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The Essential Encaustic Painting Supplies You Need

The Essential Encaustic Painting Supplies You Need

A few years back you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone who knew what encaustic painting was, but the more people learn about this process, the more it has begun to gain in popularity over time. The act of encaustic painting relies on a combination of colors and an encaustic medium alongside a heat source.

This will create stunning visual effects. Encaustic painting can be a little pricey as far as projects go. As more people who try it, the easier it is becoming to get your hands on the right supplies. Encaustic artists are growing in numbers, and they seem ready to share their beautiful work with the world.

If you want to explore encaustic wax painting, you will want to make sure that you have the best supplies. This complex medium allows for both raw creativity and dedicated techniques to come together to make something uniquely you!

If you’re interested in painting or drawing, check out other related content:

Encaustic Medium

The basis for all encaustic painting is encaustic medium. This is what encaustic painters use to create these complex images. The structure of this product is in part filtered beeswax and part damar resin crystals. These naturally created substances come together to make a fine wax creation.

This can be used to create some incredibly original works of art. This combines both painting and sculpting together in a new way that is sure to let you explore your creativity.

Encaustic medium can either be purchased directly or made, and comes in various forms. Beeswax is generally used in a filtered or bleached state depending on your personal preference.

Newer versions of the medium even allow for the use of synthetic waxes to complete the overall encaustic painting process. This encaustic medium will act as a basis for the paint and general structure of your painting.

Pigments or Oil Paints

Encaustic medium is only one component of painting with encaustics. It is naturally hardly colored in any capacity. You will need to use something else to make your colors for the encaustic painting process.

Some people are partial to using pure and straight pigment to mix their creations. Others instead opt for a delicate ratio of oil paint to encaustic medium. This will bring about a compelling color to their encaustic paints.

During the heating process, you will use these pigments or paints to mix with your encaustic medium. By doing this, it will create the paints that you want to use. It is not uncommon for painters in this medium to go all out when mixing their custom colors.

They create the tools that they need to match the clear vision in their minds or before their eyes. Choosing what colors to mix into your encaustic medium is a part of what can make this process great. It is unbelievable personal for lovers of this art form.

Encaustic Paint

If you don’t want to spend lots of time mixing your paints there is an alternative. The popularity of this process has allowed for some innovation. You can buy encaustic paints in existing blocks.

These blocks of color are premixed collections of encaustic medium and various pigments or paints. These are beautiful pre-made paints for someone who doesn’t want the challenge of making their custom colors.

As far as embracing the process goes, this is an excellent way to simplify wax painting. It’s a way you can enjoy the process without necessarily burying you under unnecessary steps that might confuse you.

Also, if you don’t have an eye for color theory you don’t need to worry. Buying pre-mixed encaustic paint supplies is a great way to allow you to enjoy the medium. You won’t have to wonder how you messed up the color green so badly.

Heated Encaustic Palette or Hot Plate

The primary step in encaustic painting involves melting the encaustic medium. Because of this, all encaustic artists will need a safe way to do so. Using an encaustic palette or hot plate to melt down your encaustic medium so that you can begin your painting process is a crucial step when it comes to being able to paint rather than simply rubbing blocks of wax on a piece of wood and hoping that it works out well.

There are countless ways to go about this. The primary focus of any person pursuing the process of this style of painting should always be safety. When you’re working with heating materials and molten beeswax, it’s easy to accidentally burn yourself or risk creating a fire. To avoid this, it’s best to make sure you find the right tool that matches your needs and isn’t complicated. This will help you be safe every step of the way during your painting process.

Tins For Heating

Depending on how you heat your encaustic medium, you’ll want to make sure that you have heat-safe containers. A commonly used choice for this is small tins. This allows you to have several different encaustic paints to be heated at once. Thus offers you more freedom and versatility when it comes to working on your project. Finding a sturdy container to heat your supplies in is one more step towards process safety and easy cleanup!

Natural Hair Brush

This is not your everyday hairbrush. A natural hair brush is a crucial element to painting with encaustic paints. The majority of synthetic brushes would either melt or take serious damage when placed in these extreme heats for an extended period. Since the brushes themselves must be heated for best results, natural hair brushes are the best way to go. This will ensure that they last and that you don’t compromise the integrity of your encaustic paint.

