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Encaustic Supply List

GETTING STARTED IN ENCAUSTIC

All of these products are available through fine art stores like Dick Blick and Jerry's Artarama or Cheap Joe's (local to North Carolina, but not a huge encaustic supply section!) . One of my FAVORITE online stores for encaustic supplies is FineArtStore.com   because they specialize in encaustic materials. Their website isn't the easiest to navigate, but they often have things other places don't. Again, I use these affiliate links as a way of covering (a tiny fraction) some of the costs associated with providing this resource, but I also want to support other small businesses like FineArtStore.com when I can. If you're local to Asheville, the Cheap Joe's store has some R&F supplies, but no Encausticbord and no Enkaustikos paints.

THE BEST BEGINNER REFERENCE BOOK

 

Encaustic Studio: A Wax Workshop in Mixed Media by Daniella Woolf 

This is my absolute favorite beginning encaustic book. The author gives solid easy-to-understand information on basic techniques, while also providing a lot of inspiration, ideas for mixed media, and experimental approaches.  


BASIC EQUIPMENT

Presto brand electric griddles are reliable, and seem to last a long time! I like this version that folds flat for easy travel or storage. The edges are also relatively low, which makes it easier to use for saturating collage papers. 


A surface thermometer is a must-have to keep the surface of your griddle at or below 200 degrees. During the summer months, you can find these in the grilling section at your local hardware store.   


I recommend a Wagner brand heat gun, and I like this model.  It’s the same one you used in class, and it has a high and a low setting. I have used other, cheaper brands, and all of them have stopped working after only a few months – not worth the few dollars I “saved.”


If you want to use a torch, this is the one I recommend: the Iwatani Butane Kitchen Torch. It’s lighter weight than propane torch heads and easy to use. There are a lot of look-alikes on Amazon – I tried a few of the cheaper ones, and threw them out because the flow of gas never stayed consistent. 

The Iwatani allows you to control both the amount of gas AND the amount of air, giving you incredible control. When you’re just starting out with a brand new canister of butane, the Iwatani torch head can “spit” or flare, but will steady out relatively quickly; the cheaper ones just kept spitting and flaring.  A single canister lasts a long time, and the notched style fuel canister. can be purchased at most camping stores and Ace hardware stores. NOTE: if you do use a torch, make sure that your work surface is covered with something heat resistant like metal, wood, or ceramic rather than paper or plastic. Always be careful and have a fire extinguisher close at hand. 

    

It’s always good to have a Fire Extinguisher or Fire Blanket in any studio where there are heat sources and combustible materials present.


BASIC TOOLS: BRUSHES, CARVING TOOLS, & TINS

I use these inexpensive ½” chip brushes (available at most hardware stores) all the time, and at this price (28 cents each when I made this list), they allow me to have a brush for every single pot of color! This brand, Pro Grade, seems to hold up better than some others I’ve gotten. 

This set of Zem Chungking bristle brushes in  round and flat are affordable, quality brushes that allow you get more detail and control with your encaustic paints. Other less expensive sets of artists brushes that I’ve tried fell apart quickly when exposed to the heat of encaustic. 


I LOVE this ½” Enkaustikos angled hog bristle brush, designed just for use with encaustic. 


And if you really want super-smooth coats of medium, try this 4”  R&F hake brush!


I also like these Creative Mark Mandalay hake brushes, which come in sizes from 1” to 10”.  If you do end up purchasing less expensive hake, be aware that the ones with the bristles held in with a strip of metal and tiny nails will start to come apart in the warm wax over time. 

 

If you don’t have a friend who can supply you with cat food tins, but don’t want to splurge on a case of tins from Uline, these aluminum baking cups make a great interim solution for holding paint on your palette and aluminum loaf pans are great for medium or a big batch of white paint. You can also often find loaf tins at resale stores! If you want to dive right in and get flat-bottom tins from Uline, I recommend the 4oz or 8oz square ones. 


Here is a basic set of pottery carving tools that will give you a wide scraping loop tool, a fine loop tool, and a needle tool, along with a few extras (but buying the three basic tools individually is more than the set). I like the Kemper brand because their tools are generally well made, and their wide loop tool, which we use for scraping, is flatter than some other brands. This allows for more shallow, controlled scraping than cheaper scrapers with a more curved edge. Some folks really like using razor blades for scraping, though holding them cramps my hands!

I use tools from this set of mini loop or ribbon tools ALL THE TIME!



SURFACES AND PANELS


Encausticbord is ready to use, and gives you long-lasting, archival results. These sizes are great and affordable for experimenting from ATC sized to 5x7. And, their cradled panels are beautiful if your pocketbook allows, available through FineArtStore.com and other retailers 


When it comes to painting on a plain wood panel, I love the Da Vinci Pro Panels from Jerry's Artarama  but I've also found that the cradled birch panels from U.S. Art Supply available on Amazon are a GREAT quality at a GREAT price, and I've been using them when the Da Vinci panels aren't on sale. They have a Studio line that's 3/4" deep and a Gallery line that's 1-1/2" deep, all in a variety of sizes. 


