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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
Need any more excuses?
'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
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
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
Get yourself a small flat
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
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.
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.
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
to Paint Pictures
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If you would rather post an order
there is an Order form for Encaustic
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.
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
These are thin sticks of
metallic Dehan wax in gold, silver or copper.
Use for highlights.
Dehan Pearl Wax - £2.70
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
Smooth, non-absorbant, 300g,
white painting card.
- £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
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
Picture Mounts - Price depends
All these mounts are thick,
plain black and have bevelled edges.
Sticky Labels - 50p
These are for people who
wish to sell their work.
Each pack contains 20 gold, sticky backed, labels printed with
'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
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
Soldering Iron Tips - £2.50 each
Drawing Tip - £2.50
Brush Tip - £2.50
Hot Air Paint Stripper
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(wax) Painting - How to paint with an iron
Paintings by Chris Carrick
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