The Hows and Whys


Check out So What is Encaustic Painting?
I don't want to 'write' it all again.

Cos it's fun and relaxing.
You don't need to be able to draw or paint to do it.
You get quick results and wont make a mess all over the place.
The materials are cheap, last for ages and don't go off.
The youngest person I know, who does encaustic painting, was three and a half when she started and the oldest 92 when she started.
Children find it easy. Probably because no one ever told them that you don't paint with an iron.
The iron is not hot enough to burn you or anything else. If it was, it would burn the wax and that smells disgusting.
It is fascinating to do, if you need something to take your mind off other things, this is it, you can get totally lost in it. I think you call it therapeutic.
Anyone can do it if they want too. All it needs is the will to try.
Need any more excuses?

A Warning
'This art form can become addictive'.

That is written on the back of the instruction book and it's true.
I know, I got hooked the first night I played with the stuff.
I couldn't paint or draw, and still can't, but I have always wanted to. I like creating things, but it was always things with instructions, like knitting or dressmaking. The most adventurous I got was bead jewellery making, but even then I was following guide lines.

Then one day I saw Shona Bossom demonstrating how you could paint with an iron. She was selling kits for you to have a go yourself, as well as selling, her husband, Michael's paintings.
After a big debate, I bought a kit, but only because I already had a travel iron at home that had never been used. If I had had to buy the iron as well, I would never have bought the kit. After all I didn't think that I would be able to do it cos 'I can't draw'.

It took me two months to get it out of the box and try it.

Now this is the difficult bit to believe......I did read the instructions first, before I tried to use the kit.

That was it.
I have been hooked since that night.
All these weird and wonderful things kept turning up. I didn't know how or why. All I knew was that it was fascinating. Every time the iron touched the card, the images changed. I didn't know what was going to appear next. Everything had depth and perspective to it, without me even knowing what perspective was. The iron does so much for you and if you don't like what appears, you just change it.

I discovered that the most difficult thing isn't how to do it, but when to stop. Leaving it alone is difficult. You keep wanting to see what is going to turn up next, or just to alter that little bit.....and altering a whole lot instead.

I admit the pictures I paint now are a lot different from what I did then. The more you work with wax, the more you find you can do with it. With practice you can even get it to do what you want it to do. When you first start, it doesn't look like you will ever be able to control it, on the other hand... if you don't want too, don't. Just go with the flow.

There are no hard and fast rules with this art form. Using an iron and wax is a very new idea, no one knows everything you can do with it. Anyone who tells you they do, don't know what they are talking about.
If you get an idea, try it out, some work. It is a wonderful medium to experiment and play with.
If you like the results - Great.
If not - Change it.

Now that should have covered any other reasons you needed to have a go.

And How?
Get yourself a small flat iron.
You need some very smooth card and the right sort of wax.
Melt some wax on the base of your iron and move the iron over your card.

Basically that is it.

Play with it and see what happens. Certain movements will give you certain patterns, vary the movement and you vary the pattern.
If you learn how to get a particular pattern, you can repeat it.
To make a picture, you just put different patterns and different colours together. It really is as simple as that.

The Easiest Way to Start
Buy a starter kit.
It contains everything you need except an iron. I do sell everything separately, but for total beginners, a kit makes life easier.

All You Need to Start
1) an iron
2) some blocks of Dehan wax, one of which must be clear and
3) some smooth, non-absorbent card


Materials to Paint Pictures

All the prices shown are in Pounds Stirling.

For those of you living outside the UK, if you click here, a currency converter will appear in a pop-up box (unless you have a pop-up killer on your computer, in which case it wont work). Put it at one side of your screen and you will be able to convert our UK prices to your own any time you need to.

If you would rather post an order there is an Order form for Encaustic Painting Materials

Starter Kit - £21.99
The boxed set containing 50 sheets of 6"x 4" painting card, 8 Dehan wax blocks one clear wax and three metallic waxes and an instruction book, ie everything you need except an iron.

Instruction Booklet - £3.50
Twenty eight pages of information and ideas, but no pictures.

Dehan Wax Blocks - £1.50 per block / 8 blocks for £9.99
Dehan Wax are made in England and come in triangular blocks in 25 different colours plus a clear.
The discount of 8 blocks for £9.99 includes the clear wax but not the metallic or pearl ones.

The colours marked with '*' are in the starter kit.
01* Black
02 White
  03* Scarlet

04* Lemon Yellow
05 Emerald Green
  06* Royal Blue

07* Tan
08 Cerise
  09 Golden Orange

10* Mahognay
11 Deep Red
  12* Royal Purple

13 Navy
14 Pale Blue
  15 Peacock Blue

16 Pale Green
17* Olive Green
  18 Pink

19 Lilac
20 Deep Brown
  21 Dark Green

22 Magenta
23 Grey
  24 Indigo

25 Maroon
26* Clear

Pack of 8 Wax Blocks (with your choice of colours) - £9.99
Colour choice :-

Clear Dehan Wax - £1.50
The clear wax comes in a square block, slightly larger than the coloured triangle ones.
Use it to lighten any of the other colours, a bit like water with watercolours. Basically what you are doing is diluting them.

