abstract approaches. Useful as backgrounds for stamp images or as colorful backgrounds for layering cards encaustic can be also be very controlled, if that's your preference. YouTube demo at end of post.

Thank you Yogi and Michelle for your samples. They will be posted a little later, when we catch up to you.  : )

We are still in the loosen up, play stage and are not trying to "control" the results. That will come later, when it will become evident how valuable encaustic can be, especially for mixed media projects.


• Large Format? Small? 
Again, obviously we've chosen to experiment with a small format. Most "serious" artists work quite large but for card artists the choice is made for you.



Don't fall into the habit of "ironing" your work. You will flatten and blend the colors together and possibly loose the distinction altogether. Instead try using the point or the edge of the iron. Put it down and quickly pick it straight up. A suction of sorts results and very interesting pattern are formed.

Ripple your iron back and forth. Use only the tip....or the edge. OR...don't use an iron at all! Instead, use your heat tool to melt and swirl colors together. 

This sample used the edge of the iron with silver crayon over a blue background.


A word about irons........We considered giving our "regular" iron to the cause.....but decided against it. First because it was a steam iron (with holes) and less importantly....we might want to go out sometime not looking like we'd slept in our clothes! Actually, naps are our hobby and one of our better developed skills so it's a distinct possibility we actually HAVE slept in our  clothes  : (

Anyhow......we found this.....
Little Iron

It was cheap....and oh so cute......and blue! doesn't get hot enough to work well. 

Dry irons are difficult to find these days. Even travel irons have steam. Finally found this dry iron which heats up quicky and works well. But it is large, heavy and a little awkward to handle.
If you are really enthusiastic about encaustics investing in one of the irons specifically designed for the craft is probably money well spent.

They are small and versatile. Can be used in hand, like a conventional iron or turned upside down to use like an artists palette.

Encaustic can take you from

to HERE.....

and anywhere in between.....

It's up to you!

TWO of HUNDREDS of VIDEOS to show you the encaustic gamut!

Come back next week for more investigation of this interesting technique. Meanwhile, share your experiments and join the fun.....make it MORE FUN!

Don't forget to read (and add to) the COMMENTS below!
AND......send your address, in order to be eligible to receive a prize.


  1. sorry, I meant to comment when this was posted but my phone line is bad and keeps cutting me off. thank you for the great tips and I love the samples!

    1. You are very patient to try to navigate with dial up.
      When you have a faster system you forget what a pain it is/was to wait and wait and wait.....for illustrations to load.

      If you find a slower time to load, it would be great to see what you are doing with this.


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