Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Encaustic painting

Sunday afternoon, Papa had to go in to work and our visitors were out for a walk.  My girls were twitchy, so it was time for a project!  Time to try encaustic painting!

encaustic painting

Encaustic painting is painting with hot wax.  Seems ideal for kids, right?  Actually, it can be.  Children can amaze you with their ability to use caution when they realize actual danger lurks.  Hot wax can (and does) burn*, as can the tray you use to heat it.  My four year old surprised me with how careful she truly was...and how much she loved working with this medium.  Maybe it was the inherent danger, but she couldn't get enough of this project.  My six year old, however, got a bit over-enthusiastic, burned her knuckle on the muffin tin we used and lost all interest (her knuckle is a-ok, don't worry).

encaustic painting

You'll need:
wax crayons to melt
old muffin tin
thick craft paper (watercolour paper, cardstock or even light cardboard will work)
cotton swabs

Peel any paper off the crayons and break them up into pieces for quicker melting.
Place bits in the muffin tin.  We only used 4 colours and kept them separate.
Heat an oven to 300F.
Place the muffin tin in the hot oven and melt crayons completely.
Set hot muffin tin on protected table next to your artist.
Use cotton swabs to "paint" the wax onto the paper.
The wax will solidify as it cools, so you may need to place the tray back in the oven more than once depending on how long the artist works.
The final result will have a lot of interesting texture, which is a good bit of the fun!

encaustic painting

*A little first aid goes a long way.  As soon as you can, get the burned area under cold, running water and let the water run over it for several minutes.  Plunging it into a glass of water is not nearly as effective as running water in the sink.

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