Heavy paper is a great option for small encaustic and mixed media works where the wax doesn't get too thick, and Khadi papers are a favorite! They are made in India from recycled cotton, come in a bunch of different sizes, have a really yummy texture, and have very little sizing on the surface to resist the absorption of the wax!


BASIC SUPPLIES: ENCAUSTIC MEDIUM, ENCAUSTIC PAINTS, R&F OIL STICKS or OIL PAINTS, PAN PASTELS

All of these products are available through fine art stores like Dick Blick and Jerry's Artarama  or Cheap Joe's (local to North Carolina, but not a huge encaustic supply section!) . One of my FAVORITE online stores for encaustic supplies is FineArtStore.com  because they specialize in encaustic materials. Their website isn't the easiest to navigate, but they often have things other places don't. Again, I use these affiliate links as a way of covering (a tiny fraction) some of the costs associated with providing this resource, but I also want to support other small businesses like FineArtStore.com when I can. If you're local to Asheville, the Cheap Joe's store has some R&F supplies, but no Encausticbord and no Enkaustikos paints.

    

You'll need encaustic medium. These are my two preferred brands, Enkaustikos and R&F. Some people think that the Enkaustikos has more of a warm, yellow tone to it, but I've found that because encaustic medium is made with natural materials (beeswax and damar tree resin crystals) it varies more from batch to batch than from manufacturer to manufacturer.

    

R&F pigment sticks are a great tool for highlighting texture, and Prussian Blue is one of my all-time favorites! Pair it with one of their blender sticks to extend the color, achieve smooth application (especially into those little nooks and grooves), and ease in wiping back excess paint. Other favorites include Turkey Red (great for adding a bit of warmth to a skin tone), Brown Pink (a really rich, warm brown), Iridescent Brass, and Ancient Gold - all of which are available through FineArtStore.com


I love Enkaustikos encaustic paints, in part because they come in so many easy-to-use formats like HotSticks and WaxSnaps. Hot Sticks are smaller; each snap in a Wax Snap is just a little bit less paint than one Hot Stick. Use your handout to help you choose a set of colors that's great for mixing, or just go for a few of your favorites. No one else makes a color like Opal Aquamarine! The full selection of Hot Sticks for a small amount of a color, and the full selection of Enkaustikos Wax Snaps for a little more paint in a flexible form. Snap off a square to make a pot of paint or just melt what you need right on your palette for mixingEnkaustikos Wax Snaps!





Image transfers and mounting paper


If you do a lot of collage or image transfer, these deli sheets are so convenient and easy-to-use! You can just grab a sheet, and they lay flat. Of course, the best material is the one that you already have, so check your kitchen for parchment paper or wax paper!

  

11" wide           16" wide           24" wide

When I mount paper to a panel - whether it's watercolor paper or an archival reproduction or a photo printed on heavy paper that I'll be doing encaustic on top of - I use Scotch 3M 568 positionable dry mount adhesive!  This stuff rocks, and it has made my life so much easier!!



PRINTING YOUR OWN IMAGES

I love Jacquard’s Extravorganza – silk organza that runs through your printer, meaning you can print an image on a transparent material and embed it in your encaustic painting. 


Many Japanese paper manufacturers make printer-friendly, absorbent, lightweight, "rice" papers - though my favorites I have to actually order from Japan. This Onao paper is 45gsm, and easily available through Amazon! There are multiple options for Onao paper, and if this one doesn't suit your needs, consider this one as well!

 

I order a lot of my papers from Japan, but if you want to mount a printed image on a panel before adding encaustic, all you really need is a high-quality, archival, mid-to-heavy weight, absorbent paper that will go through your printer. (yeah! that's all!) A number of folks make fine art papers, and I've found that this Hahnemüle fine art paper works wonderfully for that purpose - and it's available through Amazon! Again, check that your inkjet printer uses pigment inks for maximum lightfastness. (Check your handouts for the link to that list of pigment ink jet printers!) Here it is in 8.5x11 or 13x19.


STENCILS AND FOILS

MY STENCIL GIRL COLLECTION

I have collaborated with Stencil Girl Products to produce a line of stencils inspired by my one of my favorite natural patterns - Tree rings! These stencils are great for making collage media, and are tough enough to be used with encaustic medium.

Use DecoFoil to add shimmery metallic accents to your work. Gently warm the surface of the encaustic, place the foil shiny side up with the dull side facing the wax, then press using a thumbnail, embossing tool, or old ballpoint pen! 


These 7 mil mylar sheets are great for cutting your own stencils and is durable and heat-resistant enough to use with encaustic. The slightly milky color is transparent enough for tracing, but also allows you to actually see where the stencil is!


frames


If you're looking to frame a piece you make in class on Encausticbord, or frame a piece made on a thin birch plywood, the easiest and most complete kit are the Ampersand brand float frames. They're designed to have everything you need for framing the shallow artwork - just get one of their frame kits for a 7/8" deep piece of artwork - and it will come with lifts that you can use with one of the flat Encausticbord panels! They also come in four finishes. Jerry's Artarama and Dick Blick both have good selections 



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