Sculpting Tools

The primary difference between regular painting and encaustic painting aside from the actual material of the paints themselves is the fact that encaustic medium allows for some seriously creative painting techniques. Encaustic paint can dry in a more structurally sound way than traditional paints. It allows for some very complex choices when it comes to sculpting the paint the way you want.

Part of the charm of this medium is the ability to create designs, layers, and textures with the encaustic medium. Scrapers, scoops, and spatulas are all necessary tools when it comes to exploring this art form.

These tools allow you to truly shape the wax. This means you can enjoy a unique combination of both painting and sculpting to create beautifully complex works of art.

The Correct Canvas

Finding the right surface to act as a base for your encaustic painting is an important part of the overall process because not everything will work equally. A common choice among encaustic painters is the use of wood, which is both rigid and absorbent, and allows for a perfect surface when it comes to pursuing your encaustic painting dreams.

Though you can certainly prime plenty of surfaces when it comes to choosing a canvas for your next project, popular options include true stretched canvas, encausticbord, drywall, and anything else that is heat resistant, sturdy, and porous.

Heat Gun Or Torch

One of the more compelling techniques that can be carried out when it comes to encaustic painting is the use of layers to create more intricate visual effects. Encaustic medium can be added to itself as it dries to create layers, which is an amazing way to get some of the more interesting sculpting techniques and to create unique textures to your art itself.

It is also an excellent way to add in smaller portions of the wax if painting on the next layer will not yield the desired results. Using a heat gun or torch is a great way to achieve these desired looks when it comes to blending existing wax sections or building upon your painting in interesting ways.

Additional Add-Ins

Since there is legitimate texture when it comes to encaustic painting, it is not uncommon for people to add additional elements to the paint itself. Wax has long since acted as an effective method of preserving items, which is why so many people opt into adding these additional touches as a method to further their overall image.

Whether you are aiming to add genuine twigs to the appearance of your tree, preserve petals from a flower given to you by a loved one, or even add in something like coins or ribbon, the possibilities are truly endless when it comes to filling your encaustic painting with something extra to bring it to life.

This is one of many ways that encaustic painting proves to be a unique process. It is great for truly chasing your passion and letting your creativity take you where it may. There are simply no limitations to this somewhat ancient and yet unbelievably modern practice of art that is stirring the hearts of many.

A Seriously Effective Ventilation System

Though wax painting is a thrilling method of art that caters to your every self-expression, it also involves taking certain materials at high heats that can lead to some questionable substances filling your air supply.

When it comes to encaustic painting, the last thing that you ever want to do is pursue this delightful art medium in an airtight room that will leave you breathing in all kinds of bad all day long.

For this reason, many people who can practice this process outside when possible. However, assuming you still want the privacy of a good studio, finding a proper ventilation system is a great way to enjoy your art and avoid breathing it too. For this safety precaution, you might decide to pay someone to install a state of the art system or you might install a system of your very own. Whatever you might choose, just make sure that it works well and you will be good to go!


Encaustic painting is an exciting art form that allows you to express yourself in a unique way that truly has almost no limitations. This medium of self-expression is a great way to explore some of your more unique ideas, and certainly leaves room for conveying some seriously complex messages through the use of color, style, structure, and add-ins.

Though there are always going to be precautions to take, it seems that the biggest risk with encaustic painting is that so many of those who try it find that they love the process and want to continue to make more encaustic paintings. As is the case with anything, having the right tools at your disposal is an excellent way to go from an average and confusing experience to a thrilling new pursuit that will have you excited to leave the world a little prettier than when you found it!

Have you ever tried encaustic painting before? What was your experience like?

Encaustic Painting FAQ

What do I need for encaustic painting?

This article covers all the essential things you need.

Can you use candle wax for encaustic painting?

Candle wax is not refined enough to use in encaustic painting.

What is encaustic gesso?

It’s a water-based background surface that is specifically formulated to use for encaustic paints.