Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Encaustic Monoprint Art Tutorial

As promised, here is my own Encaustic Monoprint Tutorial. This tutorial is based one done by HGTV, which I wrote about in this post.

Remember that once you use this equipment for encaustic, it should be used for wax only. Absolutely no food, even if it "looks clean!" There should be good ventilation when using encaustic, such as an open window with fans. So if you start to develop a headache, you know you need better ventilation. I am not an expert at this, but I love to share my techniques with you. Please try at your own risk!

What you need:
Griddle or Electric Skillet Pan
Encaustic paints (in solid blocks)
Watercolor paper (smaller than your pan)
Paper Towels

Optional (but recommended):
Heat Gun or Tacking Iron
Crockpot with Encaustic Medium or Beeswax
Bristle brushes

Note: If you are going to use the encaustic medium or beeswax, get that started melting in the Crockpot while you gather other supplies and set up. It usually takes my wax about an hour to fully melt.

1. Gather all supplies and have them close by.

2. Heat your griddle or electric skillet to Warm or temperature between 160 - 220 degrees F.

  • Each skillet is different, so you have to try out which temperature works for you.
  • Put some chips of beeswax or medium in the pan to test the temperature
  • If the pan or wax is smoking or sizzling, then the temperature is too hot! Turn it down!
  • I like using the electric skillet because the high edges hold the encaustic paints in the pan without worrying about spilling over the side.
3. Using a solid encaustic paint block, draw and swirl the onto the pan. Here I am using a handmade stick from R&F paints.

4. Add more colors and designs. This is the FUN part! Your wax is in motion with you, dancing around your skillet. Use that to your advantage!
  • Each color and paint has its own melting point which varies.
  • It is all experimentation to see which colors melt well together.
  • You can melt a little wax, or a lot. I suggest just melting a little to try it out.
  • You can always add more!
  • When you think you have enough wax, get your paper ready.
5. Press the watercolor paper down onto the skillet on top of the wax.

  • Keep it on the skillet for about 5 seconds or however long it works for you.
  • Just remember to keep the temperature low enough that you can touch the paper in the skillet without burning yourself. Those pans get hot!

8. Lift the paper from the edge, letting any excess drip back into the pan.

  • Lay it flat to dry.
  • If you love what you did, put another piece of paper down try for a similar look. These are monoprints, so none two will look exactly alike.
  • If you didn't love it. Try again! You can do multiple layers on the same print since the wax dries almost instantly.
  • You can put the paper back on the pan to melt it off and add more.
  • I don't worry about heat setting these prints until I am all finished. When you are completely done, then you can set the wax with a heat gun or tacking iron.

7. Clean your skillet between colors using paper towels. Add more colors, and repeat!

  • This time try moving the paper around a bit. Maybe only dip one side.
  • If you have dipped the paper multiple times, note that the longer they are on the pan, the more likely the layers below will start to melt again.
  • Add some beeswax or encaustic medium to the prints to set the colors below. You may want to heat set this layer with a heat gun or tacking iron.
  • You can add layers of beeswax or encaustic medium between layers of prints to give it more depth. But beware that the paper is thin and cannot be put on too thickly or it will crack.
6. Heat set with a heat gun or tacking iron. You're finished! Your own Encaustic Monoprints!

Here are some of the encaustic monoprints I made while making this tutorial. They are on different sizes and shapes of watercolor paper (except #2 done on thick green paper). Most of them are dipped multiple times. Some have layers of beeswax between the layers of color. Enjoy!

Your Turn: Share this tutorial! Let me know what you think about this and what you want to know more about.

Happy Art Making! ~ Jaime


  1. This was interesting. I've never seen it done, so I've learned something. Love your colors!

  2. I absolutely love these! They're beautiful. I'm too scared to use encaustics BUT I did buy a crock-pot to try beeswax collage (Claudine Hellmuth's video).

    Wish me luck! You're talking to a woman that burnt her own hair while warming up soup!

  3. Thanks for posting this, Jaime!
    In two weeks I'm teaching a workshop on Encaustic using the hotplate and was looking for some inspiration.
    @ Gina; I LOVE Claudine's beeswax collages!

  4. Jaime....Thanks so much for posting this.!! I have read so much about this but unless you can see it being done, it is meaningless to me, lol..Now, I have seen and I can play!! Thank you soooooooo very much!! Do you have anything on embedding objects, etc. in encaustic?? You said to ask, lol.....Thanks Again, Kay ♥


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