Saturday, 12 April 2014

Working with Encaustics in Australia - Safe - Environmentally friendly - Low cost

As it usually is the case, living in Australia (especially in a Country area) you need to be inventive and research a lot as far as buying supplies go. 
Postage is a major cost and lot's USA suppliers do not send to Australia anymore

Once I started painting with Encaustics, I realised the cost for heating the wax needed to be looked at.................
This is what I came up with:
I am using a Pancake/Crepe griddle/pan, as it provides nearest temperature settings to what the beeswax requires.

Before this I used a Meat griddle, but this provides too much heat and heats up too high at first (providing bad fumes), which is bad news for the Beeswax and also costs more electricity.
    I bought this one for under $ 30.00 at Aldi's,
    it has a lot of surface (just over 30 cm wide)
    and works well


Researching heating containers, I came across this:
It is a Beauty Shop's Wax warmer,
2 containers, separate heat control,
ideal for my needs,
again, temperature controls for wax and
price around $ 50.00 to 60.00 delivered
Added in July: this kind of Beauty Shop's Wax warmer are
NOT RECOMMENDED BY ME, they proved to be cheap and nasty, cable burst into flames.................. when my son took it to pieces afterwards he was shocked at the flimsy construction, told me I was lucky not to be electrocuted, as the wires were badly wired.................

As tools I use:
First is an Encaustic iron, around $ 60.00
the second one is a foldable Travel iron.

They can be bought a lot cheaper, but require temperature controls for use with Encaustics

I found that not any Heat gun will do
required are:
heat and air flow control
a model like this one, with a narrow nozzle works best for me
I also use a small one from the Scrapbooking range for minor heating
         This is my latest toy, took me forever to be able to buy it in Australia, until I found it in a local Airplane Model makers shop for under $ 40.00

Better even, NO electricity and lots of fun:

Needs a bit getting used to and good ventilation, but I love my Blow torches.
Left the little one for small jobs

Below the real thing:

To paint on I found the best value wood and stability, to be 21mm Playwood.

At the local Hardware store I bought a large sheet for $ 77.00 and had them cut it up to my requirement.

To the lovely people at Bunning's I would like to send a thank you for their patience


Now, how to best and cost effective ground/gesso it, well that proved to be a drama...

First I bought the  R&F Encaustic Gesso, but this proved to be very expensive, then I trialled the traditional Rabbit skin Gesso: NONONO no way........
it worked lovely until I was fusing the beeswax medium, bubbles everywhere, it drove me crazy

so researching alternatives I came across this:

A natural clay paint made by Rockcote. Has the health giving and aesthetic quality of clay in your home. Very environmentally friendly in its manufacture, use and disposal. A good choice for people with high chemical sensitivity and those appreciating the aesthetic quality of natural clay.

I bought it online from here, 4lt Grecian White:

MSDS checks ticked all the boxes

This is what I will be using, cost effective, all natural products and safe


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