mixed media

Butterfly coaster

CRX0042 square

I have a soft spot for encaustic work — not only the “painting with wax” style like the little landscape I made, but also the layering of clear wax over images and enclosures — so I was definitely curious when I came across Masterpaste Original, a cold encaustic medium. It is available in a whole range of colours but, as they say it can be mixed with various pigments, I just picked up some of the uncoloured medium.

Pure experimentation. It had to be really because there isn’t a lot of information about using this product out there; even YouTube is limited to a handful of videos showing people using the coloured variants with no commentary and one that I think is in Dutch. There are a few bits on their blog, but it’s remarkably limited…

I had a hunt through my substrates stash and picked out a greyboard “coaster” as my base. Ideally, I’d use something a bit more solid, but it is only a small piece and it is just for testing purposes.

I worked in layers, laying down the cold wax medium followed by a piece of test stamping I had on my desk. That was sealed in with more wax over which I layered some tissue collage pieces (the flower and butterfly). More wax, a scroll border strip and more wax. Then I got adventurous and swirled some black thread around to see how well the wax would hold that in place. A final layer of wax and some India ink around the edges and I was ready to fuse it.

There are various ways to fuse the wax medium: you can use a heat gun or even a hairdryer as it doesn’t require a high heat, but the recommended method seems to be to use an open flame. Butane torches terrify me. I am convinced I’m going to drop them or set something alight. But we do have a Dremel Versatip which can be used as an open flame, so I decided to be brave. I probably overheated it a bit but I’m not sure quite where the line between “getting a shine on the surface” and “melting it” lies. Probably somewhere around the point where the India ink started to break up 🙂 (though I do quite like the effect). On the plus side, the thread did hold in position.

CRX0042 detail

It’s no masterpiece, but as a test piece to try out a couple of techniques with a new product, I think it turned out quite well.

Although there are several layers on this coaster, I used very little paste so it should last me a while. Which is just as well as it appears that it is no longer sold in the UK.

I want to have a go at incorporating the wax into some mixed media work. I have some vague ideas percolating in my brain which might, at some point, turn into something coherent enough to actually put into practice.

Supplies:

  • Masterpaste Original encaustic medium
  • patterned tissue paper, black thread, India ink

CRX0042 display

5 thoughts on “Butterfly coaster”

  1. I’ve never thought about creating with wax, it looks like so much fun! I especially like the way the thread looks in it. It’s very striking.

    Oh, and I know what you mean about the butane torches! My mother-in-law asked me to do a craft project yesterday where we sprayed the paint down with fire to burst the air bubbles trapped inside and I was so freaked out that she was going to burn the place down. She couldn’t quite tell when it was on or off so kept sitting it down with the thing still running, ah, what a nightmare. Luckily we survived without any real casualties. 🙈

    Liked by 1 person

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