Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Time Has Come For the Great "Encaustic" Debate!

• Serious Art or a Fun Craft? 
• Bee's Wax or Crayons?  Paraffin? 
• Controlled or Spontaneous? 
• Large Format? Small? 
• Fun or Frustrating? 

We were pointed in the direction of encaustics by a sample of Karen Eberle's encaustic art which she shared during last month's "Embossing  Exploration."

With apologies to Karen and other serious artists.... we will be experimenting with encaustic techniques in a more playful way.

Our focus will be using the technique for greeting cards (primarily backgrounds) with stamping and just for fun dabbling. Not only is it "Faux Encaustic," it's "MINI Faux Encaustic"

Centuries old and world wide, interest in the art form waxes and wanes and is currently hot!  (Sorry!)

Sometimes attempting a technique with such an illustrious history can be intimidating but in its current incarnation, it's sometimes referred to as melted crayon art or hot wax painting and there are almost as many sites and You Tube videos showing adaptations for children and beginners as there are for the serious professional practitioners.

We have heard from some of you that you have tried the technique. Hopefully you will share some of your samples here, as we try different, simple techniques.

For this particular exploration we will start a "gallery" and add your scans, samples and directions as we receive others can readily access them for inspiration, suggestions and direction as we all play.

Unlike previous months, with weekly updates, this month the posting will be ongoing, so check back often for new additions.

And you give this a try, show us your results in progress. We are not looking for "perfect."   : )   We are in this together and want to make it easy and FUN.
So come always...ggd's plea is  

"Come on out and PLAY!"

For these first samples we did not use beeswax or special encaustic paints.

A CONFESSION--ggd has a difficult to control Make Do With What You've Got  knee jerk reaction to acquiring new equipment/supplies. Eventually we collect embarrassing amounts of but initially we are always looking around for what we have on hand that "might" work.

When you see this "marker" proceed with caution. This is an "off label/unauthorized use of materials or procedures" and is not always a good idea.

In this case, before we decide if we really even want to use this technique, we just HAD to try substitutes. We are not necessarily recommending this. Sometimes it ends up much more trouble than it's worth.

This is just to explain why our initial experiments involved: 

• A tiny craft iron (leftover from ggd's time of sewing for American Girl Dolls) 

• Granddaughters' Crayons

  • ATC Card
Since the iron was so tiny, it made sense to use a smaller card. Unfortunately the card was more absorbent than recommended (glossy stock works better) 

The first sample is about as simple as it gets. Melt crayons onto the card and let the colors blend together. Tip the card. Reheat it with a heat gun (or hair dryer) and "fiddle" with it until you are satisfied. If you have and "empty" spot you can drop shavings from a crayon and heat. Careful, the heat gun is really hot...don't burn yourself or set your paper on fire!

When you are satisfied, let the card cool. With a tissue, polish the surface to give it a satiny finish. (There are other finishing methods we will discuss later.) 

Sample Number Two is finished in about the same way but reheated to smooth the surface and blend the colors a little more subtly. Then a stamp is pressed into the surface. (Thank you Karen!) No attempt is made to make the stamp recognizable. It is just added for texture and interest.

These can be used as ATC "starters."

More samples to come. We need your samples to give variety to the "Gallery" which will be listed in the side bar and will help everyone investigate this ancient-now-updated technique.


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. ah as I said, I've had a few wonderful plays days with friends doing various forms of encaustic. Here's one post on my site:
    And another play day this time using beeswax and paper napkins:
    Again Beeswax & paper napkins:
    A serendipitous pieces using 3rd generation of the melted crayons and accenting with quilling:
    This one uses Metallic crayons and the Clover quilting/craft iron you used.
    I'll be playing again soon...
    have a great day

    1. Thanks Yogi. Just KNEW you'd have some spectacular samples to offer.
      Envy your play dates! Fun, huh?
      Will be posting your samples as we get bast "STEP 1" (so as not to intimidate anybody :)
      ME, especially!
      Meanwhile, hope everybody will take the opportunity to chick out the urls you gave us.
      Thanks again Yogi.

  2. like your sample today, the colors are luscious, but them I am a purple freak. will try and send what I have done...if I can find it.

    1. Blues, greens and purples are my favorites. If I can get over trying to "control" this least at first......I should love the spontaneity.

      When I see other people's work, I love it. Envy that they know "when to stop." I tend to overwork and I'm hoping a good dose of this approach will temper that some.

  3. those are my favorite colors also!

    I thought that although this isn't on target, pretty interesting way

    1. You Tube videos are great idea starters. Trouble is : ) you can't watch just one!!!


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