{E} The wonderful world of Encaustics

Encaustic assemblage Gift from the Shoreline by Mitzi Humphrey

Encaustic assemblage “Gift from the Shoreline” by Mitzi Humphrey

Encaustic painting is an ancient technique (perfected in the 4th century BC by Pausians) wherein artists used pigments mixed in hot, melted wax to create a painting. In more modern day mixed media application, artists use layers of encaustic wax on a painted surface to give it a dreamy, otherwordly effect.

The beauty of encaustics is that you can incorporate organic materials like leaves and flowers, fused in place under layers of wax. The resulting paintings are breathtakingly beautiful!

Encaustic setup

The encaustic studio setup is quite easy, though there are a few things that you need to be cautious about:

* Make sure you are working in a well-ventiallated area

* Don’t allow children or pets into the room when you’re working with encaustics. Hot wax + curious children/pets = a recipe for disaster!

* Have a mug or small bucket of clean water handy. In case you burn your hand, plunge immediately into water.

Here’s a short encaustic set-up video by Laly Mille.

Making your own encaustic wax

You don’t have to run out and hunt for encuastic wax (it can be really pricey here in India!) – you can make your own at home. Here’s a handy recipe that I found at earthpigments.com


  • 10 parts Beeswax
  • 1 part Dammar Resin lumps

Dammar Resin has a higher melting point than beeswax, so it should be melted first, then the beeswax added. Neither should be heated over an open flame, or to temperatures above 250 F. Stir to blend while melting, then pour the mixture into aluminum foil muffin pans for cooling. Although the dammar resin will contain some impurities, these will fall to the bottom of the mixture as it hardens. Each contained portion can now be mixed with pigments or stored to be melted again with pigments.

Don’t want to bother with hot wax? Then come back tomorrow for a primer on faux encaustic techniques!

Posted in Art Journaling, Artists Toolbox.


  1. Nice to know more about an art form I had only heard a little of 🙂 You’re right. The Mitzi Humphrey work is just breathtakingly​ beautiful. it could inspire poetry!

  2. Wow! Hearing about this form of art for the first time. Sounds interesting and looks amazing. Thanks for sharing and yes, will come back tomorrow. Coz you know how messy I am .

  3. Hearing about this for the first time!! I am realising how little I know about art. This form look so interesting. Would love to give it a try. But after I read tomorrow’s post and decide which is better.


    • Don’t worry about how much or how little you know. What matters is that you are inspired enough to give some things a try!

    • So glad to hear this! That was my hope – to get to people to learn and get inspired to try some of these techniques out!

  4. I admire your tenacity and dedication to the art! I’d never have the patience for something like this. Yet you bring that whiff of passion and beauty thanks to your descriptions and detail. Lovely!

  5. How intriguing, Shinjini! I wasn’t aware of this technique. Looking forward to the faux encaustics technique as I really don’t want to melt wax! 🙂 Also I have kid traffic at home!

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