I have been curious about encaustic art for some time. Working with wax seemed like something I would like, but I needed more information. So I got a DVD and learned all about it. This is what I made.
Not bad for the first time, I think!
I learned that you have to combine bee's wax with damar resin for this medium. The resin helps the wax to stick and not flake off. You need a heat source, like a hot plate, and something to melt your wax in, like a metal pan. It should heat to 220 degrees. It takes about an hour to melt.
While you wait, start your canvas. You need to use a porous surface, like wood, fiber board or clay board. This is a great way to use up some of your scraps. I went to my scrap basket and picked out some pieces. Apply them with a regular craft glue or gel medium. Don't get any on the outside of the paper. Glues and mediums contain water, and wax and water don't mix. Let your papers dry fully. Be sure to remove any air bubbles.
Let your papers hang over your surface. When it is dry, flip it over and remove the excess. I also added ink around the edge of the board. Now you are ready to apply wax.
I was surprised to find out you can't just apply layers of wax on top of each other. You have to fuse each layer. Fusing is done with a heat tool. After you apply a layer of wax, you use a heat tool to melt it a little bit, so it is fully adhered You want the wax to be a little shiny for a second. If you go too far you can burn the wax. When applying the wax, use large strokes and get across the whole canvas. You don't want to miss areas or leave too many heavy areas. You will have brush marks too, and the fusing helps smooth your wax out. I started with 2 layers of wax.
After the 2 layers were fused, I outlined my bird and added highlights. Since wax is always tacky, I was able to add the burlap strings in a flourish kind of way. I used a little wax to apply the buttons and went around them with more wax on a small brush. I went over the whole piece 2 more times, fusing between layers. When it was dry I incised a few areas and added oil pastel to the cut out areas. After using oil pastels, remove excess with vegetable oil.
And that is how I used encaustic medium to make a collage. I am very proud of my first attempt. I can see this medium being addictive. There are far more elaborate things you can do with wax, but this simple tutorial is a wonderful beginning, with a very easy learning curve.