Metallic Wax - £1.20 each
These are thin sticks of metallic Dehan wax in gold, silver or copper.
Use for highlights.

Dehan Pearl Wax - £2.70 per block
The pearl waxes have a beautiful iridescent sheen which changes colour as they catch the light They are available in three different tints, Blue, Pink and Yellow.
Use then to transform your standard coloured blocks into irredescent ones as you paint.

Painting Card - price depends on size
Smooth, non-absorbant, 300g, white painting card.
To fit 4" x 3" aperture, pack of 35 sheets - £1.90
To fit 6" x 4" aperture, pack of 50 sheets - £4.50
To fit 7" x 5" aperture, pack of 30 sheets - £4.50
To fit 8" x 6" aperture, pack of 20 sheets - £4.50

Pre-printed Silhouette Cards - £1.00 per pack of 7
Seven pre-printed cards, giving you 7 finished paintings.
Paint over the silhouette with Dehan wax, making sure that the image fits properly into your background. The silhouette will show through the translucent wax, becoming part of the picture.
It is rather tricky for beginners, as you need a good idea of what your painting is going to look like before you start it.

Images to fit 4" x 3" aperture, pack of 7 assorted images - £1.00 (choose from Fantasy, Realistic or Christmas)

Stick-on Silhouettes - £1.99 per sheet
These are figures cut from black vinyl, which peel from their backing and stick on top of a finished painting.
You can put them exactly where you want them, ie where they will look best in your painting. For anyone who is just starting they are a lot easier to use than pre-printed silhouette cards. You can 'go with the flow', see how your painting turns out and then work out which figure you are going to put in it.
There are 7 different sheets available, with between 8 and 14 assorted figures on each sheet. The vinyl is strong, the figures may look delicate but they are not likely to tear by accident.
Each sheet is 9.5cm x 13cm.
Your choices are shown on this page.

Picture Mounts - Price depends on size
All these mounts are thick, plain black and have bevelled edges.
To fit 8" x 6" frame with 4" x 3" aperture - £1.30 each
To fit 10" x 8" frame with 6" x 4" aperture - £1.50 each
To fit 12" x 10" frame with 8" x 6" aperture - £2.00 each

Sticky Labels - 50p
These are for people who wish to sell their work.
Each pack contains 20 gold, sticky backed, labels printed with the words
'Original encaustic artwork. Hand painted in wax, using an iron'.


Equipment to Paint Pictures

Travel Iron - A present I don't stock irons
What you need is a small travel iron, one with a smooth base, it doesn't matter if it has Teflon on it or not, just as long as it is smooth. No holes or indentations in it.
Basically steam irons are not recommended. You'll have trouble cleaning the holes out each time you want to change colour and although they do give you nice 'peacock tail' type patterns, you don't want them in every painting.
You can use a full sized iron if you want to, but they ARE heavy. They are designed that way, and your wrist will soon get very tired, encaustic painting isn't like 'normal' ironing, where the weight of the iron works with you.


Low Temperature Soldering Iron - £31.99
Use the soldering iron to draw into/on to a painting.
Low wattage 10W
Duel voltage 110/220 Volts
Comes with two drawing and one brush tip

Extra Soldering Iron Tips - £2.50 each
Drawing Tip - £2.50

Brush Tip - £2.50

Hot Air Paint Stripper
I also use a paint stripper, the sort that blows out a stream of hot air. You can paint with it as well, (only don't try explaining it to Black and Decker, who make them, they get very confused, but that's another story).
It gives you some beautiful marbled effects. This picture was done with one, using three different coloured waxes.
Your local DIY store will be able to supply you with one. One with a variable heat control is easier to use and give you more effects to play with.
NB A hot air paint stripper will compliment your iron but it will NOT replace it.  


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Ways To Pay
Cheque, postal order, bank transfer, cash (not recommended) or online via Paypal.
If you want post an order there is an Order form for Encaustic Painting Materials

Postage / Shipping
Postage is automatically added at the checkout and is worked out based on the weight of your order.
If it charges you more than you need to pay, I do promise to refund the difference.

UK 1st Class  UK Parcel  EU Airmail  US/Rest of the World Airmail  Non-UK Surface Mail
Up to 100gms £1.90 -  £1.80  £2.30  £1.50
 101-250gms  £2.30 -  £2.90  £4.30  £2.80
 251-500gms  £2.90 -  £4.20  £7.20  £4.10
 501-750gms  £3.50 -  £5.90  £10.40  £6.10
 751-1,000gms  £4.20 -  £7.20  £13.20  £7.30
 1,001-1,250gms  £5.50  £5.50  £8.60  £16.10  £9.30
 1,251-1,500gms  £6.20  £5.50  £9.90  £18.90  £10.60
 1,501-1,750gms  £7.00  £5.50  £11.30  £21.80  £12.30
 1,751-2,000gms  £7.70  £5.50  £12.50  £24.50  £13.40
 2,001-4,000gms  £9.40  £8.20 On Request On Request On Request

So Where Now?

Encaustic (wax) Painting - How to paint with an iron

Encaustic Paintings by Chris Carrick

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Almost Abstract
3 Wharton St
Bishop Auckland
Co Durham
DL14 8PD

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Copyright to all images on this site belong to Chris Carrick

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