How to Do Wax Painting

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The ancient Greeks and Egyptians developed encaustic, or wax painting, by using colored pigments mixed with beeswax. Modern methods of wax painting include using a domestic iron as your paintbrush. Wax painting is a rewarding hobby for people with an eye for color.

Things You'll Need

  • Colored wax
  • Iron
  • Thick, non-absorbent card
  • Heat source such as a hair dryer or heat gun
  • Bristle brushes and palette knives (optional)
  • Place a few colors of wax on your iron at one time. This should begin to melt the wax.

  • Move your iron around over your card, or other surface material, to make a variety of designs. The iron is like your paint brush. Certain ways you move the iron can create different textures in the wax. Once you find a design you like, stop.

  • Try a different approach and do the entire painting using the same patterns with your iron. Vary your movement of the iron and you vary your pattern. Put the painting together by changing patterns and colors.

  • Add details to your painting by drawing with a controlled heat source. Create mountains or grass with the edge of the iron and draw details with the tip. Try using a soldering iron, hot plate, hair dryer or hot air paint stripper for different designs. Many appliances can work as long as you can control the heat.

  • Use warm bristle brushes or palette knives to add more detail to the design.

  • Polish your painting when you're finished.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use palette knives for fast cleanup of the wax and of the heat source once it's cooled down.
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